Eden Log & Dance of the Dead

Eden Log
Eden Log

So I’ve got two interesting movies that you all might be interested in.  I’ll start with the first, and likely the more contentious, of the movies.  Eden Log seems to be french film director Franck Vestiel’s feature film debut and was released on DVD in the States under Magnolia/Magnet’s 6-Shooter Film Series.  It isn’t the easiest film to describe but I’ll give you the official description:

A man regains consciousness at the bottom of a cave, with no concept of how he arrived there, nor any idea who the dead man is at his side. Only one thing is certain – he has to escape the menacing creature that s pursuing him. His journey back to the surface takes him through a cemetery – like world that’s been abandoned by a mysterious organization called Eden Log.

Though that doesn’t quite cover everything this film does. Eden Log isn’t a movie that will win awards for  dialogue or even clever plotting but what it does do is create an absolute splendid atmosphere and mood.  With its black and white filming and heavy juxtaposition of light and dark the movie does a wonderful job of making you feel like you are underground.  I think it is the film’s ability to place the viewer in the same environment and mindset of the protagonist is what had me thinking that Eden Log would have made a fantastic video game.  It has a very overt sci-fi survival horror feel and the main “evil” security team, from costume to slightly garbled radio communications, were very reminiscent of Half-Life 2’s combine.  Eden Log’s set design is both simplistic and surprisingly well done and never once jars you out of the experience.  What the description fails to mention is that the underground system in the movie is part of the root system of some mysterious giant tree that is being farmed/tended for something.  The combination of stark stone corridors, industrial architecture, and gnarled roots lends the film a rather unique and captivating appearance.  Eden Log is hardly a pleasant film and the questionable mental state of the main character leads to at least one moment of fairly uncomfortable brutality that while certainly off-putting serves as a real turning point for the film and certain realizations about our protagonist.  Eden Log isn’t a perfect film and has a rather sedate pace but for fans of horror and sci-fi well worth a look.

Dance of the Dead
Dance of the Dead

Now, a film I can recommend whole heartedly, Dance of the Dead.  While I remember positive buzz from the guys over at AICN I was quite prepared for how fun this movie was.  Genuinely funny dialogue, age-appropriate casting, quality zombie effects, and an odd blending of genres manage to help this film stand out from the pack and really shine as something special.  If you’ve seen any high school based movie or show certain elements will be familiar: the geek going for the hot cheerleader, the lovable smartass, the hard-ass slightly crazy gym teacher, the delinquent badass mythic student, the stressed and alcohol swilling principal, and the jerky science teacher.  As familiar as those elements may be there is still something fresh feeling about the whole experience and a sensation, without any overt evidence, that the filmmakers are looking at us through the characters and offering us a conspiratorial wink.  There is even a frog dissection scene early in the film, you don’t get more stereotypical High School the frog dissection, but my first thought on seeing that wasn’t ::groan::, it was “Oh, zombie frogs!?”  All I can say is: hell yes!

While I wasn’t a fan of the film’s stereotypical emo-rockers I was amused by zombies being quelled by the power of rock and the zombie filled dance scene (no the zombies don’t dance), to a surprisingly well-done cover of “Shadows of the Night,” was one of the movies (many) great character moments.  Both the rock element here, and certain scene later in the movie was extraordinarily reminiscent of zombie/rock masterpiece Wild Zero which I hope was intentional since I frickin’ love Wild Zero.  Dance of the Dead retains an ineffable ability to borrow from other zombie-movie and yet maintain its originality.  It is the single most entertaining zombie movie I’ve seen since Shaun of the Dead and deserves far more recognition then it has currently received.  If you are a fan of zombie films and haven’t seen Dance of the Dead stop whatever you’re doing and go rent (or better yet) buy this film now.

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