review template

Starring:Dennis Quaid, Ben Foster, Cam Gigandet, Antje Traue

Director:Christian Alvart

Writer:Travis Milloy

Cinematography:Wendigo Von Schultzendorff

Original Score:Michl Britsch

Running Time:108 Mins.

Capturing claustrophobia in a film is always a coup d’etat if your circling the horror pool, the last film to effectively do so was Neil Marshall with The Descentand here despite the shift in time and space (literally) director Alvart has managed to coax the same sense of ominous and intense threat that comes with such a claustrophobic premise. Of course it helps that your setting is the not too original expanse of a “deserted” ship left floating in space.

Awoken from their extended hyper-sleep onboard this ship are Peyton (Quaid) and Bower (Foster), unaware of what has happened to the rest of the crew, and slowly coming to remember only snatches of why they are actually there in the first place (a side effect of hyper-sleep so we are informed)/ Peyton leads Bower through the bowel’s of the ship to the reactor core, where the power can be restored and some semblance made of what has taken place amidst their slumber. But this being a sci-fi horror film, all does not go to plan, neither on Bower’s trek nor in Peyton’s control room.

As you can sense, this is a tale fraught with the feeling of very much having been there and seen it all before, a smatter of Alien here and a vast chunk of Event Horizon there, in fact it is produced by the latter film’s director, the ubiquitous Paul W.S. Anderson, this “produced by” stamp stands for very little usually, to be totally honest, but sometimes that director’s stamp can be seen on the finished product, be it in story, sense or style.

Thankfully it is only evident in style here as the “look” is very Event Horizon-y and thankfully not so Resident Evil-y (the franchise Anderson is most famous for), but let us be thankful Alvart is much more adept at telling a story in an intense and unsettling manner, and at a great pace, that could quite easily have become a boring to-and-fro between the two main men, yet doesn’t. In fact the two strands are meticulously intertwined.

Sadly there is a but, and that comes in the form of the apparent need, as is commonplace in the space horror genre, to introduce an alien lifeform foe, here the villainous “aliens” have a strange look of Mad Max-ities spliced with Lord of the Rings-orcs about them, creepy when kept in the shadows and typically gruesome up close. But serving no real purpose other than to give the otherwise low-scale (in terms of action) mission a few sceces of bloody fighting, and worst of all the explanation for these creatures is wholly lost, rendering the plot line redundant.

Thankfully as the creature parts begin to bore midway, a new character is introduced in the form of Cam Gigandet (of Twilight fame) and Quaid gets to furrow his brow as only he can do so well, a cut price Harrison Ford if you like, this all leads to a great reveal that is quite shocking at the time, but has a whiff of Fight Club about it.

Aside from Quaid, Foster continues on his mission to play slightly freaky and intense characters, though this one is a little lower in the freak-spectrum than others he has portrayed lately, toned down a few notches he is a great intense performer and sells every second he appears in, this doesn’t help the support crew members he meets along the way however as their weak acting only proves beneficial upon wondering who will and wont survive!  

VERDICT

Seemingly the effects of Pandorumon the viewer are, a tense and claustrophobic tone, great pacing, convincing performances, but with a strong sense of having seen it all before…

grade-c

Advertisements