Aim Down Sights
by Brody Rossiter
The use of fist-person perspective is a common tool when it comes to contemporary cinema. As video games have become more and more cinematic, movies such a Hardcore Henry are elected to return the favour, incorporating gaming conventions in the effort to create a more immersive experience for the Call of Duty generation. Unfortunately, such techniques are rarely as effective in reality as they sound in practice. What strives to create immersion often ends up being a ineffective gimmick, and without a console and controller to help shape and pace the action, what takes place onscreen is often a chaotic jumble of inconsequential action.
However, in small doses, dropping the audience into the shoes, or hazmat suit, of a protagonist can ramp up the tension, locking the viewer in and forcing them to face their fears. Pandemic is one such example. An action-horror flick that finds survivors battling against zombies flooding the streets of Los Angeles in an effort to track down uninfected survivors and secure a cure for the unknown virus.
Now this all sounds very uninspired. Zombies, survivors, cure yada yada yada. Yet somehow, Pandemic manages to take all these overly familiar tropes, themes and images and form them into a blusterous and bloodthirsty journey into the desperate psyches of a gang of survivors as they hunt for mankind’s salvation and their lost loved ones. Alfie Allen (Game of Thrones’ long-suffering Theon Greyjoy), Missi Pyle, Mekhi Phifer and lead actress, Rachel Nichols all turn in compelling performances that elevate the familiar narrative, creating an engaging series of character arcs to unfold through the visceral action.
Pandemic powers along with a welcome sense of urgency yet doesn’t neglect to tell an emotive story. It’s a jumpy and violent journey that promises cheap thrills and delivers a surprisingly grounded study of life amongst the dead.