The other day I happened to cross the path of a movie I'd never heard of called Pandorum. It's tagline told me that I shouldn't fear the end of the world, I should fear what happens next. And, since I didn't have to deal with it, what happens next is pretty damn cool
Our story starts as a pair of astronauts awake from long stints in cryogenic tubes and very rapidly discover that they've lost any inclination of what exactly it is they're supposed to be doing. Upon realizing the precarious state of the ship's reactor, Corporal Bower (played by Ben Foster) embarks on a mission deep into the bowels of the damaged ship to effect repairs. Guided by his commanding officer Lieutenant Payton (played by Dennis Quaid), he travels down all manner of poorly lit corridors and crawls through several claustrophobic access tunnels which prove enough of a challenge on their own, but as he assembles a rag tag group of human survivors he finds out that there's something else awake on their ship. A great many something elses. And they're hungry.
Back at their base of operations, Payton happens across another survivor, Gallo (Cam Gigandet), and it is from him that we learn all about the titular disease. Starting with a seemingly innocent shaking of the hands, pandorum culminates (as you might have guessed) in the diseased going bat shit looney and killing those around them.
To be perfectly honest, based on other movies of this ilk, I was expecting characters who were pretty much moving cardboard cutouts walking up and down the same section of corridor while dealing with poorly computer generated baddies in ridiculous ways, but this movie actually surprised me. There are many great, well-shot scenes and they all tie together quite nicely into to an overarching theme of claustrophobia. Even in the more expansive rooms, such as the one housing the massive reactor core, you can't help but feeling trapped.
From a performance perspective, all involved brought a their A- games. I don't mean that to be detrimental in any way, it's just that this movie didn't have any lengthy diatribes or deeply emotional musings over how things got to be where they are, but then there shouldn't be: This is an action movie. Everybody involved kicks cannibal alien ass and does it well, all while not reminding me of Duke Nuk'Em.
In conclusion, I'd say that while this movie may not stand among titans such as the Alien movies, it gave me the distinct impression of being quite content with what it is and, in my opinion, it's exactly where it should be. It will also live close to the DVD player for a while, I think.