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Movie Review: “Over the Edge”

By M.L. Zambrana

The low-budget film “Over the Edge” had everything against it for
success. There were no big names attached to the project, either in the cast
or crew. It didn’t shoot in an exotic location. It had a minuscule budget. It
used a minimum of special effects. But it did have the most essential
element in filmmaking-- a story.

The plot was inspired by actual events that occurred in northern

California. In the fictional world of New Granada, a pre-planned
community located in the middle of nowhere, seems like an ideal place to
raise a family and establish a high standard of living. The parents, in their
pursuit of the American dream, ignore the fact that their children are bored
to the point of violence, vandalism, drug use and theft. When the children’s
one outlet, a youth rec center, is closed down, their anger reaches a boiling
point. After the town police officer, Ed Doberman, shoots and kills a tough-
talking teen named Richie for waving an empty gun at him, the kids decide
that the adults have crossed the line.

They chain their parents, teachers and local law officials inside the
school auditorium during a local meeting, then proceed to wreck havoc on
the peaceful landscape. They trash their parents’ cars in the parking lot,
breaking in and stealing things before they set fire to the vehicles. Other
students wander throughout the school, breaking windows, destroying and
stealing property, and tormenting their captives via the PA system. Outside
law enforcement is eventually called in, and the troublemakers are rounded
up and sent off to reform school. On the bright side, the kids finally get their
wish: they get to leave New Granada.

“Over the Edge” was only the fourth film for director Jonathan
Kaplan, who later directed films like 1997’s “Project X” with Matthew
Broderick, “Heart Like a Wheel” with Bonnie Bedelia. His most recent
effort was in the 1999 motion picture, “Brokedown Palace,” with Claire
Among the cast of unknowns were its two young leading actors,
Michael Kramer and Pamela Ludwig; Kramer only acted in one other film,
and Ludwig made appearances four films, the last of which was “Dead Man
Walking” in 1988. Although their careers never really took off, a then-
unknown actor named Matt Dillon made his debut in the film and went on to
star in 29 films including “My Bodyguard” (1980), “The Outsiders” (1983),
“Albino Alligator” (1996) directed by Kevin Spacey, and the popular hit,
“There’s Something About Mary (1998)

“Over the Edge” is one movie that should not be missed by either the
general public or up-and-coming filmmakers. Like the recent low-budget
blockbuster, “The Blair Witch Project,” “Over the Edge” teaches that to
make a successful film, the story must come first.

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