“ Genre: Horror / Suitable for 18 years and over / Director: James Watkins / Actors: Michael Fassbender, Bronson Webbe, Kelly Reilly, Thomas Turgoose, Shaun Dooley ... / DVD released 2009-01-19 at Optimum Home Entertainment / Features of the DVD: PAL „
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Eden lake is one of the best British films that I've seen in a while! I saw it on tv quite recently and was surprised by how good it was, I was expecting it to be a bit naff to be truthful because the storyline (teenage thugs causing trouble) has been over-done in recent years & become a much of a muchness.
The main reason that I decided to watch it was because it has got jack oconnell in it (Cook from Skins!) I'm glad that I did watch it though, it's a really good film and it kept me gripped to the screen throughout. The film is about a young couple, Jenny and Steve. Jenny is played by an actress I'm not familiar with but Steve is played by Michael Fassbender who I have seen in a few other films.
The film starts off with us getting to know a bit about them & they decide to go on holiday. Steve takes Jenny to a secluded lake on the edge of some land which is about to be built on. The lake is surrounded by woodland and is really pretty and scenic. Unfortunately, not long after arriving they realise its the place that the local gang of cool kids hang around, and its not long before they have a big falling out and things take a turn for the worse.
The film is really gritty, I can honestly say that I was shocked when the violence started because the actors, especially the actors who play the teenager members of the gang are very realistic and it did seem quite real, which made it even more scary. There's a lot of blood and violence and some really disturbing scenes and I had to look away at some points, especially gory scenes involving the young boy which I found quite graphic and upsetting.
There's not much cgi used as far as I could tell, it's mainly special effect makeup. The acting is good enough for it not to be filled with over the top cgi though. The film is very much a thriller as well as a horror, it kept me gripped & I really wanted the 2 main characters to get away safely and for the baddies to be arrested.
The thing that I like about the film the most is the ending. It's desperate, morbid, shocking and it left me feeling quite depressed, but it was more realistic that way and had it ended well i dont think it would have has the same impact. I loved this film and would happily recommend it.
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.
Kelly Reilly as Jenny
Michael Fassbender as Steve
Jack O'Connell as Brett
James Gandhi as Adam
Thomas Turgoose as Cooper
Bronson Webb as Reece
Shaun Dooley as Jon
Finn Atkins as Paige
Thomas Gill as Ricky
James Burrows as Harry
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.
Eden Lake is a film with some deep flaws. A middle-class, young couple decide to take a weekend break and camp at Eden Lake which is by some woodland in an area which appears to be situated near a rather drab town. This is a strange decision for such a couple to make seeing they had good jobs and were not short of money. If they had chosen to vacate near the Lake District I might have understood their choice of destination a bit better..
As it turns out, soon after they arrive at Eden Lake and pitch their tent a gang of chav youths turn up in the area, playing loud music and just being plain offensive. The boyfriend goes to confront them to ask them to turn the music down, and of course his request is naturally met by a bunch of expletives and aggression. What else would you expect from chavs? However they seem to cooperate reluctantly at first. But unfortunately things don't stay that way for very long. My next problem with this film was why mess about with chavs? Everyone knows that if things escalate and you hurt any of them you are the one that will be prosecuted. On the other hand if they hurt you, then you end up in hospital or worse. So it's a no-win situation for decent folk being harrassed and taking on young brats. Of course there would have been no film if the couple had packed up their belongings and moved on, but that would have been the sensible solution.
This is a horror film that relies heavily on violent exploitation. Most of the action centres in the woodland and leans towards graphic violence and bullying and much of it seems gratuitous. In particular there is one scene where the victim (boyfriend) already bleeding and tied up with barbed wire by the gang then has to endure each of its members taking turns in stabbing him. That's about as gruesome as it gets here.The rest of the film is just generally nasty and menacing with some chase scenes and the protagonist/s generally doing things which will inevitably make life more dangerous for themselves. So there are plenty of the usual horror clichés. For example the girl manages to avoid capture by the gang, but she hangs around the woods hiding and watching her bound, barely conscious boyfriend being tortured. Why isn't she legging it into the town and summoning help from the police? So as you can see unpleasant scenarios are just dragged out for the sake of it.
If Eden Lake is trying to be realistic then I think it fails. Chavs can be vile creatures , but I don't think they'd engage in prolonged torture scenes. In any case as mentioned no one being harrassed by these yobs would have been foolish enough to hang around before things ever reached that level. Also, with the girlfriend still on the loose the cops could have arrived any time yet the gang carry on undeterred.. What the film seems to do is promote one's perception of chav behaviour at its most extreme.I like the idea of a film publicising chav culture in a very unfavourable light, but not when it gets too silly. The twist at the end of the film is also weird and is a coincidental scenario, which is just highly unlikely to occur in practice. I won't give anything away but it just adds to the unrealistic nature of the film.
