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DVD Review

DVD cover

Pandemic (Region 1 Edition)


Starring: Ray Wise and Alesha Clarke
MTI Home Video
RRP: £24.95
Certificate: R
Available 20 October 2009

When a horse is found dead of a viral infection, Sydney Stevens, the local vet, starts to suspect that something else is going on when a local man is found dead with the same symptoms. Having alerted the authorities the army arrives unusually quickly to quarantine the town. What seems like a routine precaution starts to take on sinister overtones when the army cut all communication with the town and refuse the locals the ability to leave...

Pandemic (2009 - 1 hr, 31 min, 43 sec) is an action thriller directed by Jason Connery from a script by Aaron Pope.

First off the PR blurb says that the finished product will sport 5.1 Dolby, a filmmakers commentary, interviews,, trailers and optional Spanish subtitles, however none of this is on the review disc, so I can’t really comment on this.

I’m not even really sure what the finished picture will look like. The copy supplied looked like the whole thing had been shot on the cheap. This may be true or it may be a problem with the encoding when the film was converted.

The film is competently structured and some of the performances are well presented, but the biggest problem with the film is that there is little that is original in its narrative. When the mean old army rolls into town, only the slightly crazy loner thinks that there is something very wrong with the whole scenario. Already you get the feeling that the writer had seen every film from Outbreak onwards, although there is a certain fun to be had spotting where you’ve seen story elements before.

The film also lacks a certain something in the second act. There is a certain amount of paranoia, but where are the dead bodies? The whole pandemic appears to consist of less than a handful of the population and a couple of animals. It may be that the makers did not have the resources to portray mass destruction, but the narrative gets sidetracked -by a subplot about the loon being the general’s son - that the expected mayhem not only does not happen but isn’t even alluded to.

Alesha Rucci plays Sydney and does a reasonable job, though the show is stolen by Ray Wise as General Matthews doing his best mad man impression and Spenser (Peter Holden), whose madness hasn’t fallen that far from the old parental tree.

In the end the plot has been done before and sadly done better. Not even with Jason Connery sitting in the director’s chair could this film raise itself above its own mediocrity.


Charles Packer

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