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‘Pandemonium’ review: Grim French horror

Has something meaningful to say.

Pandemonium is a horror movie from France that deals with heavy topics. Nathan (Hugo Dillon) and Daniel (Arben Bajraktaraj) argue on a lonely mountain road. This is not just a normal disagreement, however. The two were involved in a horrible accident that has left both of them dead. Nathan must now navigate a journey that literally takes him through Hell.

Filmmaker Quarxx presents a film that is not a traditional anthology. Though Nathan’s story can be considered the wraparound, there are no stops and starts in Pandemonium. It is a free flowing series of stories that are thematically connected. It is a good idea in theory – montages of suffering are popular in horror- but the lack of cohesion becomes a detriment.

Pandemonium actually does a good job of introducing the ideas it wants to address. The opening act deals with acceptance and denial while individual segments deal with remorse, bullying, and grief. Death and the idea of human nature are also very strong themes. Unfortunately, the plot is unable to tie everything together into something meaningful. 

Visually, it is all very impressive. Some moments are downright stunning and the audience will often find themselves mesmerized. The entire movie is filled with a sense of dread. Pandemonium is a grim watch – the first segment involving a callous young girl is especially chilling. Despite the excellent production, it does feel like it goes a few beats too long.

In the end, it makes for a fascinating watch. The twisted main story gets off to a great start. There is a depth that will pull audiences in. However, once the side stories kick in, Pandemonium loses steam. But even in its slowest moments, it feels as if the film has something important to say. 

Pandemonium is available on Arrow Player and VOD

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