The Eden Theory gets off to an interesting start as Tom (Jesse Charles, Class of ‘85, Another Brick in the Wall) breaks into a school, makes himself a spear, and barricades the nearest outside doors. Unfortunately, after that it promptly becomes excruciating boring as we spend over twenty minutes watching him wandering around, scavenging food from the cafeteria, taking a shower, talking into a fan, etc. Occasionally he hears a strange noise and flips out, but all that we see is a stray dog.
Director Kyle Misak (Class of ‘85) co-wrote The Eden Theory with Jesse Charles and they seem to have had an interesting idea for the opening. The school is in good shape, not long deserted and judging by things left around, abandoned suddenly. It has a creepy, end-of-the-world feel to it that fits in well with the poster, and that poster is probably the reason why someone would be watching The Eden Theory.
But rather than get to the mystery of why the script just drags on like this. Films, like I am Legend and The Omega Man, had a hard enough time making long stretches like this interesting even with Will Smith or Charlton Heston as their star. Here it’s mind-numbing. Even more so because it all amounts to nothing because, after nearly half an hour a detective (Trevor Snarr, Napoleon Dynamite, Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No!) shows up to take him home because his mother is worried about him. It was all in his mind
I wouldn’t blame anyone for bailing at this point, especially as there’s still nearly an hour and twenty minutes of The Eden Theory left. If I wasn’t reviewing it I certainly would have after that waste of my time. Instead, I endured and found out that Tom has been having a rough time of it since his best friend Mack (Jasper Johnson, Dukeland, Shanty Town) disappeared. He’s a suspect and his girlfriend Jamie (Brit MacRae, Neon Lights) is beginning to think he’s losing his mind.
Unfortunately, The Eden Theory just plods along with an occasional flashback or Tom thinking strangers are staring at him. I don’t mind a slow burn but this is more like smouldering embers, there isn’t anything burning. Or interesting for that matter. Everything is played so seriously as if the filmmakers really believed they had a unique concept and were creating great art.
But no matter how deep and sinister The Eden Theory wants you to believe the situation is, it’s painfully obvious from early in the film just what happened. And from there it’s easy to guess why it happened. And that’s even without the flashbacks to before Mack disappeared. And despite the film’s artwork, giant UFOs have nothing to do with it.
Granted the filmmakers aren’t to blame for the poster, but they are to blame for the script and its length. There was no need for The Eden Theory to run close to two hours. The first half-hour is a colossal waste of time and could easily have been cut to ten minutes, fifteen at most. And that’s if it was kept at all, because apart from being dull it helps give away the film’s not-so-shocking reveal.
Both Misak and Charles have a large number of short films to their credit, and The Eden Theory feels like a short expanded well beyond its breaking point, or perhaps two scripts Frankensteined together. Either way, it’s an abysmal failure that really should be avoided at all costs.
Indican Pictures has released The Eden Theory on DVD, VOD, and Digital platforms. You can check their website or the film’s Facebook page for more information. And if you’re looking for something similar but better, FilmTagger has some suggestions.