Ever since I read Stephen King’s The Stand as a thirteen year old I’ve had a ‘thing’ about virus based post-apocalyptic yarns. When you throw in a few zombie-like creatures I’m pretty much sold every time!
Pandemic fits right into this genre niche so I was pretty stoked to come across it – hadn’t heard anything about it beforehand but I was aware that director, John Suits, had been a bit if a sci-fi ‘player’ in recent times.
It all looked pretty promising…
In the near future, a strain of virus has killed large sections of the population, turning the infected into bloodthirsty zombie-like creatures.
Lauren (Rachel Nichols) is a medic who arrives at Los Angeles to join an elite military team. This team are set the rather unfortunate task of traveling into the ‘infected zone’ to rescue survivors of the virus…
Before we get to the sections of the film I actually enjoyed I thought I’d better clear up a few downsides first!
Unfortunately the film’s story elements were pretty generic from start to finish – this didn’t ruin the film for me…but it did stand out as a little irritating at times!
You see, some of the cinematography and action sequences in first-person format were absolutely blinding, but the screenplay was a little bit ‘overused’ at best.
I felt as though nearly every zombie flick cliche was thrown in there at times – if you watch a season of The Walking Dead or sit through a George A. Romero flick you’ve got a ‘ready-meal’ version of this plot…
- Don’t let them bite you…you’ll turn (go figure!)
- They are working on a cure in so-and-so
- I led a bad life but now the apocalypse is here I’ve changed…give me a second chance!
- And so on, and so on…
As I touched on above – some (if not all) of the Found Footage action scenes in this film were outstanding, and well worth the cinema entry fee alone!
The guy in charge of the screenplay, Dustin T. Benson, is obviously out of his depth with horror but the overall film ‘package’ is a pretty good one.
I feel that horror tends to be one of those genres that can get away shitty plot lines every now and again (if you know what I mean?).
Taking the Found Footage approach to filming this movie was really the best marketing decision they could have made, because it draws attention to a film that otherwise could have been completely overlooked in this time of zombie over-saturation.
I suppose you could think of it as a Found Footage version of Danny Boyle’s 28 Days Later with a slither of Fear The Walking Dead thrown in there for taste!
Zombie fans won’t see anything they haven’t seen before, but the cast is very strong and that keeps the overused plot from running too dry or too thin.
This POV approach had a superb habit of overshadowing everything with a sense of imminent evil lurking around every corner – I felt like I was in the middle of an Xbox game at times (Left 4 Dead or Call of Duty Zombies!).
Some critics will get all bent out of shape about the pretty cardboard plot but most Found Footage fans will enjoy this experience overall.
Not bad, worth watching!