Like a bad dream turned worst nightmare, Eden Lake is a "relentlessly tense and immaculately paced" (Twitch Film) horror-thriller about modern youth gone wild. When a young couple goes to a remote wooded lake for a romantic getaway, their quiet weekend is shattered by an aggressive group of local kids. Rowdiness quickly turns to rage as the teens terrorize the couple in unimaginable ways, and a weekend outing becomes a bloody battle for survival. Eden Lake is "fierce, thought-provoking ... and genuinely shocking" (Time Out London).
British director James Watkinss directorial debut is an overtly moralistic thriller centering around a couple who are trapped and taunted lakeside by a gang of teenage bullies, led by a boy named Brett (Jack OConnell). Warning signs to stay out of this camping area abound, in the spirit of myriad camping-trip-gone-awry tales, like the classic Friday the 13th
. The challenge, here, is to subvert those warning signs in order to harness some minor sympathy for the alleged victims to be. However, Steve (Michael Fassbender) and Jenny (Kelly Reilly) are too wrapped up in puppy love to turn around, even when their GPS signal advises them to do so. As a gang of wayward kids pick fights with Steve and Kelly, the couple attempts escape... at first. But Steves desire for revenge impels him to search for the delinquents parents, which becomes the couples downfall. A good portion of Eden Lake
is devoted to the chase, during which Steve and Kelly look increasingly swampy under caked on layers of blood and mud. These scenes are well done, fast-paced, and here, enacting fear, Kelly Reilly is at her best. But as the film progresses, one sees so many connections between the teens violence and the abhorrent behavior of their parents, that Eden Lake
leaves no character interpretation up to the viewer. Yes, bad parents usually make bad teens. But a deeper investigation into Bretts inner mind, or his ability to follow through with torture and the sadistic control he exhibits over his gang, would result in less obvious, and possibly more interesting explanations for criminal action. Though many Dimension Extreme films are cutting edge in the horror genre (see Inside
), Eden Lake
is not one of them. --Trinie Dalton