The acting in the film is quite good, especially by the youths, and particularly the young actor playing the gang leader who is very convincing as a thoroughly evil piece of work, a true psychopath in the making. The cast is only a small one but the characters are far more realistic compared to their Hollywood counterparts who always look like they've just stepped onto the set from the make-up/gloss department. It's just their actions and the storyline which defy credibility. As to whether the film suceeds as an entertaining piece, it probably does a lot better there. If you are young and don't mind watching violent bloody action you'll probably enjoy this much more than a mature, seasoned horror fan who's seen many of the clichés before. It's very difficult to make an original horror film today. Eden Lake,has often been compared to Wolf Creek, a film made 3 years before it, and I feel that is the better if much slower paced horror film with a more menacing and hopeless atmosphere and more disturbing violence, although the scenes featuring those are shorter. But I could be in the minority there as many find it takes too long to get to the 'horror' part..
Star - Michael Fassbender
Genre - Horror/Slasher
Certificate - 18R
Country - British
Run Time - 91 minutes
Rental - 99p night@Blockbuster high street.
First rule of British Horror is not to try and make an American slasher movie, the big mistake here, a cheesy genre specific to Hollywood and so should be left well alone. Slasher movies are meant to be tongue-in-cheek and full of absurdly attractive people in sexy locations who are killed off in order of cool, not set in the M25 corridor. Eden Lake does not live up to its idyllic and emotive name guys, the said poetic and serene body of water more like a gravel pit in Essex!
It stars man of the moment Michael Fassbender, the half Irish and half German hunk who has shot to fame from pretty much nowhere for no real reason other than the fact he is cute, fit as a fiddle and has that charismatic Irish accent and smile girls can't resist. Ok, that is a lot of reasons why he is famous. You can see that charisma and charm clearly in 'Fishtank', a rather excellent low budget British film from 2009, also set in the chav wilderness of Essex, presumably why he was cast for this gig. He has that big presence on screen and unlucky not to get an Oscar nomination for 'Shame', a film Hollywood were not going to touch with a barge pole, quite a barge pole revealed in that naughty film by all-accounts, another reason he is famous. Its definitely move over Gerard Butler as Michael Fassbender's frankfurter is in town baby!
Kelly Reilly ... Jenny
Michael Fassbender ... Steve
Tara Ellis ... Abi
Jack O'Connell ... Brett
Finn Atkins ... Paige
Jumayn Hunter ... Mark
Thomas Turgoose ... Cooper
James Burrows ... Harry
Tom Gill ... Ricky
Lorraine Bruce ... Tanya
Shaun Dooley ... Jon
James Gandhi ... Adam
Bronson Webb ... Reece
Sexy middle-class London couple Jenny (Kelly Reilly), a nursery school teacher, and Steve (Michael Fassbender), an IT consultant, are heading into the sticks for a romantic camping weekend. Their destination is a hidden lake surrounded by a dense wood, somewhere in the Home Counties. But after just an hour's sunbathing on the lake shore some local chav's rock up with their Staffordshire bull terriers and ghetto blasters and spoil the day. After some lewd comments at Jenny in her bikini and the lads failure to turn down the music, Steve has to confront them, getting that worried yet mischievous look from the misses that if you don't stand up for me right now you are a wimp and if you do your probably going to get a kicking, and if you lose that kicking then you not worth it anyway. But Steve fronts up and after a confrontation the gang seemingly call it a draw in the stand off and eventually leave them in peace for the rest of the weekend. So they hope.
On discovering the dog has eaten all their food overnight they head back to the car to eat breakfast in town, but greeted by a flat tire, an incriminating beer bottle sticking out of the wheel, a quick change needed. When they catch up with the gang on their bikes heading into a village, Steve follows and for some reason decides to confront them by sneaking in their house. After a close call on the property the couple head back to the lake and try to finish their weekend. But the lads return to the lake in the afternoon and steel Steve's car and personal possessions and so this time he has to front up with menace to get the car back. Bad idea and a struggle ensues around a campfire as dusk arrives in the foreboding forest, resulting in knives drawn and one dead dog, that of the Chavs leader Brett (Jack O'Connell), and so war declared on the yuppie couple as they leg it and things quickly getting out of control as night falls on Eden Lake.
I hated it! It felt like a middle-class attack on our youth that we, as a nation, created by not being strict enough parents and engaging with that youth so not to create the huge underclass we have today, this film another way to off-load that guilt. Eden Lake is often vile and needlessly vicious and frequently silly, puerile and patronising, the lawless kids just too nasty and reckless. The attempt at visceral horror is overcooked on the grill and spits an unpleasant acrid taste at you that hangs in the air. Deliverance worked as the hillbillies owned the hills and you expect them to repel outsiders and so you rooted for Burt Reynolds and co whereas here you root for nobody, its fatal flaw of many.
