An astronaut, Corporal Bower (Ben Foster), wakes up from suspended hibernation to find himself alone, with no memory of who he is, what he is doing, or what happened to the crew of the 60,000 passenger sleeper ship, Elysium. He proceeds to wake up Lieutenant Payton (Dennis Quaid), who is also suffering from memory loss. They are unable to access the ship's bridge and cannot communicate with any other members of the crew, including the flight crew team who they are supposed to relieve.
While exploring the spacecraft under Payton's radio guidance, Bower talks with Payton about Pandorum, a psychological condition brought on by extended periods of deep-space travel and hyper-sleep. Its symptoms and effects include severe paranoia, vivid hallucinations, and homicidal tendencies. Payton tells of another ship in which a single flight crew member, affected by Pandorum, jettisoned every crew member into space, killing five thousand.
As Bower continues on, he encounters dead bodies and fast-moving humanoid creatures. Escaping from one of them, he then encounters other human survivors, Manh (Cung Le) and Nadia (Antje Traue); they work together to reach the ship's nuclear reactor. Bower informs the other survivors that the reactor will fail permanently if he does not reset it.
Moving on, the group encounters another survivor, Leland (Eddie Rouse), who tells them the story of what had happened before they awakened: Earth, suffering from massive overpopulation, launched the Elysium on a 123-year voyage to a new, Earth-like planet called Tanis to create a settlement. When the ship later learns that Earth was somehow destroyed, one of the three bridge crew members went insane. After killing the other two crewmates, he awakened most of the remaining crew to torture and manipulate them. When he grew bored of this, he went back into suspended animation and left the rest of the crew awake. Genetic augmentations that every crew member had received prior to the mission for quick adaptation to Tanis had instead adapted them to the ship, turning them into the cannibalistic monsters that Bower and the other survivors have been encountering. Leland then uses gas to render the group unconscious. Upon awakening they find themselves chained up with Leland about to kill them for food.
Meanwhile, Payton discovers another crew member, Corporal Gallo (Cam Gigandet), who reveals that he was part of the flight crew that received the final message from Earth. He claims that his other two crew mates suffered from an onset of Pandorum and that he was eventually obliged to kill them in self-defense. By now, most of the ship's population is either dead or mutated.
Bower manages to convince Leland to allow them to restart the ship's nuclear reactor. The group fights their way down to the reactor and Bower gets it online at the last moment. While moving through the passenger hypersleep storage area, he fully regains his memories, now realizing that Payton is not who he says he is. Payton is actually Gallo, and Payton is only imagining the other Gallo, who is an imagined manifestation of his younger self.
Leland finds his way to Gallo, but is killed when Gallo stabs him in the eye. Bower finds his way to the bridge and Gallo opens a window on the ceiling above them, to reveal black emptiness, devoid of stars. Gallo then starts to convince Bower that he is the one who is suffering from Pandorum. Bower attacks Gallo, while simultaneously battling the symptoms of Pandorum. As they fight it is revealed that the ship has actually been on Tanis for the last 800 years, having crashed landed and sunk to the bottom of some body of water. After 123 years of spaceflight, the ship's log shows the mission has been ongoing for a total of 923 years and it is now 3097. Bower accidentally causes a hull breach, and soon water starts pouring in, presumably drowning Gallo.
Bower escapes with Nadia by ejecting his hypersleep pod from the ship. The hull breach causes the ship's computer to initiate an emergency evacuation, ejecting the remaining 1211 hibernating and unmutated crew members onto the watery surface of Tanis, the new home for humanity.
- Dennis Quaid as Lieutenant Payton / Corporal Gallo
- Ben Foster as Corporal Bower
- Cam Gigandet as Young Corporal Gallo
- Antje Traue as Nadia
- Cung Le as Manh
- Eddie Rouse as Leland
- André Hennicke as Hunter Leader
- Norman Reedus as Shepard
- Wotan Wilke Möhring as Young Bower's Father
Writer Travis Milloy wrote a spec script in which it was set on a prison ship and that the characters played by Antje Traue and Cung Le were prisoners, the Ben Foster's character was a non-prisoner not trusting anyone. The producers gave the script to director Christian Alvart, and he was surprised in that he was writing a similar script titled No Where, about four astronauts aboard a settler's ship with no memory of who they are. Alvart decided that they should combine the two scripts together, and the producers and Milloy agreed. Pandorum was announced in May 2008 with Dennis Quaid and Ben Foster in lead roles. Christian Alvart was attached to direct the film, based on a script by Travis Milloy. The film was financed by Constantin Film through a joint venture deal with subsidiary Impact Pictures. The partnership helped fund the $40 million USD production, as Constantin drew subsidies from Germany's Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg (MBB) regional film fund, the German Federal Film Board (FFA), and the German Federal Film Fund (DFFF). The German Federal Film Fund provided $6 million USD to the production, the fund's second-largest 2008 payout, after $7.5 million USD for Ninja Assassin. Filming took place at Babelsberg Studios in Potsdam in August 2008.
Summit Entertainment is handling foreign sales and presented Pandorum to buyers at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival. Overture Films will distribute Pandorum in North America, Icon in the United Kingdom and Australia, Svensk in Scandinavia, and Movie Eye in Japan. The film is set up as a possible franchise, so if it performs well Impact Pictures may greenlight one or more sequels. This is unlikely, however, because of the film's poor performance at the box office to date.
The film received mostly negative to mixed reviews from critics. Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reports the film as holding a 30% approval rating. The site's general consensus is that "While it might prove somewhat satisfying for devout sci-fi fans, Pandorum's bloated, derivative plot ultimately leaves it drifting in space." At Metacritic, which judges on a 0-100 scale, the film holds a "generally unfavorable" score of 28 based on 13 reviews. Science fiction magazine SFX was more positive, stating that "Pandorum is the finest interstellar horror in years", and awarding the film 4 stars out of 5. Film Ireland also gave Pandorum a positive review, appreciating the film's synergy of cinematic techniques, set design, and developed characters. Audience reaction was mostly positive at website Box Office Mojo; their polls report that on a scale of A+ to F, the average grade cinemagoers gave the film was B+. OneMetal's DVD reviewer, Graham Gough, was less charitable, awarding the film 2/5, remarking that "But for sturdy turns from the leads, a few moments of savagery, and some good old-fashioned set design, the movie would be unspeakably dull." On IMDB the general audience seems to find the movie better than the top critics rating it with a 6.9 out of 10. 
- "All That Is Left of Us" (2:43)
- "Pandorum" (3:58)
- "Anti Riot" (4:17)
- "Shape" (2:03)
- "Hunting Party" (2:48)
- "Kulzer Complex" (4:40)
- "Tanis Probe Broadcast" (2:01)
- "Scars" (2:20)
- "Fucking Solidarity" (3:28)
- "Gallo's Birth" (2:22)
- "Biolab Attack" (2:25)
- "Kanyrna" (3:22)
- "The Stars All Look Alike" (4:32)
- "Boom" (3:55)
- "Reactor" (4:08)
- "Skin on Skin" (3:21)
- "Fight Fight Fight" (2:56)
- "Bower's Trip" (7:51)
- "Discovery / End Credits" (7:55)
Pandorum was released in theaters 2009, however in some countries the film went straight to DVD. The DVD release took place in spring 2010.