Eden Lake

Posted on: 09 September 2008 by Gareth Hargreaves

A romantic idyll turns into a terrifying nightmare in James Watkins' chillingly effective British horror movie Eden Lake.

Primary schoolteacher Jenny and her boyfriend Steve head out of London for a weekend break at a beautiful secluded lake.  Steve has chosen the romantic spot, and is waiting for the perfect moment to surprise Jenny with a marriage proposal.

They pitch a tent, go swimming, sunbathe and enjoy the peace - until it is shattered by a group of rowdy, threatening teenagers.  When Steve confronts the group about their behaviour, a fight breaks out and Steve accidentally kills gang leader Brett’s dog.

Suddenly the couple’s peaceful getaway turns into a battle for survival, as they are forced into the forest to escape the vengeance of their pursuers.  Separated from Steve, Jenny has to draw on unknown reserves of strength - and mercilessness - to survive.

Finally breaking free from the forest and her young pursuers Jenny makes it to the apparent sanctuary of the town.  And meet the parents.

This is more a dark, penetrating drama than a horror film as we know it and where it scores over recent movies in this genre is having a strong sense of realism, believable, easily identifiable characters, and a totally unexpected and alarming ending.

The tightly structured script - also by Watkins - eschews the usual mixture of monsters and the supernatural in favour of a strong build up of tension arising from our everyday fears coming to fruition and, in these troubling times of soaring knife crime among young people, the film strikes a particular chord.

The film also benefits from naturalistic performances from Kelly Reilly and Michael Fassbender as the ill-fated couple and Jack O’Connell and Thomas Turgoose (This Is England and Somers Town) as prominent members of the vicious gang on their BMX bikes.

This could be described as Lord of the Flies meets Children of the Damned but one thing is guaranteed - this is a movie that will scare you literally out of your mind!

By Laurence Green

Released nationwide 12th September 2008.

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