Forgotten Gems: Pandorum

Nerdling Tales takes a mostly spoiler free look at cult classics mostly overlooked by the public, movies that failed so hard they won, and the “what in the hell were they thinking” flicks. Join her as she reminisces about what makes these movies so interesting and full of hopeful sequel potential, and yet the general movie going population tends to forget their existence. It is October, so you know it will be all about the scares this month!

With NASA announcing planned missions to Mars and possibly beyond, let’s take a look at the space horror movie Pandorum.

Released: September 25, 2009
Director: Christian Alvart
Writers: Travis Milloy and Christian Alvart
Stars: Dennis Quaid, Ben Foster, Cam Gigandet, Antje Traue, Cung Le, Eddie Rouse, André Hennicke, Norman Reedus

Pandorum is about the transport ship Elysium which is tasked with taking 60,000 people on a 123 year mission to a new Earth-like planet called Tanis. Our Earth has become over populated and the natural resources are nearly gone. Tanis is to be populated and made ready for those on Earth to eventually make their way to, but eight years into the mission the crew receives a message saying Earth is gone and they are the only ones left. Sometime later, Corporal Bower (Foster) and Lieutenant Payton (Quaid) wake up with no memory, a dying ship reactor, no one else around, and they are locked inside the sleeping chamber with no way to get to the bridge. Bower is an engineer and decides to use the ducts to escape the sleeping chamber to get to the reactor so he can reboot the power and figure out what is going on with the ship. Payton stays behind to use the computers in the chamber to guide him.

Once into the main area of the ship, Bower runs into Nadia (Traue), Manh (Le), Leland (Rouse), and Shepard (Reedus), who are scavengers on the ship, and a group of cannibal hunters they were hiding from. Together they attempt find the reactor room to restore the ships power and to put together the pieces of what happened to the ship, crew, and passengers all while trying to not get eaten by the hunters.

There is also a whole side plot about the effects of a sickness known as Pandorum where a person who has spent too much time in deep space can become paranoid and delusional and there is a possibility several of the crew may be suffering from it. A ship prior to Elysium traveling to Tanis had a captain who suffered from Pandorum and ejected the entire crew and passengers into space while they were still in the hibernation pods.

The monsters hunting the crew members are unnerving with the sickly white skin, bald heads, and no noses on their faces. In a way they remind me of the Reavers from Firefly and Serenity. They don’t speak, they just grunt, yell, and try to eat the people they are hunting. There is even a little kid one running around and that manages to terrify me even more.

The film is a confusing mess, but it had a lot of potential to be either a good space paranoia movie or space creatures terrorizing passengers on a ship movie. Instead it tried to be both and it just didn’t work so well. This was supposed to be the first movie in a trilogy, but due to poor reception and low box-office numbers, the other two sequels were scrapped. The movie does have a cult like following and a group of people who did lobby for the sequels to get made. If you ignore the entire subplot about Pandorum and the face-palming twist towards the end, it is actually an intense and unsettling horror movie.

What did you guys think of Pandorum? Were you confused by the plot overload? Did the hunters freak you out a little? Or did you think they were too much of a Reaver knock off? Let me know in the comments section. Do you know the symptoms of Pandorum?

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About Nerdling

The Nerdling has an unhealthy obsession with books, the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and Star Wars. She finds hockey to be the best sport in the world (Go Dallas Stars!) and is working on her first novel, but mostly glowers at a blank screen. You can find her on Twitter @nerdlingstale on Facebook @NerdlingTales or Instagram @nerdling_tales

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