Shot under the equally appropriate title The Brink, Andrew Gilbert’s (The Dead Inside) Edge of Extinction is a grim slice of post-apocalyptic filmmaking from the UK. Granted an end of the world scenario might not be the best thing to relax to right now. But then again, there’s no time like the present if you’re worried about there not being a future.
It’s fifteen years after World War III and the ensuing nuclear winter is over. The UK was spared much of the fighting and nuclear strikes. But it couldn’t escape their aftereffects. The Boy (Luke Hobson, Mary Queen of Scots) lives in an isolated corner of what was England. He avoids everyone and only comes out sporadically to scavenge for supplies. Not much of a life but it’s kept him alive.
That changes when he stumbles across The Girl (Georgie Smibert, Cleavers: Killer Clowns) and offers her shelter. Of course, that turns out to be a bad idea as she and The Man (Chris Kaye, Mummy Reborn, The Bad Nun) are planning to steal his stash of supplies. Things get worse with the intervention of a gang of cannibals led by The Chief (Bryn Hodgen) leaving The Boy and The Man no choice but to work together.
Filmed on weekends during 2017-18 Edge of Extinction shows an uncanny bit of foresight with its scenes of rushes on stores and shootings in supermarket parking lots. I’d hate to think it’s as accurate about how fast civilization will totally disintegrate but the past year gives me little reason to doubt it. Fifteen years till mankind is back to cannibalism seems optimistic actually.
Edge of Extinction, like Anthropocene, sees the world ending not with grand Road Warrior style battles or hordes of zombies. It’s individuals, small groups and gangs fighting the odds and each other for survival. And for a low-budget film, there is plenty of surprisingly well-staged fighting. It’s also frequently bloody with everything from throat-slitting to disembowellings.
Unfortunately, at just under two and a half hours long it also has a lot of talky scenes. Some, such as the flashbacks to the early stages of the collapse, work. Others, like the constant bickering between The Man and The Boy just get annoying and should have been trimmed.
The filmmakers made good use of deserted buildings in and around Bedfordshire. While it doesn’t quite look like it’s been through nuclear winter, much of the world of Edge of Extinction looks abandoned and run down. Which makes it feel odd that the final battle takes place in a country home that has somehow managed to survive seemingly unscathed.
That battle, which takes up the film’s last half-hour sees our three leads plus the house’s owners The Husband (Nicholas Chambers) and The Wife (Susan Lee Burton, Pandamonium, The Haunting of Molly Bannister) take on The Chief and his crew manages to pull out a couple of unexpected turns to end things on. Despite the excessive length, Edge of Extinction never really drags. If you have the time to devote to it, it’s worth a watch.