'Pandemic' Isn't as Timely as the Title Would Have You Believe Directed by Johnny Martin
Starring Tyler Posey, Summer Spiro, Donald Sutherland
Published Mar 01, 2021Yes it's called Pandemic, and yes it's about being trapped in your apartment for months on end, but there's nothing overtly timely about this zombie thriller, which is cut from the same cloth as The Walking Dead, 28 Days Later and The Night Eats the World. In fact, it was originally titled Alone, meaning that calling this film Pandemic feels more like opportunistic marketing than an accurate representation of what it's about.
Aidan (Tyler Posey) is hanging out alone in his apartment one day when there's a sudden commotion outside. Catastrophe breaks out, as a helicopter crashes into a building and people begin feasting on one another on the streets. There's little for Aiden to do except for barricade himself in his apartment and watch despairing news reports about the deadly pandemic (dun dun dunnnn!) that turns the infected into flesh-eating zombies.
Pandemic takes the 28 Days Later approach to zombification — i.e. the infected can run (instead of simply stagger) and they're even kind of smart. It also presents a slightly intriguing twist on this familiar genre, in that these zombies are torn between bloodlust and regret. It's rather poignant to see them simultaneously hunt the living and beg for death.
Mostly, this is a pretty standard zombie flick, which is good thing. It's tense and occasionally gory, and even though Aiden's character is barely developed beyond his love of surfing and tattoos, we still empathize with his sense of hopelessness — and we feel his excitement when he discovers that someone (Summer Spiro) is living in the apartment across from his. Our uninfected stars are both young, single and conventionally attractive, which is awfully good luck in an otherwise bleak situation. (If there's one thing this movie gets totally wrong about isolation, its that Aiden maintains his rippling gym bod even after weeks in his apartment. Pfft.) Donald Sutherland makes a late-movie appearance as a neighbour, although telling you more than that would constitute spoilers.
Don't go into Pandemic expecting it to have anything to say about life under coronavirus, but for fans of the zombie genre, this is a solid if slightly straightforward example.
Pandemic comes to VOD on March 2 and DVD/Blu-ray on April 6. (VVS)