Director: James Watkins.
Cast: Kelly Reilly, Michael Fassbender and Jack O’Connell.
The Plot: Steve (Fassbender) takes his girlfriend, Jenny (Reilly) away to Eden Lake for the weekend, where he of course intends to ask the dear girl for her hand in marriage. To bad for them they get attacked, stalked, terrorized and tortured by a gang of teenagers.
My Thoughts: Well hello there Revenge Of The Film Nerds fans! My name is Smilin Scott, otherwise known as grumpy filmmaker, Scott Francis Sowter. I am here, now, on Revenge Of The Film Nerds to bring you some of the most twisted, dark, in depth looks into the eyes of the twisted beast that is, the horror film. Welcome to the shadowlands of the human soul… Or something like that. I will be bringing you the sickest, most foul, twisted films I can get my hands on. From the classics, to the most unknown horror. I am here to educate, recommend, and warn of the dark genre. So, without further a due lets talk about EDEN LAKE!
I recently saw the horror film The Woman In Black (2012, Starring Daniel Radcliffe) which I thoroughly enjoyed. It was my kind of horror film, built suspense like a champ. Anyway, I jumped onto the old Wikipedia to see who directed the film, as I often do. Turns out to be a chap named James Watkins, so I looked to see what else this man has done, which led me straight to Eden Lake. Eden Lake would, for me, firmly sit in a little category of horror film I like to call, extreme. Some would use the term ‘torture-porn’, I don’t think it is an apt description. I feel horror films of this vein do have some artistic merit, as all films do (well maybe not porn…).
Eden Lake for example, is a dark and chilling look into the bottom rung of society, below the working class. I am talking about the housing commission effect, mass societal depression that seems to occur in communities where everyone is out of work and drinking alcohol and beating your children are the only past times available.
What Eden Lake presents us with is youth culture run a muck. A group of adolescents who have absolutely no guidance from responsible parenting, no boundaries, and worst of all, no guilt or sense of right or wrong. What these children do to this couple is beyond terrifying. This film utterly creeped me the f*$k out. I think it comes from my fear of gangs, I think gangs of white kids is by far the most frightening thing to come out of suburbia. These kids led by Brett, in an amazing performance by Jack O’Connell (Skins), do some of the most horrific things I have seen in recent horror films, from filming sadistic torture, to setting people and animals on fire. You will not meet worse killers than this gang of 15-17 year olds.
Kelly Reilly, as Jenny (Sherlock Holmes) is brilliant as the strong female lead and thanks to James Watkins’s writing doesn’t do any of the dumb-ass cliché horror things. Michael Fassbender’s Steve is great, although (spoiler alert) spends most of the movie slowly bleeding out, that said, he does it very well, you can see the vulnerability, as he relies upon Jenny to survive and feels responsible for their situation.
The big performance comes from Jack O’Connell, who I remember being great in season 3 of Skins. O’Connell is only about 17 at the time this film was shot and by God does he play this villain well. This prick of a teenager, who is leading his pack to just destroy this lovely couple, it made me hate him so very much! So props to him in his performance.
James Watkins’s direction is extremely subtle, and perfect for the film. He knows how far to go with the violence, and when to let the audiences imagination do the work. The film moves at a great pace, and the tension is built extremely well. He quite often uses beautiful crane shots of the British wilderness, and they just fill you with a sense of dread and isolation.
Carnage: This film pushes the line, while it may not be as over the top and blood soaked as say, Saw or Hostel, what it does show you is messy enough, but it mainly works on how realistic the violence is. So those with a weak stomach, be warned!
Final Call: Eden Lake is a great horror film and I recommend it for any fans of the genre. Beyond that if you are willing to let yourself experience this nightmare I do recommend it to the other film buffs out there, just be aware, this is a hard one to watch.