Another heart-racing moment occurs when Arielle has to sneak back into one of the office rooms to try and save Daniel is very pulse-pounding. As she carefully walks the corridor and sees Daniel tied up to a chair, there’s a menacing atmosphere in the air, as the creeping anticipation of Jacob showing up builds to a potentially fatal confrontation. Of course, the killer does show up, and the showdown does not disappoint.
The acting in PandaMonium is also quite good. As Damian, James Hamer-Morton is hilariously smug. His off-handed way of undercutting everyone around him feels natural. This makes him very fun to hate. Will Jones plays Daniel, and he is easy to root for. As the only halfway decent male in the movie, Jones has to make the audience like him very quickly. Luckily, he succeeds and shares excellent chemistry with Oriana Charles.
Charles is fantastic as the fierce final girl. She balances the humor with the drama and horror quite well. When Arielle first runs into Carol from HR, she’s holding a stack of files. Carol tells Arielle that she can place those with the others. It is then revealed that Arielle has months upon months worth files to sort. The reveal is hilarious, and the actor sells it. Later on, when she’s telling Daniel why she wanted a new job, Charles makes the audience care for and empathize with her.
“…a slasher is only as good as its killer. David Hon Ma Chu is off-the-wall as Jacob, in the best possible way.”
Of course, a slasher is only as good as its killer. David Hon Ma Chu is off-the-wall as Jacob, in the best possible way. His first kill at the law firm is of the security guard. Jacob is calmly typing away on the keyboard until he suddenly bashes the officer’s brains in with. The physicality of the role matters a lot, and Ma Chu nails it. Just the way he enters the frame, or a small movement of his hands, proves to be spine-tingling.
Sadly, not all is golden with the film. Chiefly, the audio mixing is way off. It sounds like the majority of the dialogue was ADR-ed, and it never quite suits the environment at hand. As an example, let’s return to the killing of the security guard. Steve, the officer, notices something is askew and goes to investigate. Steve enters the room and asks, “Hey, man, what are you doing?” When he asks this, it sounds like he is standing in a big empty room. While it does not echo as that description might imply, it is too loud and does not seem to originate from him in that space. This afflicts the majority of PandaMonium. While it is not every scene, all the time, it hurts the film a lot.
PandaMonium needs another pass through the sound department. A lot of the dialogue appears to have been re-recorded and fails to synch up to its surroundings. Beyond that, though, this is a fun slasher flick. The comedy is uproarious, the kills are fun, the characters are likable, and the cast is quite good. Flawed but absolutely worth checking out, especially if you love horror movies.
PandaMonium premiered at the Horror On Sea Festival.
"…is PandaMonium worth the return visit to Mycho Entertainment's playground?"