Reviewed by: JimmyO
What's it about
A young couple, vacationing at a remote wooded area, soon find themselves face to face with a group of bullying kids. When things get out of control, the couple have to fight these little monsters in the wilderness for survival.
Is it good movie?
Eden Lake shares a similar plot to a large number of recent horror films. Whether it be Ils, The Strangers or Funny Games, the idea of being stalked by a group of people intent on doing you harm is a frightening one. The unending chase, the not knowing if you’ll be able to get away, it can be one of the most powerful forms of horror. And while Eden Lake looks like a few other films, it still works. It fact, it actually works damn well. But the question is, why does the film work so well when I questioned almost every move this couple made early on? And the answer is simple, it is simply a well made film in almost every aspect. Sure, I would hope I’d make smarter decisions then they did, but I guarantee, everyone makes poor choices that could get them in trouble. And aside from that, if they had left like I probably would have done, the movie would’ve been over.
It all starts as a couple head off on a quiet vacation away from the real world. Both Jenny (Kelly Reilly) and Steve (Michael Fassbender) are looking to get away for a romantic getaway. But what they get is a bunch of obnoxious kids playing loud music and making smart ass remarks. But it doesn’t stop there, as these kids end up making is a hellish nightmare for the couple. While the film feels a bit more like Funny Games in the sense that we are allowed to see who these bullies are, it felt more like the cult classic Class of 1984… but in the forest. Director James Watkins builds a sense of dread and unsettling violence as these kids get more and more aggressive. He is able to create a horribly suspenseful environment that is brutal and sad. Yes, I said sad.
While I didn’t feel like I was watching anything original, and I really questioned why the couple would stick around (I don’t think I would), I still found this to be a tense and disturbing thriller. With each turn the plot takes, I was transfixed. Although I did find the ending to be a bit predictable, but it still pissed me off. But with that said, it is a fitting way to end such a grim look at youth gone wild. I like this type of film and I liked the hyper-realistic nature of Eden Lake. It takes its time to build the relationship not only with the couple, but their relationship with the kids. It is a well drawn out cat and mouse game with horrifying results. While I found myself annoyed with some of the choices the couple made, both actors are sympathetic enough to make you care. This is one intense thriller.
Video / Audio
Video: This is a clear 16x9 Widescreen transfer. It seems Dimension Extreme is doing a nice job with their releases.
Audio: The Dolby Digital was also quite good as you could hear the skin puncture.
What they hell happened to the extras? We get a four minute “The Making of Eden Lake” and a trailer. That’s it! Too bad also because I would have liked to here more about the behind the scenes with a lovely commentary.
Lastly, you’ll find trailers for “Wolf Creek”, “Suburban Mayhem”, “Pulse 2” and “Feast 2: Sloppy Seconds”
Director James Watkins has crafted an old school horror thriller that is vicious and unrelenting. I enjoyed both lead actors, even when I had issues with some of their choices. I also thought the performances the kids gave were very convincing. Here is a flick that will make you think twice about dealing with a bunch of bullies. Just walk away and look for a park ranger people, and find somewhere else to go for your romantic weekend.