Eden Lake is very much one of those horror films where the director tries to get away with everything to test the censor. It's certainly the first time I have ever seen an 11-year-old Pakistani boy being set on fire on screen. Surely that's the job of stray American CIA drone strikes? What is going through the director's head when he does that? A Freudian slip me thinks. As like the rest of the country, thankfully nobody watched the movie in Bradford.
Secondly the couple are way too sexy and perfectly manicured for this type of low budget film and the idea they would leave their swanky London life to spend a weekend camping on a gravel pit beach the size of Amanda Holden brains is ludicrous. The tiny piece of sand is covered in broken glass and old tires and scented with diesel oil from some old rusty speedboat some fat bloke won on Bullseye! These sorts of people go on city breaks to Barcelona and Helsinki, not Stevenage. The only time these guys brush the tent down and mix with the proles is for Glastonbury, ya! Ok, maybe the director's point was to make you the viewer feel the couple's unease by putting them out of their comfort zone but by the time that point was made on screen I just couldn't care or relate to any aspect of the movie. And why on earth would Fassbender's character enter the house full of knife wielding, pill popping chavs? There are too many silly scenes like that in this movie.
Where it does work is playing on our real fears of the underclass, the hooded ones in trackers and trainers that are always kept at arms length by the more educated classes, even shopping centres joining in the apartheid by banning the hoodies from the malls so the middle-class will come in from the suburbs to shop at Marks & Spencer's. Most of those kids dress the part merely to avoid a kicking by the tiny minority that are nasty and so get a bum rap. The kids are often cowering under those baseball caps in the toughest estates. This film just states it's us versus the underclass and that's the end of it and you should get some kind of reward for feeling that way by watching this. Its pathetic $2.9 million world-wide gross is all you need to know what the film loving public thought of this.
Imdb.com - 6.9/10 (24,554 votes)
Rottentomatos.com - 84% critics approval rating
Metacritic.com - 79% critics approval rating
The Sun - "For all the brutality of the confrontation with knife-wielding, car-nicking local scum - think Stanley knives gouging out tongues - it's never far off ludicrous".
The Guardian - "So harsh, bleak and intense it achieves a level of raw power. A sordid little nightmare of contemporary England"
The Times - "The film's one major fault is that Reilly's character repeatedly acts in ways that serve the plot, but which run contrary to rational human behavior. By contrast, the shattering downbeat ending is well earned and genuinely shocking".
The LA Times - "While Eden Lake is effective, something feels not quite right about cheering for prepubescent kids to get their fatal comeuppance".
The Daily Star -"It is not often that I feel like walking out of a movie. But this exploitative, patronizing and nauseatingly violent take on Britain's yob culture had your critic eyeing up the exit".
I came across some decent ratings for Eden Lake, and as a fan of all things horror I was looking forward to it, without really expecting much. I'd say that this offers a creepier, more tense edge to the genre so it is one I'd recommend for a DVD night.
Eden Lake introduces us to Jenny (Kelly Reilly) and Steve (Michael Fassbender), a young couple in love who have headed off on a little holiday. They want something peaceful, away from the hubbub and they certainly manage to get something secluded by ending up almost in the middle of nowhere with nothing around apart from trees. Sounds like an idyllic getaway from everyday life until they find another group in the area around their campsite, a bunch of obnoxious teens and their dog, who are ruining their peaceful escape.
I don't want to say much on the plot except that obviously this seemingly-perfect trip idea doesn't go quite to plan. The harassment by the youth gang gradually gets worse, ranging from sheer ignorance, to taunting, to theft. Steve tries to disperse the situation but to little avail; their car is vandalised so they can't leave and the gang starts to appear far more sinister than first expected. Steve is brutally attacked, and now it's down to Jenny as she tries to flee the group and leave the deserted spot she's in. The question is will either half of the couple make it out alive?
It's not a particularly jaw-dropping plot, and it won't win awards for originality, but it does have a few twists and turns to keep you on your feet. It was actually written and directed by James Watkins, who hasn't got a long list of work behind him but he has worked on My Little Eye and The Woman in Black, so this is a reasonably strong entry from someone without too much experience.
The thing I liked about Eden Lake was its ability to grip the viewer; I could feel the atmosphere and tension being built up, and the scenes came across in a fairly realistic way. I was able to imagine being in their shoes, to imagine the scenes and the fear thanks to the gritty darkness it portrayed well. I wouldn't say it scared me or that I found it particularly creepy, but then again I don't really find that with any horror films any more. I did, however, think that it was a good attempt at the whole cat-and-mouse play without it becoming too convoluted or run-of-the-mill.
