11th Nov2022

‘Guns of Eden’ Review

by Jim Morazzini

Stars: Alexandra Faye Sadeghian, Peter Johnson, Dominic Luongo, Nicole Colon, Bill Kennedy, Kim Piazza, Lynn Lowry, Tim O’Hearn | Written and Directed by Gregory Lamberson

Guns of Eden opens with Buffalo cops Megan (Alexandra Faye Sadeghian) and her partner Jeremy (Peter Johnson) running down a purse snatcher. However, when they find themselves in the middle of a convenience store robbery things don’t go as well and Megan shoots a fellow officer.

She resigns and takes up residence at the local bar until Jeremy finds her and suggests she join him and a couple of friends, friends Blake (Dominic Luongo) and Gabriella (Nicole Colon), on a camping trip. She’s initially reluctant but, since it would be a short movie otherwise, ends up going. But as they head out to the woods, something else is about to go down.

Sheriff Preacher (Bill Kennedy) is leading his men in prayer before they raid a drug lab run by “bad hombres doing the Devil’s work”. But this isn’t as much of a raid as it is an execution as the cops kill them all. Megan and Jeremy arrive just in time to see them make the last of the criminals dig his own grave before they shoot him.

Writer/director Gregory Lamberson (Slime City, Widow’s Point) takes a staple plot from grindhouse films like Shallow Grave to Warrant’s song “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” and gives it a couple of twists. Firstly by making some of the witnesses cops as well. And secondly by setting it above the Mason-Dixon line. Although honestly, I think I saw as many Confederate flags when I lived outside of Buffalo as I did when I lived in South Carolina, so maybe that isn’t much of a twist after all.

From there he ups the odds by having Preacher put a ten thousand dollar bounty on each of them and calling in a bunch of bounty hunters and militia types to make sure there aren’t any witnesses. Or at least no living ones. From then on Guns of Eden becomes a deadly game of cat and mouse punctuated by frequent bursts of violence.

Mixed into that is a subplot involving a Lauren Boebert type politician, Olivia Dahlly (Kim Piazza; Johnny Gruesome) with a gunslinging TV ad that looks all too believable and a cameo by Lynn Lowry (Sugar Cookies, The Crazies) as a gun-toting local woman.

Another familiar face is Tim O’Hearn (Morbid Stories, Evil Under the Skin), who plays the psychotic bounty hunter Caleb. He and Sadeghian have a brawl that is easily the highlight of the film. Granted it’s the result of him making the usual stupid decision not to just shoot her, but it’s one we should expect from action films.

Guns of Eden delivers plenty of action and plenty of hardware, Lamberson even managed to stretch the budget far enough to get some scenes with a chopper giving Preacher and his boys air support. He also gives us an amusing mix of bad guys ranging from laughable to lethal. The groups range from a rather inbred family to some lethal lesbians, it’s like the way the various gangs in The Warriors were a common enemy but still had their own distinct identity.

On the downside, the pacing is a bit wonky and the kills could have been spread out a bit more through the last half of the film rather than in a massive cluster near the end. Also, I wasn’t crazy about the ending itself. It’s an obvious setup for a sequel, but that could have been done in a way that felt less anti-climactic. But in the balance Guns of Eden gets a lot more right than it does wrong and should keep low-budget action fans happy.

*** 3/5

Uncork’d Entertainment will release Guns of Eden on DVD and Digital platforms on December 6th.

Review originally posted on Voices From the Balcony

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