In any horror movie where you have a couple going camping, you can pretty much guarantee that things are not going to turn out as planned. This is certainly the case for Eden Lake, a UK horror film that goes above and beyond the call of duty in showcasing the sheer depravity that people, youths in this case, are capable of committing to their fellow man. By playing to the fears between age groups, that typical line of thought adults seem to have that goes something along the lines of ‘these kids today are far less civilized than we ever were at their age’, Eden Lake pounds it on home with a very well shot film that takes place primarily in a secluded forest environment where help is as hard to find as an unoccupied look at a scandalous party.
For one thing, this film has a very high level of brutality. For those who are not inclined to watch people commit atrocity after atrocity against their fellow man (or dog) then this is not so much the type of movie they would enjoy. There are monsters in Eden Lake, but each of them are below the drinking age and burning their youth for atypical purposes that you’ll have to watch the movie to decide. Hopelessness runs rampant and the sense of isolation for the protagonist couple is sharp indeed. On the other hand, plenty of horror films will appreciate this unflinching approach to survival horror so that is a very strong mark in favor of this film which definitely goes the extra mile to keep viewers entertained with a lack of slow moments and plenty of pulse pounding suspense.
The acting in this movie is good and, in a sense, almost too good. It’s far too easy to believe that the bad guys could exist and that’s another big selling point for the movie. The village type society that neighbors the Eden Lake setting will not be difficult to envision as realistic for anyone who grew up in a small town, particularly those who felt like outcasts during those early years. The fear then is double in effect, not only are the bad kids going to get away with more because they’re out in the wilderness, they’ve also got the backing of the adults who are supposed to be keeping them under control. That’s a nice statement on society and it’s values on all kinds of levels, so it helps the flick rise to more of a thinking person’s movies.
All in all, Eden Lake is a very fine English offering that gives a very unique twist to a story that’s not all that uncommon. It’s a well directed, well acted story that’s going to keep viewers wondering exactly how it will end. This reviewer doesn’t like tossing out spoilers, but suffice it to say the audience will be entertained right up to the very last seconds of the film.
In closing, it’s good to keep in mind that when peer pressure builds to level it reaches in Eden Lake, just saying no isn’t going to help much…