The acting was so-so in parts, but reasonable when it came to Jenny, who took up much screen time. This again aided the sense of being able to empathise and identify with the characters and what was going on. There was violence and some gore, though it was done modestly and when necessary. Eden Lake seemed to be able to avoid some of the biggest pitfalls in ordinary horror flicks, so I didn't find there being too many college kids getting naked or gore at every step of the way to distract me. You're able to simply focus on the events as they unfold, and keep yourself occupied with what's going to happen, how it could possibly end well for Jenny. Having said that, I guess I did find myself thinking 'mmmm, not sure that would happen', but I still found myself being absorbed enough to believe it and go along with it from start to finish.
There was plenty of action and the majority of the time I felt the pace was just right. The characters were somewhat underdeveloped, however, because in parts I wish I knew more about the motivations and feelings of some characters.
Overall, I would recommend this is a decent late-night horror flick that builds up atmosphere and tension well, even if it's not the most creative in terms of plot/script.
DVD released 2009, rated Certificate 18
Selling on Amazon for £3.99
RELEASED: 2008, Cert. 18
RUNNING TIME: Approx. 90 mins
DIRECTOR/SCREENPLAY: James Watkins
PRODUCERS: Christian Colson & Richard Holmes
MUSIC: David Julyan
Kelly Reilly as Jenny
Michael Fassbender as Steve
Jack O'Connell as Brett
FILM ONLY REVIEW
Jenny and Steve decide to get away from it all, so take themselves off for a long weekend camping at a nearby beauty spot called Eden Lake. Unbeknown to Jenny, Steve has bought an engagement ring with the intention of giving it to her during their romantic short break.
When Jenny and Steve arrive at Eden Lake which is surrounded by woodland, they decide to have a swim and do a bit of sunbathing. Before long, their peace is disturbed by a group of young teenage thugs, the leader of which is a nasty piece of work called Brett.
Initially, it is a situation of Jenny and Steve being mildly harassed by the teenagers, but instead of moving on, the couple decides to stay put, which encourages the teen thugs to dig their heels in and increase the pressure.
As well as having a snarling, slavering, vicious-looking dog which he keeps letting off the lead, Brett has a knife and, supported by his hoodie tribe, he intends to use it.
To find out more, you must see the film for yourself.
Although I initially, before the trouble at Eden Lake began, found the characters of Jenny and Steve a bit too twee, my interest was immediately grabbed as although I wasn't entirely sure what the film was going to be about, it seemed to possibly be going somewhere good. Jenny and Steve are obviously smitten with one another, yet through their acting, I didn't get that feeling of excitement from them as they were preparing for their romantic weekend and driving to Eden Lake. They just seemed too neat and squeaky clean, and I'm not sure if anyone really is to that extent, plus the early dialogue in the film - spoken almost entirely by Jenny and Steve - I found to be lacklustre and rather boring. It was the situation which stimulated my interest rather than the way the couple presented and related to one another.
Once Jenny and Steve had reached Eden Lake, I was beginning to find them extremely irritating....then things started to hot up once the gang of teens appeared and began their harassment campaign. From that point onwards and for me, it was a hotchpotch of some rather absurd reactions from Jenny and Steve - as well as Kelly Reilly and Michael Fassbender not being blessed with the best of acting skills - and in contrast, some rather superb acting from the teenagers with Jack O'Connell being perfectly cast and seemingly in his element as odious little thug Brett. I did actually find all of the teens played their parts very well....initially egging Brett on and supporting him, yet later in the film when things became unbearably nasty, they appeared nervous and unsure....yet still loyally followed and obeyed their leader.
In some ways, Eden Lake for me was very nerve-racking as what takes place isn't so far-fetched that it could never happen. The whole storyline touched on something in me whereby whenever a male friend and I have grabbed a day together and taken ourselves out to a nearby reservoir beauty spot, or on one occasion when we drove down to the New Forest, it has always been at the back of my mind that something like which we see in the film Eden Lake could possibly occur. It hasn't happened to my friend and I, but it has always been something that I've never ruled out the possibility of. That made the general storyline of Eden Lake quite disturbing for me as it, albeit on celluloid, grounded and actualised some of my fears.
However, whilst I was watching the film, I was questioning myself as to what I'd do in the same situation, and as I watched Jenny's actions once her boyfriend Steve had been attacked and badly injured by the thugs, I just wanted to yell "You stupid woman!!!!" over and over again at the screen. That part of Eden Lake came across as so unrealistic, because I'm convinced that nobody in their right mind would have dealt with the predicament in the same way as she did. Part of Jenny's ridiculous way of coping and dealing with the situation possibly could have been meant to be viewed as a contrast, whereby her job is teaching very cute, obedient, well-behaved small children and maybe she was blinkered as to the fact that not all young people are such paragons of virtue....hence being ill-equipped for managing circumstances which get out of hand when the darker, nastier side of youth asserts itself.
