Pandorum


Viewed – 04 April 2010  Blu-ray

An astronaut wakes up after extended hyper-sleep only to discover he has no memory of who he is or where he is apart from a name on his sleep pod.  He soon awakens a fellow astronaut and together they come to the conclusion that whatever mission they were on, they’ll only find out by powering up the reactor and getting onto the bridge.  One problem though … as the ship is in a low power state, they’re only choice is to navigate air ducts and search the rest of the ship – but guess what?  It has become overrun by blood thirsty monsters, and soon a battle for survival is on.

This atmospheric if somewhat derivative sci-fi horror borrows heavily from better movies such as Alien and Event Horizon, but still has a few ideas and some quality action set pieces to be worthy of your time.  The cast including Dennis Quaid, a token sci-fi female bad-ass (Antje Traue) and an everyman likable lead (Ben Foster), amongst others are all credible and  interesting if under developed, and the monsters reminded me of a cross between the cave creatures from The Descent and the aliens in PS3 game Resistence: Fall Of Man.  Although the movie is called Pandorum, the central idea of paranoia and cabin-fever causing hallucinations and people turning against each other is only lightly explored, which is a shame, as I feel beyond the generic monster movie trappings, this could have been something a whole lot more interesting and more importantly scary – something a few jump scars don’t quite accomplish.  Also for the most part the movie is in dark and dreary cookie-cutter locations and lacks much of the eerie personality and set-design of the aforementioned Event Horizon – a movie this most closely resembles, if only to make you want to see that again instead.

Verdict:  3 /5

Dead Space


I love the horror genre, and videogames are no exception, with some prime examples over the years from Konami’s brilliant Silent Hill series (especially the unnerving, brilliantly paced SH #2), the much acclaimed Resident Evil franchise, and now this from Electronic Arts, a publisher I have come to despise due to their endless revenue and their buying up of talented development houses only to rip them apart until little of the initial talent remains.  Oh and their yearly sports updates and mainstream marketing leave a bad taste in my mouth.  Yet word has it that this publisher has begun to turn its game around with some promising titles on the horizon (including the fantastic looking Mirror’s Edge) and so we come to this, EA’s toe-in-the-water attempt at a survival horror.

I liked the look of this, claustrophobic corridors, inventive weaponry, eerie atmosphere and ‘things’ to kill on a haunted space ship.  Harks back to the forgotten classic horror movie Event Horizon (which is brilliant – don’t let anyone tell you different), as you play some Marine who thankfully is not bald or muscular, but kinda looks a bit f***** up with a bizarre suit and helmet.  This is an example of the game’s top-drawer art design with some great H.R. Geiger influenced imagery and stunning attention to detail.  Yes, it was done just as well in ID’s brilliant shooter Doom 3 (which this game resembles in all but perspective), and for me, the whole place is a joy to explore.  Add to this some inventive creature design (they kinda look like mutated survivors of the space ship, at first guess at least), and some intense confrontations and jump moments – I’m already completely sucked in. 

I will report back soon with more on my impressions as I play through the game.  So far so brilliant.