During the time of a pandemic, especially in our political climate, the future is more uncertain than ever before. The thought of stepping outside or interacting with other humans comes with the burden of anxiety and the sense of impending doom. Now that I have started to relate to some post-apocalyptic tropes, I had hoped that I would appreciate a hackneyed take on the end of the world as we know it. So, when I sat down to watch EDGE OF EXTINCTION, a British independent film written and directed by Andrew Gilbert, I had moderate to high expectations that I would at the very least enjoy myself. Unfortunately, EDGE OF EXTINCTION was so starved for originality and compelling character development that its more than two-hour run time completely lacked merit.
World War III has come and gone, leaving behind the entrails of humanity. Fifteen years post-war, what is left of humankind must scavenge for food and supplies while seeking shelter from depraved mobs of cannibals. We follow our protagonist, The Boy (Luke Hobson), who has learned how to survive with the memory of his brother as his sole companion. When he stumbles upon The Girl (Georgie Smibert), he inherits a liability. The Girl is a member of The Road Rats, a malicious gang that The Boy is trying to avoid. But when The Girl exposes The Boy’s hideout with all his supplies, The Boy is in for a lot of trouble. After a high-stakes pissing contest between the gang’s leader – The Man (Chris Kaye) – and The Boy, The Girl is kidnapped by a mob of salacious cannibals. Finally, a clear objective is formed and the plot of this film can begin: Work together to save our damsel in distress.
EDGE OF EXTINCTION did not come across as intended for an audience’s approval but rather for the chance of a group of guys to take their slice of the post-apocalyptic-franchise-cake. A hodgepodge of tropes stitch-together to create a completely derived and stretched out film: The Road-inspired character names; gratuitous violence; tattered and muddy garb; and an extreme collapse of society where women revert to a form of currency for the bad guys and damsel in distress for the good guys while the men lose all self-control. While it is fine to have components of this in a film, these themes are literally the only thing that make it up. Except for some trinkets of growth at the end, there is barely any character development at all, making the audience not care for the protagonists much more than the antagonists. The acting is simultaneously both wooden and too intense and the cheesily somber-doomsday-soundtrack that saturates this film does not do the actors any favors. Flashbacks lace the film with insight to the world before, but any valuable information they intend to provide is lost on me. If anything, they are really just distractions from the already struggling plot.
As you can probably tell, I would not really recommend EDGE OF EXTINCTION. It’s not that it is a horrible experience – it’s not – it’s just that at 2 hours and 20 minutes, there is not much to show for it. But if you can get through the first forty minutes or so (that is, once a plot has been established) you might find something to hold onto. EDGE OF EXTINCTION will be released on Digital Download on May 18th.