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Home | Film Reviews | Film Review: Pandorum (2009)

Film Review: Pandorum (2009)

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Two crew members are stranded on a spacecraft and quickly – and horrifically – realize they are not alone. Two astronauts awaken in a hyper-sleep chamber aboard a seemingly abandoned spacecraft. It’s pitch black, they are disoriented, and the only sound is a low rumble and creak from the belly of the ship. They can’t remember anything: Who are they? What is their mission? With Lt. Payton staying behind to guide him via radio transmitter, Cpl. Bower ventures deep into the ship and begins to uncover a terrifying reality. Slowly the spacecraft’s shocking, deadly secrets are revealed…and the astronauts find their own survival is more important than they could ever have imagined.


Imagine waking up from a deep hyper sleep and being oblivious to your surroundings? Well this is the idea behind the latest scifi/ horror / space epic titled “Pandorum”. Corporal Bower played by Ben Foster awakes inside a sleep chamber disorientated suffering from slight memory loss. This is a common side effect to those within the sleep chambers. Shortly after, his crewmember Lt. Payton (Dennis Quaid) awakes as well. The environment is that of a huge space vessel in which they only slightly recall rank and purpose.

Though while we find out later that it takes some time to regain all your memory, they set out to find what state the ship is in and where they are exactly. The film is played brilliantly with a learn as you go along concept. The ship being like a oversized titanic, has loss some of it’s power with a reactor that needs to be restarted before it shuts down entirely. Bower sets out to find the reactor and learn a bit about their state at current. Payton hangs behind at the terminal to activate sections from the contorl console as needed. As Bower ventures forward we learn bits and pieces of this puzzle almost at the same rhythm that Bower regains his memory. Knowing full well that he is the ships tech, he is determined to reach his destination and re-power the vessel.

Though what wasn’t expected was that the vessel is now inhabited with strange organic pointy-spined shaped beasts who feast on humans and while moving with super agility. This mystery is compounded by a few left over inhabitants who Bower befriends along the way. It’s an all out battle to reach destination and deal with these mutants along the way. Still the mystery of the mission and the destination is undetermined. Nadia and Manh are 2 survivors who have managed to keep from being eaten. As clueless as Bower they finally find another stranger who has documented the turn of events with engraved drawings.

The Earth formerly super inhabited with overpopulation and lack of resource has reached its last leg. As a result a ship was sent out to inhabit a recently discovered Earthlike planet known as Tanus. Equipped like a noah’s Ark, the vessel has in its possession the building DNA of most of life on Earth to accompany the mission.

A fiinal message is received by the ship that Earth is doomed resulting the inevitable destruction of the planet. The vessel now “is” the end of humanity. As the engraving are narrated we learn that the ships captain came down with what they are calling “Pandorum”. This is the name given to the state of mind reached when in space too long.

A sense of delusional madness combined with paranoia and dementia. The former ship’s captain and his crew were inflicted with this madness which resulted in feeding on humans and hallucinations. The so called mutants were also former humans who mutated from genetic enhancements which were pumped into them to adjust to the new world they were to live in. Instead they adapted to the hull of the ship which created these cannibalistic killers. Pandourm was directed by Christian Alvart and written by Travis Milloy .

The film uses mixed genres to cleverly tell its story about a potential future. The transport ship which originally hosted over 60,000 passengers has become more of a feeding ground for mutants and an environment to evolve these things in there abstract states. Dennis Quaid hosts his own form of Pandorum which creates hallucinogenized states that have him conversing with his younger self.

Pandorum is best described almost as combining the films “The Descent and “Supernova”. It’s never too much of one genre over the other and still manages to end on a clever note. Sci fi fans will really buy into the altered reality and horror fans will get there fill with violent alien like creatures running amuck. I highly enjoyed the film which keeps you thinking right down to the last 5 minutes. I’m sure this will reign as a true contender for one of the years best sci fic presentations with its smart script and dynamics though out.


  1. DevilMayhem666

    Pandorum can be best desribed as an allegory to Noah’s Ark and Dante’s Inferno. Google “Allegory of Pandorum” for details.

  2. Great review, just like you I thoroughly enjoyed Pandorum which is now one of my favourite sci-fi movies, along with Moon and Star Trek….I was absorbed from the start and and would recommend it to any space movie fans.


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