Jazz, film, and improvised culture.
Pandemic: Shoot the Infected Hordes
line between zombie movies and Cabin
Fever-style infection horror is becoming increasingly porous. Take for
instance, this post-contagion Los Angeles, where infected victims at stage five
exhibit distinctly zombie-like symptoms, including the bit where they eat
people. However, there is a cure for level one, but it is strictly reserved for
irreplaceable personnel like Dr. Lauren Chase, formerly of the CDC. You can bet
a lot of her new colleagues will be needing it in John Suits’ Pandemic (trailer here), which opens this
Friday in Los Angeles.
Dr. Chase slipped out of New York before the city collapsed. Of course, the
whole premise that LA is more fit to survive than the Big Apple is absolutely
ridiculous. Heck, we’ve probably already had several zombie apocalypses here in
the City without even noticing them. Regardless, Chase made it out to LA and
connected with the band of survivors led by Dr. Greer, a military doctor of
is about to go out on her first reconnaissance and food foraging mission. It is
her job to determine whether healthy-looking survivors are safe to bring back
to shelter. It is a simple test. A red dot means take them and a black dot says
leave them to their fate—or is it the other way around? Chase also seems to
have trouble administering the test, but she is clearly distracted by a
Pandemic’s style and narrative were directly
inspired by first-person-shooter video games, which maybe the filmmakers
shouldn’t be so up-front about. Regardless, Suits (who helmed the greatly
underrated comic book adaptation, The Scribbler) keeps the energy level up and maintains enough of the human
element so that Pandemic rarely feels
like a POV gimmick.
Nichols does respectable work as Chase, getting solid support from Missi Pyle
as Denise, the mission’s navigator and Mekhi Phifer as Gunner, whose job it is
to like, shoot infected people. It is also cool to see CSI’s Paul Guilfoyle turn up as the gruff but high-handed Dr.
Greer. Genre fans should also keep an eye and ear out for Pat Healy as Dr.
Ward, whose transport met with a not so mysterious mishap.
plays like a decent story arc in the Walking
Dead universe or a superior new installment of the Contracted franchise. So far, it has been a disappointing year for
both zombie and viral outbreak movies (that means you, Anger of the Dead), so Pandemic
benefits from a generous curve. Not bad (but nowhere near as smart and
stylish as Suits’ The Scribbler), Pandemic opens this Friday (4/1) in Los
Angeles at the Arena Cinema.
Labels: Epidemic movies, Missi Pyle