Wednesday, 1 June 2016

Eden Lake - film review

Eden Lake, a film released in 2008, is often described as a thriller, but I'd say that it's closer in mood to a horror movie. There are several very frightening scenes, and a good deal of graphic violence. It's definitely not for the faint-hearted. In the early stages, it resembled In Fear, but it soon takes off in a different, and more explicit direction. Overall, it's a powerful and unsettling.

Steve (Michael Fassbender) takes his girlfriend (Kelly Reilly) on a trip to a quarry lake that is shortly to be redeveloped for a gated development of upmarket housing. A last chance to see a lovely place before it is spoiled. But things start to go wrong very quickly, as Steve antagonises some rather unpleasant locals, whose behaviour, to say the least, makes the option of gentrification seem unexpectedly attractive. (And this is a film that raises some interesting issues about social class that have provoked a diverse range of interpretations.)

A gang of feral teenagers start to terrorise the couple; these are hoodies you definitely wouldn't wish to hug, with a female member of the gang recording her chums' violence on her phone, in a way that, frighteningly, has happened in a number of real life cases. Fassbender is good, but Kelly Reilly, an actor previously unknown to me, is truly excellent. But will she manage to escape the kids hunting her down?

A good article by Alex Hess in the Guardian highlights the horrific aspects of the story. I'm inhibited from saying much more because I don't want to include a spoiler, but suffice to say this is a very dark film indeed. James Watkins wrote and directed, and the screenplay certainly packs a punch Not for the squeamish, that's for sure..


John said...

I've seen another film with the same idea but done I think more effectively. It's shot in such a way that you think the two adults are being hunted by some supernatural beings or perhaps aliens. Then at the most unexpected moment it's revealed that they are children. Quite a shocker when that happens and then the film kicks into true high gore gear. The movie is called THEM. At the end of the film there is a message superimposed on the screen saying the entire film was based on newspaper accounts of a gang of Romanian teens who terrorized and attempted to murder for pure amusement the people who lived in a remote vacation home in the forest. Learning that made the movie extremely disturbing rather than just creepy. THEM is the kind of movie I can only watch once. Any time I encounter anything sounding similar I always pass on it. As much as I like Michael Fassbender's acting there is no way I'll watch this.

Martin Edwards said...

Thanks, John. I've heard of Them but never seen it. Must seek it out.