It has strongly been suggested that Eden Lake raises some controversial issues in the way that it appears to portray the working class. I personally don't see it that way at all. Aside from the unbelievably sugary characters of Jenny and Steve which had no injection of guts and soul from the actors who played them, I feel Eden Lake has a very important message to deliver in that no matter what social class anybody belongs to, there is a very serious problem in our nation with certain sections of our youth being out of control and totally amoral. This isn't a film which is about a few yobs making mild fun of a courting couple, then getting bored and going off to torment someone else when the iron has gone cold.....it is about a gang of very nasty young individuals who are excited by bullying and terrorising other people. It really doesn't matter whether they are inner-city slum estate dwellers or living the life of Riley in the leafy shires with multi-millionaire upper class parents. The story is an attempt at highlighting the breakdown in certain sectors of our society, regardless of social 'status'. I don't think that the director choosing working class youths to inject the thug element into the film should be cause for working-class paranoia, as to get steamed up about class typecasting could detract from the real, disturbing societal issues that need to be dealt with. However, from the other side, anybody who lives in a sleepy little village or a small, respectable, 'hideaway' town, might feel that the storyline of Eden Lake is sensationalist, exaggerating teen angst out of all proportion with life not really being like that....but just take a walk through any troubled area where some people are afraid to leave their houses after dark, and you could well get a small taste of what Eden Lake is drawing attention to. Also, there have in recent years been some instances where groups of young people have tormented, tortured and even killed innocent individuals....remember the young disabled man who was tortured to death by a gang of thugs? That gang probably wasn't dissimilar to the teens in the film Eden Lake.
There is one other issue which arose for me during the film, and I'm wondering if anything like this is taught in schools (it was when I attended school way back when in another time, another planet, another universe), and that is how the gang of thugs almost blindly follow the dictates of their bully-boy leader Brett. At root, all it really needs to disarm Brett - or any young person like him - is simply to un-befriend him, and disperse after refusing to follow his orders. Without his backup army and without his dog (which Steve killed), Brett would be completely disempowered. I do realise that by our very nature, humans have a penchant for banding together, but it's up to us who we choose for our idols, role models and companions. If we find we have inadvertently chosen a negative role model, then it is up to us to look elsewhere and change it. Is this part of the problem with modern-day gang culture, in that young people aren't given a clear sense of individuality in early life? Maybe or maybe not.... I'm no expert...I'm merely a concerned observer.
Moving on....one thing I did find especially ridiculous about Eden Lake was the ending, although just a few seconds before the closing credits roll, somebody does something which I feel would actually happen if the situation of the film were real. The ending is disturbing - I can't really elaborate too much because of the risk of planting a spoiler - but rather contrived, and highly unlikely....too coincidental.
Overall, I'm in two minds about whether I truly liked Eden Lake or not. I feel that the storyline, although not entirely original, was very good and the acting from the teenagers, especially Jack O'Connell's chilling portrayal of the loathsome Brett, was utterly superb but I feel the actors who played Jenny and Steve were so awful that they almost made a mockery of the whole thing, dragging a grave topic down into something which verged on the ridiculous rather than the serious. Had two different, more adept actors had been chosen for the roles of Jenny and Steve and if the ending of the film could be re-written, it could actually zoom up into achieving masterpiece status....but as it stands, although not bad, it isn't what I'd call an outstandingly brilliant cinematic gem. All the same though, it is worth watching, but some people may find the violence - the results of which (via makeup) are frighteningly realistic - extremely disturbing.
To close with a comment on one of the sillier parts of the film, if Jenny hadn't been so stupid, things could have been very different, and I really don't think many people in her situation would have dealt with it as she did!
At the time of writing, Eden Lake can be purchased on Amazon as follows:-
New: from £3.24 to £10.92
Used: from £1.00 to £8.39
A delivery charge of £1.26 should be added to the above figures.
Thanks for reading!
~~ Also published on Ciao under my CelticSoulSister user name ~~
The most frustrating thing regarding this film is just the ridiculous behaviour of the two main victims. But if they had done what any sensible person would have done in their position (left as soon as those hideous chavs turned up) then of course there would be no film!. Anyway, the chavs are scarily convincing in that I see kids just like this all the time, we all do which is what gives the film that genuine and real feel. It's frightening and disturbing because it's something that could happen and probably has done. Anyway, It's better than a lot of the horror films i've seen in the last few years but I do understand why some people were left frustrated and angry with the ending but I think the film makers thought about what ending would have the biggest impact and draw the biggest reaction from the audience (negative or positive) and went with it and it makes sense really. As a horror film this does everything you would want it to but just misses the mark because it borrows heavily from so many similar films but you could easily say the same thing about most horror films. It is without doubt a genre that needs a spark of originality injecting into it but Eden lake is definatley worth checking out...Wolf Creek was better though.
