Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||John Suits|
|Written by||Dustin T. Benson|
|Music by||Alec Puro|
|Edited by||Nicholas Larrabure|
|Distributed by||XLrator Media|
Pandemic is a 2016 American science fiction thriller film directed by John Suits and written by Dustin T. Benson. Rachel Nichols stars as a doctor who leads a group to find survivors of a worldwide pandemic. The film is shot in a first-person POV, similar to first-person shooter video games.
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Lauren Chase, a doctor from New York, comes to Los Angeles to find survivors of a worldwide pandemic. She is assisted by her team, which includes Gunner, Denise, and Wheeler.
The movie opens with Dr. Chase being given a tour of the facility that's being used to monitor, treat, and euthanize sufferers of the disease. She is taken through the multi-level patient holding cells, and added into a team of sweepers who search for survivors. Chase is promised a cure should she become infected, and is told not to inform her team if she becomes infected. They immediately set out toward a school rumored to have around 89 plague survivors.
On the road to the school, they encounter an uninfected woman begging for help. They hop out of the bus to help, but are ambushed by a group of uninfected desperate to get out of the city. Gunner shoots several of them as the others hop in the bus and take off. Gunner chases after the bus, barely getting on board before it pulls away.
After driving a ways, they come across a yellow school bus. Gunner realizes it was a bus from the facility. Gunner forces Wheeler to stop so he can inspect the school bus. Gunner finds his wife, who is dead. He asks Dr. Chase if the infected eat people.
Finally arriving at the school the team is able to find supplies. Searching for the survivors, the team comes across a room barricaded from the inside. Once breaking through the doors, they see all of the survivors are dead. After a few seconds, some of the infected wake up and charge at the team. All, except Gunner, escape through a window.
Wheeler separates himself from Dr. Chase and Denise, causing them to seek shelter elsewhere. They find shelter in an abandoned store, where Dr. Chase confesses she is really Rebecca Thomas who came to the facility to find her daughter Meghan.
Both Denise and Rebecca are ambushed by a Level 5. After a long struggle, Wheeler impales the Level 5, killing it instantly.
Wheeler claims he made contact with a Doctor from a previous excursion who has 8 survivors nearby, and they need to return to the facility.
Rebecca realizes Wheeler has a bleeding wound on his side and is infected. She makes a deal; he hot wires the ambulance to save the survivors, takes Rebecca to her home to find her daughter, and she will return him to the facility to be treated as a Level 1.
Before arriving at the hospital, Denise is hit by a car and kidnapped by Level 3s. With her helmet cam still recording, the infected are shown cutting her open and eating her.
Rebecca shoots and kills the infected. Wheeler consoles her and they continue searching for the hospital.
Once they reach the survivors and hot wire the ambulance, the Doctor with the survivors knocks out Rebecca, yelling that she isn't Dr. Chase. The survivors escape, causing Wheeler and Rebecca to hot wire a different ambulance.
Rebecca and Wheeler finally reach her house. She finds Meghan, tests her blood, and realizes Meghan is infected. While waiting in the ambulance, Wheeler is ambushed by Level 5s. Rebecca, realizing they need to run, has Meghan change into her suit from the facility.
Wheeler escapes the ambulance and rushes into the house, causing Rebecca and Meghan to run upstairs. All three escape through a window, but Wheeler is bitten multiple times and can no longer walk. Rebecca is forced to leave him.
Rebecca and Meghan make it to the ambulance and rush to the facility. On the way to the facility, Rebecca sees the other ambulance on fire.
Finally arriving at the facility, the guards are able to kill multiple infected, but do not recognize Rebecca without her suit from the facility. She pleads with the guards to not shoot her daughter. Rebecca, in turn, is shot multiple times.
Meghan is taken into the facility for Level 1 treatment under the impression she is really Dr. Chase.
