DIRECTOR: John Suits
WRITER: Doug T. Benson
Danielle Rose Russell
Set in the near future. A virus has struck the planet that has turned the vast majority of Earth's inhabitants into fast, violent, and murderous "zombies". The five stages of the infection slowly turn people with flu-like symptoms into bloodthirsty killers. Four people are recruited and now sent into the infected zone to try and locate and safely bring back the previous crew who went off the radar and are now missing.
Does Pandemic sound like another very iconic and famous "Infected" movie? So it does, does it? That might be because the plot is extremely similar to 28 Days Later. Imagine if 28 Days Later was set in the bus from the Dawn Of The Dead remake and you pretty much have the synopsis for Pandemic. The movie isn't exactly original by any means and borrows heavily from many other "zombie" films. But by the time the film had finished. I found myself more in favour than I was against it. It's not perfect, but it's not the worst movie I've seen in 2016.
In 2016, it feels like I've reviewed enough Found Footage "First Person" type movies to last me a lifetime. So colour me shocked that Pandemic is also entirely shot from a first-person perspective and adds the Found Footage element to its proceedings. It's gotten to the point where I'm so over this gimmick that I really can't be bothered to review them anymore. That would basically leave me with nothing to review in the horror genre as it's overpopulated with these type of movies.
First up, Pandemic is a film that moves very quickly. I found the pacing of the film to be one of its biggest positives. The film is never dull when it comes to propelling our characters from one horrific scenario to the next. The movie is on the ball from pretty much the word go right up until the end credits begin to roll. We are thrown into the action almost immediately and it never really slows down for the entire running time. It's one of the movie's biggest strengths.
The acting in Pandemic is also decent. The three standouts come in the form of Missi Pyle who most will know in her many comedic roles, here does a stellar job in one of her most dramatic and horrifying performances. Alfie Allen from Game Of Thrones is in fine form as the take no shit bus driver. He's an incredibly talented actor. I enjoyed seeing him have a little more fun with his role. Lastly, Mekhi Phifer is also great in the smallest part of the four. He is still able to make an impact, and you care for all three of these characters.
My biggest grievance regarding performance comes from actress Rachel Nichols who is the main focus of Pandemic. Not a bad actress by any means but her character is written and the motives of the character which reveal a sort of twist towards the end make her come across as a bumbling idiot at the beginning of the film. There is lots of screaming and that is the reason why other characters are killed off. Its moments like this that had me thinking she's a complete idiot. The biggest issue of the character which in turn killed her performance.
Another element that I really enjoyed was the absolute carnage on display. While the movie is certainly no George A. Romero film in terms of gore and violence. The movie does dish out a fair amount of blood and gore. The film gives us a ton of gun-related violence. Anytime the movie gets the chance to use an everyday tool, it doesn't hold back. For anyone looking for a decent amount of frantic zombie, bloodshed won't be disappointed with Pandemic.
In terms of scares and tension, Pandemic isn't very creepy at all. The movie does have a few scenes where the quick cuts and the first person perspective work in its favour as the jump scares and loud noises play an essential part in getting you to jump out of your seat but the movie doesn't provide many suspenseful and tension building moments. This is a movie that relies heavily on jump scares, and it's not always successful.
Lastly, we come to the predictability on display in Pandemic. As I mentioned at the beginning of this review. The movie isn't original in terms of the sub-genre known as zombie cinema. We have many scenes that feel very similar to other zombie movies. Even the ending feels like it's been done before. It tries to go the route of being dark but instead, it isn't really a shock when the conclusion hits because it's expected all the way through the film.
DEATH TOLL: 20+ (In Massive Shootout). 55 (Estimated).
BLOOD AND GORE:
- A lot of people are mowed down by machine guns.
- People are shot in the face.
- Skull crushed to a pulp by a shotgun handle.
- Eyes gouged out.
- We witness scenes of cannibalism.
- A crowbar to the back of the head.
- A screwdriver in the chin.
- Lots of bloody dead corpses.
- A dead baby is shown.
- A Tomahawk to the jaw.
- Head stomped on until skin falls off.
- Throats are slashed.
- An axe to the head.
I went into this movie expecting another low budget zombie movie. I had expected to come out the other side hating it. While the film has a small budget, I think I enjoyed the film. Pandemic isn't perfect, it's not very original and feels like it borrows heavily from several other more significant and better zombie films. I did, however, enjoy the acting, the pacing, and the film dishes out a few solid scenes of bloodshed. So not the terrible hour and a half that I had expected.