The world is in chaos. A virus has devastated the population so much so that the infected now grossly outnumber the uninfected. Humanity, ever persistent, still struggles on in small pockets. We’re introduced immediately to a doctor (Rachel Nichols), who has elected to run into the still densely populated Los Angeles with a small team of armed companions. The hope is that they can rescue any uninfected humans, who they hope might hold the key to the cure.
Pandemic, formerly called Viral, tries to take the exhausting zombie horror sub-genre to an interesting new level. Like the upcoming Hardcore Henry, this zombie flick is shot from a first-person perspective. The novel part of the film, which separates it from the found footage and zombie movies we’ve been inundated with over the last decade or so, is the way they turned first-person perspective filmmaking into a video game like experience. (It’s absolutely more like a game than the shaky, trainwreck Blair Witch imitations we’re accustomed to.) To start with, the film begins with the doctor being introduced to her equipment and team. The introductory sequence should be eerily familiar to any Call of Duty or Tom Clancy fans.After introducing viewers to the equipment Lauren (Nichols) will be utilizing throughout the film, she’s off to save the day with her rag tag band of armed companions. Within the first few minutes, the group is wading through zombies, and that is when the energy really heats up. There’s all the bloodshed and splatter you’d expect from a zombie flick, but with the added depth that immediately come with actors like Nichols, Alfie Allen, Missi Pyle, and Mekhi Phifer. The characters themselves weren’t particularly thought-provoking, but the quality of the portrayals made up for some of the realness the writing lacked.
The story itself was decent, but nothing earth shattering. The film was originally called VIRAL and made the 2012 Blood List and 2012 Hit List while it was on the film festival circuit, so it certainly has been deemed worth seeing. Would I see it in a theater? Only for the benefit of surround sound combined with the first person shooter perspective. Back in 2005 DOOM was made more enjoyable by the thrill of jump scares and action sequences from the first person, and the same logic applies here.
WICKED RATING: [usr 4.5]
Director: John Suits
Writer: Dustin T. Benson
Stars: Rachel Nichols, Alfie Allen with Missi Pyle and Mekhi Phifer
Theatrical Release: April 1, 2016 – VOD/iTunes release: April 5, 2016
Studio/Production Co: New Artists Alliance, Tadross Media Group & Parkside Pictures
Length: 91 minutes
Genre: Horror, Thriller, Action