The apocalypse genre is a path well trodden in pop culture. It’s a difficult scenario to keep original without accidentally stepping on the toes of a previous attempt and Edge of Extinction is no different. Nuclear world war and the collapse of society as we know it presents a very bleak backdrop to this film indeed.
Set 15 years after World War III, little to no resemblance of civilisation exists as mankind are on the quick descent to joining the dinosaurs. The film follows The Boy (Luke Hobson) as he plods along collecting supplies, food and water and storing them in his isolated cabin. The loneliness of this life has affected The Boy’s mental health as he continues to speak to his brother, who has been dead for several years. During his scavenges The Boy searches buildings, checks the traps he’s set for food, hides from a black face paint wearing group that he calls The Road Rats and eventually discovers The Girl (Georgie Smibert). After just witnessing The Road Rats perform a needless execution, trust isn’t something that is floating about for The Boy but The Girl soon manages to talk him into giving her a pigeon and even a bed for the night in his cabin.
In the middle of the night however, The Girl sneaks off to the rest of her group, after lifting some supplies. Her group is just two men that are both complete unnecessary dickheads and they insist they return to the cabin to steal the rest of the food. Ambushing The Boy as he sleeps, The Man (Chris Kaye) ties him to a chair, beats him and demands to know where else his gear is stashed. Giving in to the pain, The Boy bottles it and tells him about a crate of booze hidden around the back of the cabin. Semi-satisfied with this, The Man stabs The Boy in the hand and leaves with The Girl, his dickhead friend and the stash. Obviously, if someone fucks you up in the night and pinches all your shit, you are not going to be amused. Only one thing for it: find them fuckers in the night and steal back your shit. Not accounting for a gang of Road Rats to also be hot on their trail, The Boy, for some reason, decides to alert the The Girl, Man and dickhead about their impending deaths. Fight, people die and some other stuff happens then oh no, The Girl is captured by the black face paint enthusiasts. This forces The Boy and The Man to put aside their differences and work together to attempt a rescue mission.
At this point, very little is established but about an hour has gone on the run time. An hour. Only about another hour and a quarter. I only mention this because this film has no right to be this length. Not enough happens to the characters, nothing of interest anyway. Edge of Extinction is ten minutes away from being as long as Goodfellas but it feels like the length of The Irishman but has no content worthy of being included in either. It feels as though Andrew Gilbert is constantly trying to sell the vast feeling of nothingness and despair with similar looking desolate landscapes and slug like pacing. The bleak isolation and misery is established early on, the pace should then parallel the fear and uncertainty of the violence and kidnapping yet it seems to lap it on several occasions.
There is no reason for the audience to like any of the characters, other than perhaps two near the back end of the film. They’re selfish, ignorant morons with unrealistic expectations from those around them. Similarly, as the only resemblance of some kind of society is a pack of make up wearing male cannibals led by a rapist with delusions of grandeur; why exactly would you want to survive? It is existing yes, but it sounds fucking terrible. There is a difference between standing up for what you believe in and knowing when the fight is lost. I’m fairly certain that the good guys really lost this fight. Cannibals are all that survive, apart from a bunch of rag tag people here and there. Sources of food are non-existent, so the rag tags will die of starvation (or turn to cannibalism) and the cannibals will eventually eat their companions. All that will be left is the toughest cannibal wondering if their left or right leg would taste better. The human race will become extinct. Of course veganism has been eliminated from the equation as human flesh was more tempting than plants.
I do enjoy end of the world stories. I find them both fascinating and terrifying as some of them are quite plausible. Nuclear fallout could happen. World War III could happen. Unfortunately though that’s not sufficient enough to make a film about it. It’s a cool concept but the lack of characterisation and truly woeful acting really lets Edge of Extinction fall flat.
Dir: Andrew GIlbert
Scr: Andrew Gilbert
Cast: Luke Hobson, Georgie Smibert, Chris Kaye, Bryn Hodgen, Susan Lee Burton, Nicholas Chambers.
Prd: Andrew Gilbert, Julian Hundy
DOP: Julian Hundy
Music: Jon Bentley
Run time: 136 minutes
Edge of Extinction is available on Digital on the 18th May 2020 and out on DVD later this year