PANDORUM or as I like to call it DESCENT HORIZON, may follow the adage, “Good artists borrow, great artists steal” but as helmed by German director CHRISTIAN ALVART (ANTIBODIES) it is wise enough to know exactly who from and how much to pilfer while still retaining its own identity. In some instances it even outclasses much of the genre pool it scrounges from. I know that the trailer and T.V. spots probably have you thinking that you’ve seen this all before, and to be honest that assumption is half right, but the end result here is a solid piece of horror sci-fi whose puzzle pieces actually fit together reasonably well by film’s end. Yes, I actually understood what was happening in this one!
To be honest I wasn’t too crazy about the RUN SPORTY SPICE RUN chick or the “I’m going to edit this with a Cuisinart!” approach to the fight sequences, but those bitty matters of personal taste were not enough to spoil the film for me. I understand that a few bones must be thrown to the video gamers in the audience. The opening and closing of the film, which deals with the tried and true metallic haunted house “Space makes you go bonkers” approach really worked for me and didn’t come off as vague and allusive as it usually does. Again, it all somehow made sense to me, which I’m very happy about because honestly parts of EVENT HORIZON just fly right over my head!
Now that we know how slow I am let’s hear it for BEN FOSTER! Are you telling me this guy was really my pal Claire’s B.F. in SIX FEET UNDER? BEN FOSTER is great in this movie! What a refreshing change from the usual stack of newspapers I’m asked to follow around in a movie. So this year we had SAM ROCKWELL in MOON, that SHARLTO COPELY guy in DISTRICT 9 and now BEN FOSTER in this. It’s kind of ironic that as horror casts become more and more glammy the sci-fi club is casting actual human looking types. Good on you PANDORUM, and an extra tip of the hat for not inviting any robots to the party.
There may be some draggy parts in the middle, but overall I really enjoyed the consistent claustrophobic mood and the way information was dispensed via flashback and an excellent sequence surrounding some primitive wall drawings. Plus, there was a kid cannibal monster creature that really was genuinely freaky and disturbing. This time of year is usually time to dump the garbage out but PANDORUM, like recent box office disappointments SORORITY ROW and JENNIFER’S BODY, is better than you probably think. I actually left the theater with my mind going all over the place envisioning what might happen next; now isn’t that the mark of good sci-fi?