A viral outbreak forces an entire town to be quarantined. The only good thing that happens after that is when Satan comes to town.
When I review movies, I prefer to talk about plot first and foremost when making a decision about the movie. When a movie is clearly a low budget affair I don’t like to count off for poor craftsmanship. Pandemic is most definitely a low budget affair, costing an estimated $750,000. However, there are two people involved in this film that made me expect more.
The movie is directed by Jason Connery, the son of Sean Connery. I assume the guy has been around movies most his natural born life, an actor for over twenty-seven years now. With that said, I cannot believe he made a movie this amateurish. The sound design is horrendous. The sound will be overbearingly loud, often making my speakers crackle, and then suddenly be so low you can’t hear any dialogue. If there is one thing I have learned in film production, the sound is the most important quality of the film, even more so than the video. This movie has one of the worst soundtracks I have ever heard.
Since Connery’s life has been spent acting, and his father was James “freaking” Bond, I can’t get past how pedestrian the acting is. The second person involved that made me excited about this film is Ray Wise, the greatest Satan ever! He is the only person in this movie that seems to be a quality actor. The lead is Alesha Clarke, who I last saw in the ridiculous Garden Party. She spends the entire movie over acting and running around yelling like an obnoxious bitch. When the movie takes a turn into conspiracy land, you might expect her to turn up the attitude, but she is an overbearing bitch from the start. It is partially the way her character is written but it is not helped by her horrible acting skills in this role.
The movie is about a contagion (not a pandemic) that occurs in a small country town. The first death we see is a man who has just put his horse in a stable. The death is joined by a look at the inside of his head as he dies and I thought for a minute I was watching an episode of House. It is actually exactly the same as the opening of House looks, except cheaper. Then we see that a horse is dying, from what the vet immediately calls a viral contagion by just looking down on the horse. She goes to the coroner and the two decide to call the Center for Infectious Disease. Within thirty minutes, the military is in town led by General Matthews (Ray Wise) and they quarantine the entire town, cutting off phone lines and the Internet.
After the coroner dies, the vet is convinced by a conspiracy nut that there is something going on and the government is behind it. The only other decent performance is by Graham McTavish (Rambo), who plays a military Captain, and gets by almost on his looks alone. The rest of the cast rely on performances such as a stand down against the military where they demand to be let in until one of the guards fires a single shot into the air and they turn and leave. For the first hour of the movie that is the only action we are witness to. There are slow burn thrillers and then there is this boring nonsense.
Pandemic is an overblown, boring movie filled with bad acting and horrible sound. The movie is lucky to have found distribution and Ray Wise deserves better. When the action finally kicks in, we only get a chase through the woods. Then there is more talking. Even with a daring finale adding points to my final score, everything that came before dooms this movie to failure.
There is a trailer.