About the film
Eden Lake is a British horror film that was released in 2008. The film has a run time of 91 minutes and is rated 18 due to language, violence and some nudity and drug use.
Wanting a romantic weekend away, nursery school teacher Jenny and her boyfriend Steve head out to a remote lake which is enclosed by woodland. Jenny doesn't know that Steve plans on proposing and wonders about his chosen location. However, the couple's peace and quiet is quickly disturbed when a group of teenagers and children begin harassing them. While trying to put up with their annoying comments, Steve finds himself pushed to his limit when the kids steal and destroy their belongings. Fearing for her life, Jenny flees the woods, embarking on numerous cat and mouse chase games with the kids determined to keep her quiet.
What I thought
To begin with, I have to say that I don't really agree with this being classed as a horror film. I have used that in the 'about' section as that is what the film is technically classed as but really, I would say that it is more a thriller than a horror film.
The film starts off with a likeable enough couple heading off for a romantic weekend together although Jenny does complain a little bit about her friends who are going off to more exciting places for the weekend. Once the couple are on the road though, and stop off in a B&B for the night, they realise that the area they are in is not the best of places. The pub they are staying in is full of rough looking people who scream and fight for the rest of the night. After an unromantic start to their weekend, the couple look forward to a couple of nights on a nice secluded lake.
Due to the nature of the plot of this film, there aren't really many characters involved. Main characters Jenny and Steve are played by Kelly Reilly and Michael Fassbender. Reilly makes Jenny extremely likeable, if not a bit quiet at times, and quickly I didn't want anything bad to happen to her. Steve, however, I didn't really like from the beginning. Early on in the film, he made some bad decisions and when the kids started hassling them, he didn't really do much and just let his girlfriend feel uncomfortable instead of trying to resolve the problems they were having. Even though I didn't like Steve as a character, Fassbender was good in the role, especially when the film really got going.
As far as horror movie plots go, I did think that this was somewhat unoriginal at times. The film is set in the middle of nowhere, by a lake and surrounded by the woods. This setting has been done many a time and I thought to begin with, that it was just going to be another copy of many other horror films. Luckily, this is not the case though. The setting is pivotal to the story as the end outcome could not have happened any other way. The setting paves the way for Jenny and Steve to have nowhere to run when they begin to get hassled by the group of kids. The setting of the woods also provides some quite dark scenes where lots of bad things happen and it also provides many exciting hiding places.
Unfortunately, the main characters/ cast are outshined by the children in this film. The leader of the gang of kids (Brett) is played by Jack O'Connell, who is best known for his role as Cook in Skins. When we first meet this group of delinquents, it seems as though they are just out to have a bit of fun and generally think that they are better than they are. However, it soon becomes clear that these kids are thugs and mean business when it comes to terrorising Jenny and Steve. The whole group of kids were amazing in their own roles. Their characters are all very different and clearly lead by Brett, who seems to scare everyone into doing what he wants them to do.
The way in which the kids act is by far the scariest aspect of them film. Brett in particular has no interest in action and consequence and does exactly as he pleases. He has no remorse after doing some incredibly bad things to Jenny and Steve and if anything, the things he does only makes him worse. By showing a group of kids who act in the way they do, it shows what the youth of today could be like in the very worst way. The film brings up themes about kids being left to their own devices with parents not having any idea where they are or what they are doing. As these kids are left to do whatever they like, their parents have no idea that their ideas of what fun is include things like knife crime, bullying and theft.
At times, the things that these kids do to Jenny and Steve made me unable to watch the screen. Their acts of violence are so horrific that it made me feel sick at times and I really wished that they would stop. This is why the film is rated 18. The violent scenes are extremely graphic so if you are the slightest bit queasy, or dislike the sight of blood, I would advise you to stay well away from this film. Watching scenes this bad made me angry as there have been many stories in the news over the years about things like this happening. It was also scary just how real these scenes were. Weapons used included everyday items such as knives and lighters and the use of mobile phones put the story right in the present.
Overall, while this film wasn't exactly scary, it was shocking in the things that you get to see. Eden Lake is a very disturbing film and one which was entertaining at the same time. It wasn't what I expected but this was still a great film.