There’s a reason dystopian films fare well. Native power struggles, ruthless ambition and tribal rivalry are all present in director Tom Paton’s debut feature-length sci-fi film.
The premise involves a gruesome battle through the woods where the leader of the Varosha tribe is expected to emerge. Set in a futuristic world that draws on basic lifestyles of the past, current leader of the tribe Nus (played by Luke D’Silva) guides headstrong Eiren (played by Jade Hobday), self-centred lone-ranger Ares (Marc Zammit) and loyally conflicted Thade (Adam Bond) on a trail where they must compete to become leader of their next generation. As the three embark on their journey through the fateful forest, they come across a red box that proves useful for the victor but is also highly coveted by enemies. A chaotic race ensues in the darkness and, ultimately, the winner emerges at daylight.
With a limited cast and budget, Paton’s film is visually impressive with the cinematography meriting the most praise. Rich location shots, on a par with rival high-budget counterparts, depict nature at its best, though their effect is hit-and-miss at times, proving disruptive in some scenes. Nonetheless, pervading shots of the luminous moon, signalling time running out, are instrumental in developing the plot.
Hobday’s character Eiren shares features with Katniss Everdeen (The Hunger Games): a stealthy, utterly determined exterior that masks a vulnerability that every so often surfaces. Poignant moments between Nus and Eiren have the potential to give the film greater emotional depth but, as with many works in the genre, gore and fear triumph instead. Clichéd snapping of twigs and evil figures in abominable masks are components seasoned and novice horror fans will enjoy.
Paton combines the successful elements of intrigue, anticipation and fear expected from a sci-fi/horror film but with the potential of offering something new. With a sequel in the works, it will be interesting to see how he develops the narrative and whether it will involve more daring risks. Pandorica evokes the extremities of power play that fans of dystopia will love.
Pandorica is released in selected cinemas on 1st April 2016.
Watch the trailer for Pandorica here: