In the near future, a plague of epic proportions has overtaken the planet. There are more infected than uninfected and humanity is losing its grip on survival. Lauren is a doctor, who, after the fall of New York, comes to Los Angeles to lead a team to hunt for and rescue uninfected survivors.
Directed by: John Suits
. Starring: Rachel Nichols
, Alfie Allen
, Missi Pyle
, Mekhi Phifer
, Paul Guilfoyle
, Danielle Rose Russell
, Pat Healy
, Robert Lewis Stephenson
, Amanda Baker
, Sara Tomko
, Dominic Bogart
, Alexander Ward
, Jeff Atik
. Music by: Alec Puro
Alarms started to ring during the opening sequences, as we watch home recordings of a family hanging out at the park and going on holidays. Great, another found footage zombie movie? Oh no, it's much worse than that. Pandemic is a First Person zombie movie. For the most part, the only camera-work we get is on top of characters heads, in an attempt to give us their point of view. Problem is, that doesn't work in a movie with multiple characters (Have yet to see Hardcore Henry, so jury's out on whether it can actually work or not). See, with multiple characters, it's nice to see them and their reactions to situations. This creates an atmosphere where the viewer is blissfully aware that these characters spend half the time looking at each other...in a zombie apocalypse.
The other, and probably more irritating problem with multiple first-person viewpoints is the action scenes. Spoiler alert: They're a mess. If you thought shaky-cam footage was often hard to follow in action sequences, try shaky-cam footage from different places, looking at different things, quickly cutting from different angles and viewpoints without rhyme or reason. It's not long in the movie before our cast of characters are assembled on a bus and set out into LA, except before they get there, they have to battle through a horde of infected hanging around inside a tunnel. It's dark, there are two doors at opposite ends of the bus under siege, there are four different characters with their own dedicated camera trying to fight them off with baseball bats and shotguns. I almost turned it off there and then. I couldn't make heads or tails of what the hell was actually going on, as it all just merged into a nonsensical dark grey blur.
There isn't a single likable character either, each of them succumbing to horrific stereotypes in the façade of a development. The black dude is, for all intents and purposes, the black dude. He's strong-willed and intimidating, and is in search of his wife who went out on the patrol before him, but he just acts like your stereotypical black dude. The driver is a weedy ex-con, who is as brash and abrasive as ex-con stereotypically are, with no real consideration for his colleagues. Although he does want to make a change in his life, so that counts as development right? The worst is our main viewpoint; Lauren, a CDC doctor who has an unhealthy obsession with mobile phones. Yeah, I get that she's a mother who cares about being reunited with her daughter more than anything else, but Jesus Christ you're on a patrol mission of high importance. Leave the goddamn phones alone!
Pandemic isn't a complete failure though. Not entirely. It's treatment of zombies and infected is definitely interesting. It's nothing particularly revolutionary, but the world it presents is a little more believable than most other zombie movies that turn you from healthy to infected to zombie in little to no time at all. Instead in Pandemic, there are five stages of infection, and as such, the streets are still inhabited by fairly regular people just trying to find a way to survive. Some resort to violence, some resort to cannibalism, but most just hide in churches and car parks waiting for the inevitable; everyone in this world is homeless. The first time we encounter a stage five in the wild is also quite creepy, thanks to a lack of light, and it's gaunt, pale body blindly wandering around searching for it's targets. I mean it's ruined by a jump-scare that doesn't make any practical sense, but up until that point was probably the most entertaining sequence in the whole movie.
So yeah, Sky Cinema lied to me. This is not a good movie by any stretch of the imagination. It's cheap, badly written, confusing and disorientating to watch, full of moronic decisions and shallow jump-scares that are impractical. I give it a 'you're-better-off-avoiding' 410.
P.S. The poster makes this movie look amazing, except the bald dude with assault rifle and axe doesn't actually exist.
Review by PyroSikTh from the Internet Movie Database.