DNA Banner 01
horror dna logo header right
Pandemonium Main

Pandemonium Movie Review

Written by Ryan Holloway

Premiered at Screamfest LA


Written and directed by Quarxx
2023, 92 minutes, Not Rated
US Premiere at Screamfest LA on October 14th, 2023

Arben Bajraktaraj as Daniel
Hugo Dillon as Nathan
Ophélia Kolb as Julia
Manon Maindivide as Nina


Pandemonium, from artist and director Quarxx, got its UK premiere at this year’s Frightfest Festival taking many by surprise with its deliciously macabre search to understand death and grief in its many forms. The film stars Hugo Dillon (The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon) who plays Nathan, the main protagonist in an anthology that takes us quite literally to the depths of hell. Beautifully shot and with stunning performances it’s no wonder the film became a festival favourite back in the summer.

As the gates open on the opening story in Quarxx’s existential world of terror, it’s one of poetic resonance. We meet Nathan on a cliffside road where he has somehow survived a horrible crash. He then meets Daniel (Arben Bajraktara), another man involved in the incident, who seems to have already come to accept their fate.

pandemonium 01 pandemonium 02

Daniel explains that their situation is simple, they didn’t survive the crash. The conversation that follows is one of regret, denial and humanity laid bare. As a pair of doorways appear in the road it would seem that their afterlife has been decided and after failed attempts to walk through one of the doors, once Nathan walks through the correct one we enter a dry, hot, barren hellscape where he comes across bodies that have their own stories to tell. This opening scene could be a film in its own right, the discussion of right and wrong and what happens when we die. Quarxx however wants to go deeper. Much, much deeper, so it’s with a kind of gleeful unease that we fully enter Pandemonium.

The second level of hell is superbly layered. Nina, played by the quite incredible Manon Maindivide – a powerhouse of an actress at only 10, awakes one day to find that both of her parents are dead, this she blames on her friend, the horribly deformed ‘Tony the Monster’ who lives in a cave underneath the mansion. As the tale continues it isn’t so much a rollercoaster ride as it is a gasping for air as you bob up and down in a river of despair. It’s harrowing but serves as a reminder that Quarxx’s vision is one of hell, an unfiltered vision of humanity's ability to reach depths that most people’s imaginations refuse to acknowledge.

pandemonium 03 pandemonium 04

The next piece is a brutal story for different reasons. Julia (Ophelia Kolb) lives a living hell when her daughter takes her own life. Grief is complicated and can take such abhorrent forms and here we are given an incredibly uncomfortable one that doesn’t pull its emotional punches. It’s a sobering look at handling death and the loss of someone you love.

This all leads us back to Nathan who we meet again under suitably dark circumstances.

pandemonium 05 pandemonium 06

Anthology films are always tricky as the viewer can easily be pulled out of the experience when characters they are starting to be engrossed by disappear and they are asked to put that same effort in again, but here it works, feeling like a real vivid nightmare that although at times seems abstract, all feels like it inexplicably knits together.

One of the things that makes Pandemonium so fascinating is that although the themes it traverses have been explored many times in cinema, here they are not played for jump scares or as an exploitative form of entertainment but as a genuine deep dive into the very fabric of humanity. It asks questions of its audience and of itself and this is exactly what horror should and needs to be.


Movie: 4 Star Rating Cover
Buy Amazon Us

This page includes affiliate links where Horror DNA may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.

About The Author
Ryan Holloway
Author: Ryan HollowayWebsite: https://www.ryanholloway.net/
Staff Writer
As far back as he can remember Ryan has always had an obsession with films, and horror in particular. 'A Nightmare on Elm Street' and ‘Alien’ were the first films that really stuck in the psyche and rather than scarring his tiny mind and running up a huge therapy bill, those films created a fascination with the dark side of life and art. Brought up by Freddy, Jason and Michael Myers (not literally), horror will always fascinate him no matter how absurd, dark, twisted, barmy or just plain wrong. Horror DNA gives him the opportunity, and excuse, to legitimise his macabre tastes and watch whatever strangeness comes his way.
Recent Articles


Join Us!

Hit the buttons below to follow us, you won't regret it...