I really enjoyed eden lake but although i found it compelling to watch the realistic storyline made it one of the most frightening things i have seen. A couple in this film are being hunted through the woods (around eden lake) which you may think is a typical horror film, but no they are not being hunted by disfigured hillbillys they are being hunted by a group of teenagers armed with knives. The fact that this film had me immaging this actually happening to a couple who just happened to annoy the wrong chav like teenagers made the film very scary to watch. There are some very graphic scenes in this film, but if you are a horror fan like me i am sure you will love it, It was the most deranged films i had watched untill i saw the film mum and dad a few months later. This film is worth watching just for the chilling ending which had me wanted to turn away.
I'm going to start out by saying this film is definitely not for everyone. The violence and gore in this film is very realistic, and it's almost controversial in some of the scenes with the age of the cast.
Eden Lake was added to my must watch list after reading several good reviews about it on Dooyoo. I thought I would give it a go, and can honestly say it was one of the best, if not the best, gore/horror/thriller I've seen in ages. After reading the synopsis I wondered how truly 'terrifying' a group of teenage boys could be in the middle of the woods, but actually it was! The cast were fantastic and you really believed their characters. Sometimes I watch a film of someone acting menacing or being scared, and I just think 'I don't believe you!', but that was not the case in this film at all. In fact, were I to stumble across the actor of the lead boy (Brett) from the troublesome gang in the street, I would probably run a mile!
The film starts out with Jenny, a pretty, preppy school teacher who just looks too perfect for her own shoes! She is picked up from work by Steve, her boyfriend, so he can whisk her away to Eden Lake, which he promises has views to die for (if only he knew!). By the time they arrive at the B & B, it is late, and already they are wondering what is happening to their romantic break away, as they hear loud car music, unruly children and just general rowdy behaviour! Up at dawn the next morning, they make their way to Eden Lake, which is set in acres of beautiful forests. They set up camp on the quiet, private beach only to be interrupted soon after by a gang of teenagers, intent on causing havoc, and teasing the couple with the rottweiler they have brought along. Steve decides enough is enough when he see's the head of the gang (Brett), looking at Jenny with binoculars. When he confronts them they refuse to listen and goad him by swearing and asking what he is going to do about it.
This scene shows a continuation for the film, as the night progresses and they hear strange noises. The next morning, when the Jeep's car keys have vanished along with the couples cool bag, they decide to confront the gang once again. Only this time, an accident causes the death of the gang's pet. Jenny and Steve soon become fearful for their lives as they find themselves running through the forest being chased by the gang, all eager to show what big boys they are.....
A fast paced thriller with twists and turns along the way. Expect lots of 'oh you just wouldn't do that....' intense moments as the couple fight for their survival in the middle of nowhere. The couple become part of a brutal and terrifying cat and mouse chase as the gang refuse to back down and will do anything in their power to catch them.
The film was gritty, and as I said earlier, almost controversial in some of it's scenes, making this British movie a must see for anyone who can stomach it! A thriller with a twist!
Winner of 4 awards including the Empire Award for Best horror, nominated for 5.
Release Date: 12 September 2008
A fantastic, if not disturbing, British film.
Running: 87 minutes
Director: James Watkins
Country: United Kingdom
Kelly Reilly as Jenny
Michael Fassbender as Steve
Jack O'Connell as Brett
James Gandhi as Adam
Thomas Turgoose as Cooper
The story takes part in the United Kingdom where a young coupe Jenny and Steve are going away for a romantic weekend to Eden Lake. Steve has spent his childhood here and is planning to ask Jenny to marry him. At the beach of the lake they put up their tent but the romantic feeling disappears quickly due to a group of loud teenagers. They challenge the couple but disappear. They next day Steven discovers after scuba diving that his car keys, telephone and wallet are gone. He ran towards the car and see that his car is gone until the group of teenagers from the day before drive towards him in his car! They stop and the leader of group, Brett, smiles at him and they drive off. When Steve and Jenny runs into the group again they demands their stuff back, but when Brett pulls out a knife things turn bad. Steve manages to get the knife of him but kills the dog of the teenagers per accident. The group is furious and want revenge. Steve and Jenny are trying to get away but the group is getting after them and they will have to fight for their lives. Will they survive?
I thought the acting was really good in the movie. The part of Jenny is being played by Kelly Reilly and the part of Steve by Michael Fassbender. They are both unknown to me, but they can act. In the beginning they are a really lovely couple that are trying to enjoy the peace and quiet of the forest and of each other. But they get disturbed by this group of teenagers and try to do the right thing and not pay a lot of attention to them. They don't really have much choose when they just get brutally attacked and you can really see the fear in their eyes. I thought they were really believable in their acting and their fight to survive. Brett is the leader of the group and is being played by Jack O'Connell. He is known for the show Skins. He is a really tough guy that you don't want to get into a fight with. It's actually frightening how convincing he is in his acting.
Unfortunately there are no extras on the DVD.
I always loved horror movies. Some of them because they are actually scary and some of them because they are really bad that it's just funny. This one is really scary and a good story and really scary moments. The story feels really realistic because the movie takes place in a forest that looks like a forest next door.
