Hugh Howey
Hugh Howey

Bestselling author of Wool and other books. Currently sailing around the world.

Movie Review: Eden Log

Allow me to begin with a warning: EDEN LOG is a dark film. And by “dark,” I mean dim. And by “dim,” I don’t mean unintelligent. I mean, you better not be watching this film on an old-school LCD or with any ambient light in the room. The best way to view this flick is by unbolting your plasma from the wall and crawling under a blanket with it. But wait! Is there anything in this film worth seeing? What in the world is this French film even about?

It’s a tough question, because EDEN LOG defies categorization. Director Franck Vestiel didn’t create a horror film, because there’s nothing scary about it. The creatures that inhabit the film’s dismal underworld are always kept at bay. Often, this is done with the clever use of saran wrap, a foil on violence not matched since M. Night Shamalamalahayha introduced space-faring aliens that were flummoxed by doorknobs. Other times, the creatures are just annoying, screeching backdrop. They run past our protagonist harmlessly. Or Eden Log Guards traverse a gangway on a different level–more far-off non-threats.

The film isn’t Science Fiction, either. For one thing, there isn’t any science. Nothing is explained except for an 8-bit representation of immigrants being fed into a tree, which in turn produces sap, which in turn powers the big, evil city that is raping the lands, killing the trees, and subverting immigrant culture. I’m starting to think we need a new genre for these films about science fucking everything up. With the Green Revolution in full swing, it’s going to be the rare film that allows science to be cool. Is “Science Fucktion” taken?

One of the staples of a good Science Fucktion film is the glaring omission of anything that might pass for science. EDEN LOG nails this requirement in spades. Instead of computer monitors, let’s give everyone projectors with a ten-foot throw, but not give them screens. Or lets have the projector shine the images right on their face. Hey, it will seem artsy, even if it makes no sense. And while we’re putting a light on a guard’s chest to illuminate the room ahead, let’s add one to the shoulder that shines a light in the wearer’s face. Forget reason, it’ll create cool shadows on our hero’s noggin. Another Science Fucktion staple: the notion that form over function will benefit the world.

If you’re wondering why I’ve gone on this long without explaining the plot of EDEN LOG, it’s to give you a taste for what the director put me through. This Jeremiad consists of a ten-minute explanation that you’ll be force-fed after 90 minutes of a dude (Clovis Cornillac) walking around doing one of three things: (1) Saying he doesn’t know what’s going on (2) Screaming like a werewolf (3) Raping a girl in an elevator. Everything else is our main character staggering around in the dark or watching the girl from (3) perform a trapeze act while she talks with a male voice.

The shame of this film is that the idea was wasted on the wrong medium. EDEN LOG should have been a video game. You walk around in the dark, listen to the log files of dead scientists as you piece together a crap plot, and then walk around in the dark some more. At the end of the game, you’ll get a 5-minute cut-scene explaining what the hell you’ve been doing for the last eight hours of game play. The reason this would work is because you’d have something to do while you were walking around in the dark… you’d be shooting the shit out of scary monsters and guards. Egads! That’s Doom 3, FEAR, FEAR 2, Roddick: Butcher’s Bay and Area 51.

So, stay away from this one until the game adaptation comes out. What small merit the film had died quietly in the last scene. As a solitary tear rolls down our silly protagonist’s face, the lights in the evil city wink out. We’re supposed to be sad for Mother Earth and the harm we cause. Science Fucktion, people. I’m sorry, but even if this film made sense, was properly lit, and had half of a scary scene in it, I would still consider it garbage. The environmental fanaticism we get, instead of a decent plot, ruins everything.

Message from the sun, people: Says here that it has 5 billion years of free energy that it’ll send our way. This includes oil–the leftover plant and animal matter built via photosynthesis. The message from the sun suggests that we will not run out of energy for 5 billion years. After that, it says it’s going to swell up and rid Earth of all life. Period.

Wow. Sounds sinister. Someone should make a low-budget horror film around this premise, it’ll be the bomb. Oh. Nevermind.