It’s become a different life here in the UK over the past decade or so and finally it seems there are movies from this country that finally appear to be reflecting certain aspects of life in the under belly of this place I call home. Forgotten are the fairy tale images of idyllic surburban life portrayed in such schmaltz as ‘Notting Hill’ of ‘Love Actually’. It’s more an Albert Square with bite out there.
First time director James Watkins, who previously penned other horror genre flicks such as ‘My Little Eye’ and ‘Gone’, and whom is currently working on the follow-up horror ‘The Descent: Part 2’ has put together a taught little thriller here with exceptional direction and all on his first attempt.
Steve and Jenny head off for a romantic weekend to the tranquil and relaxing Eden Lake. But this peaceful setting is soon disturbed when a group of uncouth youths start causing anti-social behaviour nearby in only the way a typical hoodie could and would. Steve, bravely and stupidly, stands up to the gang to their fury. Overnight their belongings and car is stolen by the youths who take in a sight seeing joyride tour of the surrounding woodland. Once again Steve and Jenny come across the mob in the woods and become the hunted in a violent free for all and hunt for survival.
Michael Fassbender and the delightfully sexy Kelly Reilly play the unwitting cat and mouse victims Steve and Jenny. Jenny’s character embodies a striking resemblance to the like of Shauna Macdonald’s character Sarah in 2005’s ‘The Descent’. In fact certain comparisons to this previous classic constantly placed that movie back into my head every now and again whilst viewing. But it’s Jack O'Connell who steals the show. He reunites with fellow ‘This is England’ star Thomas Turgoose and it’s, once again, show-stealing acting from the young gent who is genuinely terrifying as the character of Brett.
The movie itself is fairly cut and dry. It’s a reality based stalk and slash and eventually most of the common clichés are covered. However, there is a variety of fundamentals that take a slightly new avenue but ‘Eden Lake’ feels like a genuine kick in the teeth and a good old fashioned horror tale. The astonishing ending leaves you open mouthed and wondering if there really is anything left of justice in this world or at least this country.
‘Eden Lake’ is an unflinching look into today’s fear of the youth culture and how powerless you can feel to what is nothing more than a bunch of kids running amok. With little or no respect for anyone let alone authority these troubled teens move in gangs often and most likely pier-pressured into the acts of violence and scaremongering. Even the dogged and unforeseen ending to this movie goes a long way to adding to these fears.