The allure of the post-apocalyptic world is one that cinema revisits frequently and Andrew Gilbert’s Edge of Extinction dives into this valiantly.
But despite its best efforts it falls short with a number of mis-steps.
This is a Britain but not quite as we know it, undoubtedly and you would believe is post-Brexit, set 15 years after World War III triggered by a nuclear attack on Turkey.
We see some signs of promise or perhaps at least what could be as the film opens to a lone man simply credited as “The Boy” (Luke Hobson) out in the middle of nowhere against a distinctive score that perfectly sets a tone of despair.
Director and writer, Andrew Gilbert, borrows from what has come before and is very reminiscent of 28 Days Later and captures a smidgen of the feeling at the beginning but this is where comparisons stop.
As the plot progresses it becomes problematic where we see the introduction of “The Girl” (Georgie Smibert) and “The Man” (Chris Kaye).
How these characters meet and progress is at odds of what we are made to believe about Hobson’s character and his mentality. There is no real moment where we see an inner change and the leap makes it feel like a flippant transition.
It is a missed opportunity to really build something in a film with a runtime of two hours and twenty minutes which is nothing short of frustrating.
It already feels very longwinded which is not helped by lacklustre performances. Perhaps the exception being Hobson’s “The Boy” where we witness flashbacks from his childhood including a supermarket looting scene which is particularly relevant nowadays.
You want to feel that urge to will these characters on and survive but it just isn’t there.
With any dystopia there are, of course, antagonists, in this case cannibals, who you are hoping will inject some great menacing characters.
They are Mad Max War Boys-esque in parts of their aesthetic and it initially is very intriguing especially when first introduced to these savages who brutally murder a lone wonderer.
It is the not knowing who they are or much about them that gives it an air of mystery and with it fear.
But sadly this is not the case in the long-run as we begin to see more of the members of this group they become far from villainous and don’t carry that real air of that aforementioned fear. It feels they are treading the fine-line of becoming panto-esque.
There is no further exploration or development of how the world became what it is and expanding on this, even in a small way, and that WWIII has been and gone would have served the film well.
Edge of Extinction will be released on Digital Download from May 18 here and on DVD later in the year here, both can be pre-ordered now