Eden Lake is a film any horror fan has seen before. A wooded area provides the setting, the couple “getting away for the weekend” is the setup, and the less than friendly locals who take things entirely too far with the out-of-towners; you’ve seen it. This is the kind of film that proves being effective doesn’t always require reinventing the wheel that is cinema. If you provide convincing thrills and a horror helping of hopelessness that the cast believes in then what you have is the groundwork for a great horror story. Michael Fassbender and Kelly Reilly star as the unwitting couple who have traveled into a hell perpetuated by teenagers with serious anger issues.
As with any film in any genre there is usually an escalation of some kind. As the couple tries to enjoy their retreat at rural Eden Lake the local youths see outsiders in serious need of being terrorized. What starts out as crude teen behavior quickly grows into grand theft auto, assault, torture, kidnapping, and eventually multiple homicides. As with most groups of friends a leader emerges among them who orchestrates the entire encounter of the locals vs. the out-of-towners. What transpires is a trial by fire of finding out what lengths a person will go to in order to survive. It’s a test of the human spirit and the brutality living within us all. All it takes is a little push.
Like most horror films, Eden Lake provides many moments of hope only to rip them from us like an immigrant child from their mother. The idea of running for help eventually turns into a decision of becoming a victim or bringing the fight to the miscreants themselves.
A nice touch that is maintained throughout the film is that no matter how immoral these teens may act, at the end of the day they are still kids. When our female protagonist is on her own and decides to fight back she faces a problem of morality when she strikes against them. Despite being given no choice but to defend herself, the actions she takes weigh heavily on her as the finality of it all hits her like a truck. They left her no option but she nevertheless takes the life of a young man bullied into this situation by his so-called older friend. It’s tragic no matter how you look at it.
At its most heightened state, the final confrontation happens and it’s at this point that any semblance of humanity has left permanently. It is nothing but brutal tragedy in every regard. The death of innocence in every way, the inhumane treatment of one another is constant in this tale and by the end it feels like a nightmare never to be woken up from.
A catastrophe within all the horror is the idea that it was all inescapable from the very beginning. As we progress through this marathon of terror we begin to see the bigger picture that this abhorrent behavior spilling out from these teens is something they inherited. In a prime example of nature and nurture we eventually meet the parents of these stand-up youths and we see the elders imbuing their shameless tendencies onto their progeny. Now this doesn’t necessarily mean that this particular couple was destined to this fate but someone at some point was going to face the aimlessness of these teens who have been shown repeatedly that malevolence is the way of the world.
Like a pressurized canister, a small puncture is enough to set the path of these teens as they lose themselves in a world of pure malice. No one wins here, like a true horror film, it ends in despair. So much for enjoying the weekend.
P.S.- There may or may not be a copy of the movie in its entirety on youtube somewhere. Search the title and see what you find.
Rated R For: strong brutal violence, pervasive language, some nudity and brief drug use
Runtime: 91 minutes
After Credits Scene: No
Genre: Horror, Thriller
Starring: Michael Fassbender, Kelly Reilly, Jack O’Connell
Directed By: James Watkins
Out of 5 Nerdskulls
Story: 3.5/ Acting: 4/ Directing: 4/ Visuals: 4
OVERALL: 4 Nerdskulls
Buy to Own: Yes
Check out the trailer below:
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