Sci-fi terror might be the new best type of horror movie. They range all over the place: post-apocalyptic worlds, alternate dimensions, and in the case of Pandorum, space. Just add any sub-genre and you've got a great film! Sci-fi vampire, sci-fi serial killer, or in the case of Pandorum, sci-fi zombie. Don't get me wrong, there are bad sci-fi horror movies (Jason X anybody?), but thankfully Pandorum isn't one of them. With a big budget, a great script, and some great acting, it's definitely one of the best action/horror films I've seen all year.
The movie begins some 200 years in the future on the spaceship Elysium, a giant craft containing over 10,000 humans and bound for the earth-like planet Tannis. Earth is overpopulated and war-torn; its last hope is the absence of humanity.
Cut to Corporal Bower (Ben Foster), who falls out of a chamber that has apparently been keeping him alive for an unknown number of years. After waking his counterpart, Lieutenant Payton (Dennis Quaid), the two realize that they have no means of access to the rest of the ship. They also remember nothing. They have no idea who or where they are, though they make it clear that the effects of "hypersleep" wear off after a period of hours. The two realize that the reactor of the ship must be restarted before it is permanently damaged, which sends Corporal Bower on his movie mission.
Unfortunately, the ship is inhabited with terrifying, fast, and disfigured "humans". These creatures have evolved over an unknown number of years and have adapted perfectly with their environment, the ship. Corporal Bower meets up with two other survivors, who help him to find the reactor in an exciting, albeit frightening, vie for survival. Meanwhile, Lieutenant Payton, who guides Corporal Bower through the ship via a com-link, encounters an unexpected obstacle of his past, which leads to the shocking ending of an intricate and creative tale.
One of the greatest things about Pandorum is that its secondary features, such as sub-plot, don't seem artificial. For example, the audience doesn't need to know about Corporal Bower's lost love, but it provides a nice buffer for the hopelessness of his task aboard Elysium. Furthermore, the dialogue of the movie is realistic, which brings a totally foreign situation (space horror?) into a more tangible light. This ain't a PG-13 movie; Bower drops the F-Bomb regularly, because what else would one say if they were being chased by an evolved human with super speed and a craving for flesh?
There are also some great extras in Pandorum, such as director Christian Alvart's obvious affinity for well-composed and visually pleasing cinematography, or the use of assumptive script-writing (i.e. we live in the world of Pandorum). This one's definitely worth the price of a movie ticket; I might even see it again.