PANDEMONIUM (2023). Review by Steve Kirkham



3 stars
Arrow Films. Limited Edition Blu Ray. Out Now

A man, Nathan (Hugo Dillon), awakens on a winding mountainside road. “I’m not hurt”, he declares – as the camera pulls out wider we see his upside down, crashed car… he is then surprised to see another man, Daniel (Arden Bajraktaraj), who was on the motorcycle which was also involved in the accident. How did they escape unscathed?

Then Daniel realises they are both actually dead, which Nathan cannot accept at first – until he sees his mangled body in the wreckage.

So far, so intriguing.

As it starts to snow, things begin to get strange – a door appears and then they see another gateway opposite it. Where do they lead to (you can probably fairly quickly work that one out). Daniel hears beautiful music from the first portal that appeared, whereas Nathan can only hear screams and wailing emanating from the other one.

But which door is for which man? Which will they choose to go through… to say much more would reveal too much.

The initial interplay and darkly humorous dialogue between these two characters points to a better film than what actually unfolds with the rest of the story more like an anthology than a proper narrative, with various random stories which don’t seem to have a fully formed connection.

The film is of intermittent interest, and has some great hellish visuals and stylish direction from Quarxx (probably not his real name), who also wrote the script. However it never hangs together into a cohesive and satisfying whole.

Steve Kirkham

3 stars
Interviews with Quarxx (19 mins), Quarxx and the special make-up fx supervisor Olivier Afonso (16 mins), Interview with Quarxx sharing behind the scenes at the filming of a birth (4 mins)

Footage from the premiere (3 mins)

Making of (22 mins)