Newbie writer/director Tom Paton’s Pandorica is an interesting indie dystopian film set in the not so distant future. It revolves around Eiren, Ares and Thade, three members of the Varosha Tribe who must complete a series of trails in order to gain the right to be the future leader of their tribe. The gauntlet is run by Nus, the current headman who will take is solace in the woods once a new leader rises.
While in the middle of the trails a young women from a competing tribe wanders into their camp. Lost, weak and scared, she carries a mysterious box (maybe it’s Pandora’s). The Varosha are interested in its contents, but their curiosity leads to a night full of hard truths and pain when a masked assassin shows up and loyalties erode.
Paton’s script takes elements from Battle Royal, Predator, Plant of the Apes, and several others and puts them through a hipster Snap-Chat filter to create Pandorica. While most of the dialogue falls flat, Paton excels in feel. For such a low-budget the world of Pandorica is rich in detail. Patin’s detail to Costumes, sets, even the invented dialectic pay off most of the time. Also the use of drones really gives a story a bigger feel. To me, it felt Paton is hoping the thoroughness will out weigh its shortcomings. Like all rookie films there are a handful, the biggest is the pacing. There were moments I felt like was in the middle of a traffic jam; your moving allow then stop, move along, stop. I do have point out, that synth score is pretty good even if at times the camera is working against it. Oh, and the use of aerial drones are smartly used in aiding in expanding the physical borders of the narrative.
Pandorica, features a cast of mostly unknown 20 somethings. While none of the actors is required to be Brando, they do a good enough job making the situation believable. As I said before, the dialogue isn’t Bill Shakespeare, but the crew is good at running around scared and looking cool while doing it.
In the end Pandorica, is a bit frustrating for me, while I enjoyed the concept and generally like this sub genre, sadly, it never won me over. It’s a good first film for Paton, shows he has talent, but needs to piecing it together. That’s why I have hope his follow-up , Redwood, a slasher film based outdoors, will turn out better. Despite, it’s hold back, if you’re a fan of these types of films you might want to pick it on VOD.