Two months in and 2016 is the same as any other year. Pandemic, slated for a 1st April release, is yet another zombie film: It’s shot in first person and follows the adventures of a scientist surviving and rescuing Los Angeles.
For Your Eyes Only
It does look intense and as a horror fan, I am intrigued. But it’s not the first horror movie in first person, if we count found footage films it’s a legacy which reaches back to 1980’s Cannibal Holocaust. It’s not even the first first-person zombie movie – there’s Chernobyl Diaries, REC (and its inferior American remake), The Zombie Diaries, Diary of the Dead and The Bay. But why bother?
Aside from the raft of films, there’s a far longer list of first person, zombie shooter video games. For both the appeal is lower design costs and geek culture, which despite all signs otherwise, still desperately hungers for zombie-content. Pandemic looks like a far superior affair than most of the undead dross. The first person action will place the viewer in the middle of plague-ravaged, revenant-filled world.
Perhaps this is the media industries eating its own tail, its curious that one of the biggest zombie franchises for both film and videogames is Resident Evil. With this in mind, its not such a stretch that the film industry has taken its cues from its newer, interactive sister in creating Pandemic.
But why should a film buff have any interest in Pandemic, or a gamer for that matter? There is a dearth of first person zombie games, but amongst these titles there are some titanic and excellent franchises, first and foremost Left 4 Dead (L4D). As with everything produced by Valve, they knocked it out of the park with L4D and its sequel. The game puts you behind the eyes of one of four survivors and drags you through the zombie apocalypse with a levity that appears to be lacking in Pandemic.
So why see Pandemic? Its first person perspective serves as its unique selling point, but video games already do this better. The best zombie properties, film or games, utilise the undead as an environment rather than a plot point. When zombie media it fails, it doesn’t grasp that the living dead are never the star of the show. It may have a glossy, sophisticated presentation; but as a film and videogame fan – Pandemic is going to have to do more to get me to buy a ticket.
Featured image is a ‘still’ sourced from the IMDB page of Pandemic (2016).
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