BluRay/DVD Reviews

EDEN LOG

By • Aug 8th, 2009 •

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Inventive filmmakers, upon occasion, inveigle the inexpensive use of a vast single location – usually a deserted edifice of some sort, which has long outlived its usefulness to the city in which it is located – and proceed to film the hell out of it, lending a cloistered narrative a helping of serious spatial design and a rewarding sense of production value. Think Orson Welles’ THE TRIAL, shot in a deserted train station, or the upcoming SLIME CITY MASSACRE, wherein writer/director Greg Lamberson talked the city of Buffalo into letting him use abandoned mega-structures from the town’s heyday, or even my STREET TRASH, shot in (and written to utilize) the collision yard owned by the Executive Producer, as well as its bordering junkyard. My apologies to Welles, but the grand-daddy of all these canny approaches was George Romero’s DAWN OF THE DEAD – shot in an endless, unfinished mall in Pittsburgh, owned by one of the investors, and giving the film a scope and color palette which would not have been even imaginable on its budget.

EDEN LOG may be another of those deals. We never seem to leave the overgrown, underlit structure, whatever it is, and it has been heavily art directed to give it a science fiction/horror ambience, and then further toned down to a practically monochromatic appearance. The screenplay, sadly, doesn’t milk the location properly, and redundancy and boredom set in. It is not for most tastes, but may be for some. Made in France, and spoken in French, it is loaded with pretentious dialogue, which doesn’t help keep our interest as the confused protagonist tries to find out who he is, where he is, and what is happening. And the editing supports the film’s pretensions. Far too slowly, we, along withour hero, find out the answers to these questions, and a big finale suggests that in a replay of Eden, the apple would leave the garden rather than the people.

Kudos to the Sound Design (by Vincent Vatoux, perhaps – not quite clear in the credits). And lead Clovis Cornillac struggles to imbue his character with presence. An end title song with English lyrics feels about as inappropriate as the foolish ditty that wrapped up WILL PENNY many eons ago. WP of course took the cake for inappropriate end title music; I don’t mean to say this is a contender for the title – just in keeping with the idea of a misconceived concept. The film is rated “R”, though I saw utterly no reason for it to have earned that hot brand, but I don’t think the DVD crowd will either be kept away or drawn to it on the basis of an MPAA rating.

A final word. Magnolia has been bringing in genre flicks from abroad. While this one didn’t do the trick for me, TIMECRIMES (reviewed elsewhere on the site) from Spain certainly did, and Sweden’s LET THE RIGHT ONE IN was a box office phenomenon. It’s one thing to scour Italy, home of Dario Argento, Lucio Fulci and Mario Bava – that territory is a safe haven. And the Asian hotbeds of horror are equally reliable ground. But Magnolia has been trolling far from the safe spots, and that’s much to their credit.

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One Response »

  1. Roy

    you are the only man I know that can place Orson Welles THE TRIAL in the same sentence with SLIME CITY MASSACRE…….you are unbelieveble….cue the song…

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