A man wakes up naked, deep in a dark cave. He’s cold, in mud, and has no idea what brought him here, nor what happened to the dead man next to him. Around him, darkness and ruins of an ancient underground world, haunted by phantoms of an obsolete technology and by terrible, wild creatures chasing him. To find out who he is, Tolbiac (Clovis Cornillac) will have to get to the surface, through this strange network of galleries, abandoned by a mysterious organization called “Eden Log”.
Our latest release from Magnolia films is part scifi part horror but don’t let that fool ya. Eden log is a French thriller directed by Franck Vestiel is a long drawn out journey. I mean that literally as the whole film is spent climbing from the underground sectors to the world above. Set in a post apocalyptic future, mankind has discovered a new energy source through a tree in which they are able to siphon energy to fuel the world. The denizens below are technicians who are promised paradise when they have completed their work and can return above. As our main character who goes by the name of Tolbiac (Clovis Cornillac) awakens in a confused state mud soaked as he makes his journey to discovery. Along the way he is given clues on what has gone wrong by broken machinery, lost transmissions and the reveal of more industrial mayhem. The journey isn’t without its problems.
It seems that its infested with “Doom-like” creatures that appear now and then with violent intentions. He also meets a few acquaintances along the way who give him shards of information. Though it appears that whatever once was has gone way to chaos. The origin, this strange plant that they have sucked energy from . Apparently the plant has set up a defense system which is turning folks into subterranean creatures. Now that all sounds kind of exciting, but really this is a pretty droll film. You would think that after the extended intro with flashes of light and dark that it would break into some action and excitement. The excitement really never comes with t he exception of a few creep fights. The most testing element is the modern color scheme the films makers chose to use in this film. Mostly gray scaled with blue and green colorization, it is a bit too much to really see past. Even sci-fi films who use this color scheme give us a break in contrast and slight color variations. The problem here is that the contrast is too contrasted, so on top of a confused plot, you also are somewhat blinded to everything to be seen.
Along the way, Tolbiac comes across message driven holograms boasting of this great upper mantle paradise being created. Though signs are suggesting otherwise. The environment is believable in its factory seeded look, though I wouldn’t call it high budget. In fact, much of the scenery is cave embellished, decored by loose bits and parts and low lighted factory scenes. In addition, we have signs of the plants roots which have found there way into virtually everything everything. It’s just one dominant plant! Also the term “Eden Log” refers to the corporation that started this whole thing. We see emblems posted everywhere with a pseudo big brother presence.
I know its been written that it gives it cutting edge …ultra modern texturing with stunning scifi visions, but I’m just not buying it. The fact is, its a boring film and will most likely turn alot of folks off who aren’t ready for this type of presentation. With the blue toning, droning score, and slow moving drama-struggle in a coming-to-terms-with-the-reality sort of way, EL taxes ones ability to stay awake though it all.
Whether the film makers were going for some kind of graphic novel look is a mystery to me. The creatures were pretty cool when you finally see them, but this is no badass alien film. The creatures are transformed humans who on the most part are pretty easily overcome. They are not the threat, they are the result. The ending of this film after all of this is still pretty vague. We do reach the surface but it goes out with a fizzle rather than a quake. I would only recommend this type of film to serious sci-fi enthusiasts who like long drawn out piece-meal plots. For horror fans, I’m gonna say stick with Pitch Black, Aliens or Species….. Eden Log is pretty weak on the horror scale and therefore will be a letdown. One of the Magnolia six shooter films, so far this is the weakest I’ve seen of the bunch.