- Rachel Nichols as Lauren Chase/Rebecca Thomas
- Alfie Allen as Wheeler
- Paul Guilfoyle as Doctor Greer
- Danielle Rose Russell as Meghan Thomas
- Missi Pyle as Denise
- Mekhi Phifer as Gunner
Suits came upon the script, which was initially named Viral, at the Blood List, a repository of unproduced horror and thriller scripts. Suits does not consider the film to be found footage and instead says, "Rather than a found footage movie, I consider it more as a POV first-person movie." The camera setups were designed to simulate this first-person POV rather than someone who is carrying a camera. Suits said that they did not have a successful formula to follow for such a film, though he watched Maniac and Enter the Void for inspiration. Two camera operators, one female and one male, shot the film. The camera operator of the appropriate sex would substitute for whichever character's POV was represented.
Although he was a gamer in his youth, Suits said he could not find time to play many video games for research. Instead, he talked to gamer friends, watched YouTube videos, and discussed interesting kill scenes with the stunt coordinator.
Pandemic premiered at FrightFest Glasgow on February 26, 2016. It replaced Cell at the last moment. XLrator Media gave the film a limited release on April 1, 2016. It was released via video on demand on April 4, 2016.
Despite some positive reviews the overall reception by critics was mostly negative. The aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes gives it a Tomatometer score of 44%, based on 16 reviews of which nine were classified as mostly negative (rotten) and seven as mostly positive (fresh). The average point score was 4.75 out of 10.
Jonathan Hatfull of SciFiNow described it as "an energetic POV zombie action movie with some impressive action and less than impressive characterisation". Anton Bitel of Twitch Film called it "a thoroughly bleak portrait of rapid societal breakdown" that is also "a collection of genre clichés". Howard Gorman of Shock Till You Drop wrote, "Relying that much more on the narrative and players involved than POV 'gimmickry', Pandemic succeeds in keeping its audience invested and entertained." Dennis Harvey of Variety called it "a solid if not quite memorable entry in the ever-expanding canon of survivalist undead cinema". Justin Lowe of The Hollywood Reporter, in comparing it to Night of the Living Dead and other zombie films, said it shares similar themes but lacks the realism and gravitas. Martin Tsai of the Los Angeles Times wrote, "Pandemic proves serviceably frightening, if sporadically gory, maximizing tension derived from unknown dangers".
- Squires, John (2015-01-27). "Infection Thriller Pandemic Shot in First Person Shooter Perspective". Dread Central. Retrieved 2016-03-16.
- Gorman, Howard (2016-03-31). "Helmer John Suits Talks POV Apocalyptic Action-Thriller Pandemic". Dread Central. Retrieved 2016-04-01.
- Unsworth, Martin (2016-01-22). "PANDEMIC Added to Film4 FrightFest Glasgow". Starburst. Retrieved 2016-03-16.
- Mack, Andrew (2016-01-26). "PANDEMIC: Exclusive Key Art Premiere For John Suits' Sci-fi Actioner". Twitch Film. Archived from the original on 2016-03-30. Retrieved 2016-03-16.
- [https://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/pandemic_2016 (retrieved 2020-04-23)
- Hatfull, Jonathan (2016-03-01). "FrightFest Glasgow 2016: here's what you missed". SciFiNow. Retrieved 2016-03-16.
- Bitel, Anton (2016-02-27). "Glasgow FrightFest 2016 Review: PANDEMIC, A Bleak If Derivative Viral Apocalypse". Twitch Film. Archived from the original on 2016-03-23. Retrieved 2016-03-16.
- Gorman, Howard (2016-02-26). "Review: POV Thriller PANDEMIC". Shock Till You Drop. Retrieved 2016-03-16.
- Harvey, Dennis (2016-04-01). "Film Review: 'Pandemic'". Variety. Retrieved 2016-04-01.
- Lowe, Justin (2016-04-01). "'Pandemic': Film Review". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2016-04-01.
- Tsai, Martin (2016-03-31). "Review 'Pandemic' spreads fear effectively". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2016-04-01.