Pandorum (2009)

Rated R. Our ratings: V-8 ; L-6 ; S/N-1 Running time: 1 hour 48 min.

My mind reels, horror has appalled me;
the twilight I longed for
has been turned for me into trembling.
Isaiah 21:4

Dennis Payton plays Payton, a crew member who awakens on a deep space trip unable to remember anything.

2009 Overture Films

A ship called the Elysium is hurtling through deep space with almost all of its crew sleeping in personal cryogenic capsules because of the great amount of time required by the journey. Their destination is the planet Tanus, a green planet capable of supporting human life. Certain crewmembers are scheduled to awaken to take a shift of monitoring the ship and then be refrozen. However when Payton (Dennis Quaid) wakes up ahead of schedule he is unable to recall the past, including the purpose of the trip. Nor is the next man to awaken, Bower (Ben Foster), able to remember anything.

The two are not unable to communicate with any other crewmembers, nor do they know how to get to the control center, the vessel being so huge. When they learn that the system is about to shut down, the younger Bower starts exploring the labyrinthine tunnels and passageways, discovering that lurking in the darkness is a group of cannibalistic mutants wanting to feast on him. A series of developments lead to numerous violent encounters and the discovery of other non-mutant crewmembers and a surprising climax.

The film will remind you of Aliens, and in its explanation of “Pandorum as a psychological condition resulting from the long periods of suspended animation, the film will also remind one of the classic Forbidden Planet. Symptoms are hallucinations, extreme paranoia, and homicidal tendencies. Director Christian Alvart’s film is not for the squeamish, with its scenes of blood and gore.

For Reflection/Discussion

Includes spoilers.

1. What does this film suggest about the nature of humanity and our ability to travel through space for extended periods of time?

2. How is this a little similar in theme to the Frankenstein genre?

3. What clues were you given as to the nature of Payton and Gallo? Especially near the climax the mirror.

As dark as the film is, what hope do you see in the ending?