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Movie review by
Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media
Pandorum Movie Poster Image
Relentless, intensely violent sci-fi chiller isn't for kids.
  • R
  • 2009
  • 108 minutes

Parents say

age 11+
Based on 4 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 8 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Despite the movie's unrelenting violence and dark tone, the characters actually behave in an admirable way; characters from different backgrounds team up to strive toward a common good. They choose hope over despair and order over chaos. They show bravery and selflessness (the hero tries to go back to rescue fallen comrades). They also choose not to inflict violence on an alien child.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The hero overcomes some initial disorientation and terror to embark upon a dangerous mission that will save the lives of thousands. He sometimes succumbs to anger and frustration -- and has the worst potty mouth in the movie -- but as the story progresses, his bravery and optimism win out.


Sudden attacks occur throughout, complete with stabbings and slashings with sharp instruments. An eyeball is pierced with a needle, and a character's stomach is sliced open, with guts visible. Blood, muck, and slime are plentiful. Since the story takes place mostly in the dark, in twisted, sinister-looking corridors, and using a terrifying array of screeching sound effects, there's a constant state of tension and dread. Characters engage in several lengthy fights, with grabbing, punching, hitting using blunt instruments, and shots from a "non-lethal" wrist ray gun.


Not much of an issue. The hero appears wearing only underwear in one scene, and the heroine displays ample cleavage throughout, but there's no nudity and no suggestion of sex.


Not a constant barrage of foul language, but many uses of "f--king" and "f--k," as well as "s--t," "hell," "damn," "ass," "oh my God," and "goddamn."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Not really an issue. A sedative is given to a hysterical character against his will, and other characters are rendered unconscious with knockout gas.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that the intense violence in this dark, scary sci-fi movie is apparent in every scene, even if it's not specifically presented in terms of fighting or gore (though there's plenty of those, too). There's a constant, unrelenting feel of terror, tension, and dread, thanks mainly to the movie's overwhelmingly dark, metallic, deliberately unsettling sets. Alien creatures threaten to jump out from every dark corner, and the soundtrack's alarming use of screeching noises adds to the general unease. Likely it will be too much for most kids to handle. Despite that, and despite the characters' severe trials and tribulations, the movie has a solid ethical core and a generally hopeful outlook. Characters set aside their differences and team up for the greater good, and despite his potty mouth (expect plenty of "f--k"s and more) and initial disorientation, the hero ultimately behaves bravely and selflessly.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byuytt2 October 29, 2009

rent it

this movie looked cool in the trailer bu it kind of sucked nobody really acted well and i also didnt get the plot rent it becuse it might scare you at some poin...
Adult Written byMovie Man October 3, 2009

What Starts Out as an Alien-Esque Sci-Fi Horror Turns Out to Be a Sci-Fi Masterpiece with Novel Twists and Turns!

I loved this movie; it was fantastic! It was terrifying, action-packed, and the acting was fantastic. And the twists; they blew my mind. I saw a few of them com... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old January 24, 2010

Favorite movie of all time.

The movie itself was great, as soon as I watched it I wanted to start it again. The plot had more twists than Universal Studios' Dueling Dragons. Gore: Pr... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written bySanjay407 November 10, 2011


Rated R: Strong Graphic Horror Violence, A Scene of Underclothing, and Strong Language

What's the story?

In the future, the spaceship Elysium is launched on a very special mission. From one of its hibernation chambers, Bower (Ben Foster) awakens, not knowing who he is, how long he' has been asleep, what his final destination is, or how far away he is. A senior officer (Dennis Quaid) also awakens, and they agree that Bower -- using his still-remembered training -- will embark upon a dangerous mission to find the ship's reactor and reboot it. To get there, Bower must travel through many dark, imposing and sometimes claustrophobic corridors. To his horror, he soon discovers that he's not alone on the ship -- and that not all of his new companions are friendly.

Is it any good?

PANDORUM won't convert anyone who isn't already a sci-fi/horror fan, but for those already in the club, it provides some very intense, memorable chills. Directed by Christian Alvart, the movie has an especially effective set design, filled with dark, constricting, metallic corridors with lots of snaky black tubing poking out. The ship's lights keep flickering out, and every inky corner is filled with potential menace. And the off-screen screeching noises help keep up a constant sense of tension and dread.

The movie's theme of madness (the "pandorum" of the title) is played to the hilt, the violence comes fast and hard, and it will likely be a bit too much for most kids. Fortunately, the hero (Foster) is a likeable sort, and he grows and changes in an interesting way over the course of the film; the overriding theme is one of hope.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the effect of the movie's very intense violence and terror? How does it make you feel? Is it really necessary for the plot?

  • The film's prologue charts the future explosion in the Earth's population and mentions a severe shortage of water and food. What causes overpopulation, and why is it bad? What are some of the ways to curb it?

  • What's the difference between social order and rules and chaos?

  • What would it feel like to be away from your loved ones in deep space?

Movie details

For kids who love thrills

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