Eden Log Review
Written by: alien25
For a while there, it seemed to me that French filmmakers could do no wrong, especially when it came to creating excellent and original Thrillers and Horror movies. After all, they gave us Martyrs, High Tension, Frontiers, Inside, 13 Tzameti, and Tell No One in recent years. So imagine my surprise when the two most recent French films I have watched turned out to be such great disappointments. I might even go so far as to say that it is refreshing to know that the French too can make lackluster genre pieces just like us. I am referring to Dante 01, which I previously reviewed, and now Eden Log. After everything that I had seen, and having waited patiently for its release on DVD, I had very high expectations for Eden Log. And perhaps those expectations are in part to blame for the letdown that I felt after watching the movie. But none the less, it was even more disappointing than Dante 01.
A man awakens alone, naked and disoriented in a wet cave. Cold and unable to speak, he has no idea who he is or where he is. He stumbles about the cave and eventually comes upon a holographic image welcoming him and offering him the first clues as to his whereabouts. It becomes clear that he is deep underground and that he must somehow find his way to the surface. His journey to the surface takes him through a labyrinth of tunnels and caverns where he encounters strange mutant creatures, soldiers who seem intent on catching him, and of course the plant. With each succeeding level, the mystery of the plant and its relationship to man is exposed, and he slowly becomes cognizant of who he is and what his true purpose is.
Probably the best thing that I can say about the film is that visually, it is very cool looking. And from what I understand, the director Franck Vestiel managed to achieve this with a meager budget. It is almost monochromatic, with metallic gray seemingly being the single color throughout the entire movie. I had to check myself towards the end when I began to think that I was watching a black and white film. In fact there is really only one scene, midway through the movie, where color really comes into play. I had to recall this scene in order to snap my self out of my black and white haze. The entire film is very dark, almost annoyingly so. It is difficult to tell what is actually happening most of the time. The first five minutes of the film should have been a dead give away for what was in store. One can barely make out the action as the man drags himself out of a puddle and stumbles about the cave, the entire scene lit intermittently as the feeble light source strobes slowly on and off. The end result was just annoying and off putting. While it would be logical that an underground setting be dark, and that the dark here serves as a device to heighten tension and the sense of the unknown, it is over done and ends up becoming more of a distraction. The dark also could be seen as a means by which the film makers hid the shortcomings of the production.
The other positive comment that I can make for the film and its makers is that at least they tried to do something original and different. This is not your average cookie cutter science fiction horror movie. The story is original even if its theme is not. But unfortunately, that all gets lost in the delivery. I had to go to the IMDb message boards and read how other viewers interpreted the movie just to reconcile my own feelings about it. The acting is for the most part nondescript. There are few characters and very little dialogue. Our protagonist utters little more than a grunt until about the halfway point of the movie. And for how little time we actually get to spend with any of the other characters, including the mutants, their performances were uninspiring. And again, with props to the director for trying to do something original within the constraints he faced, the movie really seemed haphazard. There seemed to be little connection between the stops on the protagonist’s journey. One would think that with each succeeding level there would be some correlation to the previous level and perhaps an idea of what is in store on the next level. But to me, there seemed to be no relation between the experiences he faced on his journey. As much as I wanted to like the movie, especially given my enthusiasm to see the film going in, I just couldn’t get past all of its shortcomings. I would have to say cool plot, idea, and look, but unfortunately failed in its delivery.