Pandemic


Dir: Jason Connery
Star: Alesha Clarke, Peter Holden, Graham McTavish, Ray Wise

Country vet Sydney Stevens (Clarke) is mystified when a ferocious virus starts striking, first animals, then humans, in her practice. She and the local coroner report the outbreak to the CDC, but instead of help, this brings an immediate quarantine down on the county, ruthlessly enforced by the army under General Matthews (Wise). Wireless and Internet communications are cut off, and Sydney's conspiracy-minded friend Spenser (Holden) is convinced that the military are not there to help the locals. The two of them set off, to try and break through the cordon and get word of what's happening to the rest of the world - althought the army may or may not be the only ones who are failing to reveal the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth about the events which are unfolding.

It was filmed here in Arizona, adding local interest; but I can't work out why they decided it should be set in New Mexico. Arizona wasn't good enough, eh, Jason? It's not like this was The Kingdom, where route 202 in Phoenix stood in for an Iraqi highway. So a minor debit for that. More concerningly, despite sporadic moments of effectiveness - not least an ending which does a fine job of tying up all the ends - this isn't as interesting as it should be. It seems there's an awful lot of driving and running around, scenes which add very little to the story and seem to be there purely to add to the running time. Wise is his usual, reliable self, but neither Clarke nor Holden do much with their roles: the latter, in particular, appears to have come straight from Wild-eyed Conspiracist Central Casting. It needs a bit more of a grounding in reality to be effective; a mention of the Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment or government bioweapons tests would have helped. Instead, all you have here is the usual evil military and a moderate amount of noise, with not enough fury to make up for it.

[The DVD is released on October 20th by MTI Home Video through Artist View Entertainment. It's widescreen, and extras include a film-makers commentary and interviews. For more information, please visit the MTI website

C
[October 2009]


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