In space, no-one can hear you snore

Publicity has kept us in the dark about Pandorum’s monsters, so what’s it got? Tricks up the sleeve or stuff to hide? Sadly, the logic behind the secrecy relating to Christian Alvart’s sci-fi horror (following his promising Antibodies and tellingly delayed Case 39) looks like damage limitation. Pandorum’s mutants mirror the movie’s misfires: as these foragers and cannibals lurk in darkness before attacking in blurs of ill-defined noise and motion, so the film lingers in the murk for ages only to emerge as a noisy mish-mash of ideas ripped randomly from the guts of better films.

The opening sees astronauts Payton (Dennis Quaid) and Bower (Ben Foster) waking from hyper-sleep with amnesia and stumbling about in the dark of a rickety spaceship. Where are we? Who are they? Is it bedtime? Far from being crepuscular or creepy, the hook-starved effect of this is enervating because, nifty laser-shave implement aside, there’s nothing of interest to latch on to. Only 10 minutes in, hyper-snooze is already taking hold.

Venturing into the ship’s Nostromo-esque bowels on a fix-it tip, Bower meets the mystery monsters. At this point, Pandorum turns into a shamelessly voracious scavenger itself, playing like The Descent in space via Mad Max or any other post-apocalyptic B-movie with feral hunter-types on the loose. Antje Traue and Cung Le’s additional human survivors add action beats but further scupper definition by piling pastiche on pastiche: which Neil Marshall genre homage has Alvart been studying anyway, the spelunking shocker or Doomsday?

The title refers to a kind of hallucination-inducing outer-space delirium, fittingly for a film with delusions of epic grandeur. Through several well-worn yet ill-integrated plot twists, Travis Milloy’s script strains with portent and Alvart’s visuals target the shadowy poetry of Alien while falling somewhere short of Event Horizon’s grunge hell. Sure, Quaid and Foster give it good shots. But the brightest cast couldn’t illuminate this mess.


After two hours in the dark with this loud but hollow hybrid, you’ll know “space madness”. In a good year for smart sci-fi, Pandorum lumbers and groans. Don’t let the posters delude you into expecting weird chills: thumping banality dominates.

Film Details

User Reviews

    • ColouredPurple

      Jan 15th 2010, 20:37


      Saw this at the cinema today. I totally agree with your judgement. This was a mish-mash of ideas. One minute it's trying to be a sci-fi movie, the next it's trying to be a horror movie. There were some interesting shots and the laser-shave was cool but at no point during the movie do you care about any of the characters, or do you get a fright. I found myself looking at my watch hoping it will be over soon. The only thing which kept me from walking out was simply the fact that I had paid to watch it.

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    • actionDALLAS

      Mar 23rd 2011, 2:42


      I think you are the banal one mister reviewer. This movie has the best set deisgn for a sci fi in ages and most detailed realistic gore since Hills Have Eyes Remake. The split personality isn't the best plot addition, but the action is superb and Ben Foster does a bang up job as usual. It has great monster design and great special effects all around. It won't win any best screenplay oscars but it is one of the best recent sci fi flicks in the past couple years. You probably aren't a sci fi fan are you? If anyone reading this is, you will love the film!

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    • HandBanana

      Aug 15th 2011, 4:55


      What ideas from other movies? Space maddess and morlocks(what the monsters are) have appeared in literature long before appearing in film .Hollywood has been ripping off books since the 20s . Anyway as for this film, it was a cool allegory to Dante's Inferno and Works and Days(google "movie review/analysis: allegory of pandorum"). I also must point out that Event Horizon was nothing more than a ripoff of Solaris and Disney's The Black Hole.

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