The movie starts really happy and romantic on a realistic way, where you can really place yourself in the situation. When the group of the teenagers appear, they are just normal teenagers that you can meet in real life. And when the teasing turns into evil, then is when the fears really start. I loved the acting and the actors really made the fear believable as if they were really scared for their lives. If you are looking for a good horror movie, this is certainly one to watch out for.
I don't know where to bloody start with this one....
For me British cinema seems to veer between the gritty and the shitty. There have been some truly outstanding contributions to pop culture from the British industry and with Eden Lake I expected to be served a gritty experience with a side order of cliches.
The story centres around a young couple who are spending the weekend camping on the shore of an idyllic lake prior to its conversion into a luxury gated community. Their peace is interrupted a by a group of delinquent teens of the stereotypical ASBO variety and you well know the sort I mean. A couple of attitude laiden encouters evolve into something much more menacing where the couple not only fight for their sanity but their survival as well.
There is no real need to go any deeper into the plot than this as Eden Lake is a piece of cinema that needs to be experienced to truly appreciate its visceral content. The film actually unrolls quite nicely with some wooden acting and a sense of innocence that gives a vibe of the original video nasty era where you could instantly sense the forthcoming menace. The bright sunny shots soon give way to a stark blue/grey filter which is where the film not so much changes up a gear but puts pedal to the metal in a frantic blurring of the senses.
The ever escalating tension never seems to let up for a minute and this is where you become well and truly hooked. The new ferocity of the acting performances drill you to the chair and the fear is all the more real when you can relate to the many news stories of evil thugs that are so prevalent in todays society. A good array of obscure and aerial camera shots adds to the urgency and sense of isolation as the couple fight for their lives.
The mood of the film is very dark and it continues to get ever darker in its graphic portrayal of violent torture and the frenetic and strained dynamics within the group of thugs. Worse still is the fact these people are little more than kids and that the dominant male viciously draws out the pack mentality with such comparative ease.
The whole cast become hysterical and the film descends into a prolonged session of vicious and unrepentant sadism which is rarely seen in mainstream cinema. This is largely affected by the manic direction and whilst many big screen horror films suffer from going into overkill mode, this is much more sinister in its efficient realism.
At times shocking, at times upsetting and at times sickening, this is a rollercoaster ride you just can't get off. The moral compass has no rightful place in Eden Lake and we are here solely to witness the true darkness of humanity, the most basic survival instinct and its proximity to our comfortable lives.
It's hard to recommend a film that is so bleak in style and content. The violence is so hard hitting and realistic that the film leaves you feeling both stunned and empty. No doubt the performances are strong and the direction gripping but what do you want from a film? If you want to be challenged and emotionally charged then this is a tour de force in ultra brutal British cinema that cannot be ignored. For casual viewers I suspect many will find it just plain sick.
Excellent but extremely hard hitting survival horror that gets progressively more harrowing by the minute and leaves you feeling shocked and quite frankly decimated.
Eden Lake is a 2008 British thriller/horror that was released on DVD in January 2009. I bought my copy just after Christmas when the film was on special offer and just got round to watching it last night. Certificate 18 and a running time of 88 minutes this is my film only review of this title.
Jenny (Kelly Reilly) and Steve (Michael Fassbender) decide to go away for a romantic weekend and set up camp on the edge of a picturesque lake surrounded by woodland. Their peace is soon disturbed though when a group of unruly teenagers turn up at the same location and begins to taunt the young couple. Rather than getting caught up in an argument Jenny and Steve decide to ignore the group and soon their tormentors get bored and move away.
Their romantic time away is soon disturbed again though as the following day the couple run into the group for a second time. This time they are involved in an altercation in which things turn nasty and Steve and Jenny are plunged into a nightmare which sees them being split up and on the run from Brett and his gang. What follows is a deadly cat and mouse game that builds up to a shocking climax that you definitely won't expect.
Described on the back cover of the DVD as being "The best British horror film in years" I have to say that I completely agree. This is a taut, tense horror film that draws you in from the start and with the first 20 minutes of the film being used to introduce you to Jenny and Steve you end up getting to really know them before the bad things start to happen.
Once the action kicks in though it doesn't let up and for the proceeding hour that follows the film twists and turns and builds momentum all the way to its shocking conclusion that leaves you with a definite sense of helplessness.
Not having seen the lead actors in anything else before I had no expectations but all the cast delivered strong performances especially Kelly Reilly as Jenny and Jack O'Connell as the vicious gang leader Brett. O'Connell in particular was very convincing in his menacing portrayal and very believable, I'm sure many people have encounted gangs of youths that loiter around intimidating passers-by and he nailed his performance faultlessly. The woodland setting was claustrophobic and the chase scenes through the trees were effectively shot with a real sense of menace and foreboding accompanying them.
