Two astronauts, Lieutenant Payton (Dennis Quaid) and Corporal Bower (Ben Foster) wake up in their gigantic spaceship after a long hyper-sleep. Badly disoriented and plunged into darkness, they do not remember anything about their mission or their identities. The only sounds they are able to hear come from the core of the ship. Corporal Bower starts to explore the ship and soon finds other survivors hiding, hunt down by violent creatures. Together they will try to find out what really happened on board this ship.

First off, Pandorum is not another Alien wanna-be, where aliens are chasing humans on board their lost spaceship with nothing more to it. Though the trailer might make you think so, it is not the case. Christian Alvart has built a world and an atmosphere that will keep you under stress all the way long. No flourishes, everything has a well defined purpose and is part of a coherent whole.

The film begins as a mystery, and gently evolves to a powerful action/thriller with razor-edged horror elements; anything can happen, at any time. The fact that people were not supposed to live on the ship, only to sleep, reinforces the dark and claustrophobic atmosphere: narrow corridors, nowhere to sit and relax, surrounded by cables and pipes.

The characters have no memory of anything, so a few flashbacks, all along the film, will slowly help understand what happened as they recover from a prolonged hyper-sleep: fortunately, they do not reveal too much at once, keeping the mystery alive.

On the other hand, the revelation of “Pandorum’s” nature occurs a bit too early; you know what is going to happen, you just do not know to whom. Even though this might slightly spoil part of the plot, it does not ruin the film at all.

Pandorum stands out from the bunch of other recent science-fiction productions, and will probably delight many fans of the genre. With a nice twist at the end, when the credits finally appear, you only wish there was more.

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Rating: ★★★★★★★☆☆☆ 

DVD Release Date: 22/12/2009

Director: Christian Alvart

Cast: Dennis Quaid, Ben Foster, Cam Gigandet, Cung Le, Antje Traue, Eddie Rouse Jr.

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