Edges Of Darkness (2009)

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Overall Rating 33%
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Alonzo F. Jones
Alonzo F. Jones
Shamika Ann Franklin
Shamika Ann Franklin
Annemarie Pazmino
Annemarie Pazmino
Lee Perkins
Lee Perkins
Michelle Rose
Michelle Rose
Review by Chad
Added: October 03, 2008
For many, many years of my life, I was obsessed with zombie flicks. Whenever a new one came out, I didn't need anything as trivial as respectable names, big budgets, or intriguing storylines: as soon as I saw the word "zombie" in the plot synopsis, I was sold. This worked out great up until the Dawn of the Dead remake came along as even though there were a few turds here and there, the majority of the films that I watched were pretty damned good thanks to them having been made by filmmakers who actually respected the genre. Then, that blasted remake came out and inspired a horde of imitators, the success of that remake allowed other high-profile zombie films to get made, said high-profile releases inspired even more imitators, and the genre just hasn't been the same ever since. So, when I received Edges of Darkness in the mail, I looked at it like I do all zombie films these days: with cautious optimism, but always expecting the worst. Thankfully, I was wrong - this film was not only a great zombie film, but a great horror film in general.

Coming to us as an anthology horror piece, Edges of Darkness introduces us to three groups of survivors holed up in an apartment complex during a zombie outbreak. These three stories aren't connected to one another in any way, but we do watch all three of the stories simultaneously throughout the running time; we'll watch story number one for a while, we come to a turning point in the story before switching to the other segment, and so on. Each of the stories are unique, and although I think that it's best for viewers to go into them completely blind, I'm going to go ahead and give away the general plot to each. I won't give away any more than the filmmakers did in the official synopsis, but personally, I think that even that gave away a little too much. However, I do want to show that these stories aren't your typical zombie fluff pieces and that they don't all revolve around survivors holing up and awaiting their inevitable doom, so here we go - read the next three paragraphs at your own risk.

Story number one revolves around Stellie (Shamika Ann Franklin) and Stan (Alonzo F. Jones), a loving couple who plan to board up their doors and ride out this zombie epidemic in the comfort of their own home. There's just one catch though: these two are vampires, and with the zombies eating up their food supply, things are getting sort of problematic for our bloodsucking friends. Their solution? Kidnap a fellow survivor (Annemarie Pazmino) and slowly bleed her dry until they can come up with a better idea. However, this plan doesn't exactly work out as expected once they find out that this particular survivor isn't your typical little lady with no will to survive...

The second story involves a horror novelist by the name of Dean (Jay Costelo), a fellow who spends every waking moment in front of the computer pounding away at a novel that nobody will ever read since, you know, 95% of the planet's population is now dead. His wife Dana (Alisha Gaddis) isn't too happy about this as it's extremely foolish given their current circumstances, but more importantly, she's simply getting lonely. When Dean receives a new processor for his computer that allows him to continue his writing even without electricity, he learns that not all alternative fuel sources are worth considering.

Moving onwards to the third story, we find a badass zombie slayer by the name of Heather (Michelle Rose) who one day stumbles upon Shamika (Kelly Murray), her husband, and their son being attacked by the living dead. While the man of the house doesn't quite make it, Heather is able to rescue the mother and the son, and she brings them back to safety of the apartment complex. What she soon discovers is that the zombies may not be the most dangerous thing in this neck of the woods, as there are a handful of priests who are determined to find and kill that kid for reasons which will be made clear later on (and no, there's no pedophilia involved).

Observant readers may have noticed that the zombies don't play a huge part in any of these stories, and that is true to a certain extent. The undead create the setup for each of the stories and they do factor in from time to time, but the real emphasis of the film is on how these unique groups of people are handling their last days on earth. For example, the vampire story: the zombies are draining the food supply of our heroes and the man of the house does have to whoop some zombie ass here and there, but the real story is what's going on inside the apartment once they find themselves a feeder. I love the traditional zombie storylines as much as the next guy, but it's refreshing to see some originality injected into the genre even if said originality results in a film that is only part zombie flick.

Now, this is not to say that the zombies take a backseat to everything else throughout the entire film. There are a handful of zombie attacks, with one in particular coming across as much more professional that it probably should have. Gorehounds will be pleased to find that we've got blood, gore, and plenty of entrails being thrown about, a respectable body count, and some damned fine zombie makeup. This isn't the "slap on some green face paint and throw around some ketchup" routine that a sizable chunk of indie zombie releases are known for, and although I don't think that Tom Savini or Greg Nicotero have to worry about losing their positions in the effects world, I do believe that they would give the work found here a solid thumbs up.

As for the stories themselves, I thought that they all worked out nicely for the most part. I wasn't a huge fan of the ending found in the vampire story as things weren't explained properly, but everything leading up to said ending was great and kept me interested. In fact, save for the lack of an explanation, this one was my favorite of the bunch; I just wish that the filmmakers had came up with some plausible explanation for the revelations that were made.

The story centering around the horror novelist was a fun, campy little tale of the supernatural that wouldn't have felt out of place as a Tales from the Crypt episode, and really, I can't say anything negative about that one. It's the most lighthearted of the bunch, but that's certainly not a bad thing.

The final story works the same way as the vampire one did (the open-ended ending), but it actually works out better here. You see, it comes down to one of two things turning out to be true: either this is the truth or that is the truth, but we never find out which is which. It would have taken a feature length film to expand upon either of these "revelations", and honestly, having either one of them spelled out for us probably wouldn't have worked as well as your our imagination does. Plus, this is the story with the most zombie action, so it definitely gets points for that as well.

Overall, Edges of Darkness is a film that blends together two of my favorite genres - the horror anthology and the zombie flick - and produces a damned entertaining horror movie. Each of the stories are interesting and unique, the effects are top-notch, and the acting levels never fall below "average" (an impressive feat given the number of people running around). I also enjoyed how the stories were all told at the same time and thought that the editing used to accomplish this was perfect; cutting away at key moments keeps us longing to get back to this story, but then, we find out more about another story and get more involved with that one. Really, the only fault I could find with the film was the lack of an explanation in the vampire story, but even that wasn't a huge issue in the grand scheme of things, so I think that a 9.5/10 is in order.
Crispy #1: Crispy - added 11/24/2009, 05:46 AM
I didn't like the computer story at all, but the other ones were entertaining enough. Honestly, I wouldn't have minded seeing that one scrapped in favor of fleshing out the other two. Also, I agree that the interweaving approach was so much better than using the traditional anthology method.
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