There were a couple of frustrating moments where the lead characters made illogical choices however these can be forgiven as they were there to move the plot forward. The violence is strong and bloody and makes for uncomfortable viewing however isn't overly gratuitous and needed to be included to give the plot the impact it does.
I won't spoil the ending here in case other readers haven't seen the film but would say that this film should be on any horror fans list of ones to watch. It reminded me in style and feel of "I spit on your grave" and shared the same gritty, relentlessness of that classic 'video nasty' and right up until the end I expected this to follow the 'revenge' film template but then the conclusion delivers a final blow that I certainly won't forget in a hurry.
All in all this is a film that shouldn't be overlooked or thought of as just another run-of-the-mill formulaic horror film. There are elements that we have seen before in other films and by its nature a 'cat and mouse' chase does follow an obvious path with intense action sequences followed by quieter, tension building periods. However the acting, direction and more importantly the ending sets this film apart from others in the genre and was superb in my opinion.
For me, Eden Lake gets a 4/5 dooyoo star rating only losing one star for a couple of frustrating moments that I mentioned earlier in my review. Available online from Amazon for just £5.00 this is a bargain price for a brilliant film and definitely comes highly recommended by me.
Thanks for reading my review.
I watched this a few weeks ago and now that I have had time to let the dust settle, I thought I'd review it and urge you to see it. If you're bored of the 'Saws' and the remakes of the eighties slashers, then 'Eden Lake' serves up some much needed mayhem.
Loved up couple Kelly Reilly and Michael Fassbender (interesting name) are having a romantic break in the woods, as you do. They have chosen to head to the delightfuly picturesque Eden Lake. A perfect location to get all loveydovey and indulge in each other. The film has barely been running for a few minutes until they run into a group of chavvy types, who are also by the lake, blasting out music way too loud from their stereo. Fassbender's character Steve intervenes and gets a mouthful from the gobby gang. He retreats back to his partner and they struggle to get on and enjoy their break.
It isn't long before they run into the gang again and a nasty 'misunderstanding' results in a game of cat and mouse in the deep woods. The teens are not your normal everyday chavs, they wield knives, they chase and they maim. They are animals, to put it bluntly. The couple's holiday turns into a living hell as they fight to stay alive and become lost in the woods...
This is one of the most gripping edge of your seat thrillers I have ever seen. Reilly and Fassbender are believable and also very likeable, which makes you sympathetic with them straight away. The kids are really really good, especially Jack O'Connell (Skins) who is the leader of the pack. He is genuinely scary, turning in a vivid and psychotic turn.
Effective use of locations is made, with most of the action taking place in the woods. There are no moments where it lulls and the glossy soundtrack lifts the tension to the hilt. Does it come unstuck anywhere? Only in the ending, which might leave mouths agape, but so much the better for it. Go and buy it, it's brilliant.
It has been described as the most disturbing British movie for a generation; a generation is a long time! If you think back however where has the British horror - thriller movie been for years, in the annals of global popularity? The last time a British movie was spoken about with any level of controversy was back in '79 with The Long Good Friday or '73 with The Wicker Man. There is a buzz however about Eden Lake, the usual UK horror festivals have been alight, many of which opened with Eden Lake. Yet despite all this buzz nobody talks about Eden Lake, unless of course they make reference that the likes of Saw and Hostel cannot even begin to hold a light to the movie. For a horror movie enthusiast this is all that is needed to draw you in to the magic of a movie.
Eden Lake is not new territory, it has echoes back through the cinemas history; but it also echoes back to real events that we all hear about daily when we read or hear the news. And this is the thumping heart of Eden Lake, while it does push some boundaries to the limits of your imagination; its roots are firmly planted in something very real and believable. All the way through the movie you are blatantly aware that what you are seeing could really happen, and that makes viewing the movie all the more painful.
Puffball star Kelly Reilly takes what essentially is the leading role of Jenny, in the year since Puffball was made the actress has matured and grown, here as a school teacher all day long she has to show a stern front and that moves out of her work life into her personal life. Casting this fact aside however the character of Jenny has a fun side too, she longs for a active social life, but this weekend while her friends are off enjoying weekends in Paris or out clubbing, Jenny's boyfriend Steve (Michael Fassbender) is taking her further north to a deserted quarry, soon to be a luxury housing development settled around a man built stretch of water to be known as Eden Lake.
Eden Lake is in no hurry to tell you it's tale of horror, instead opting to show you the life of this young couple in detail, working through their characteristics meticulously, they speak on behalf of the viewer almost reading their minds when showing what is ethical. Whether it's right or wrong, Jenny and Steve find that they have enraged a small gang of teenagers who live in the village near Eden Lake. These young thugs are in no mood however to throw a few sarcastic words or comments within minutes of the two groups colliding Jenny is fleeing to get help, and Steve is tied to a tree stump while each of the teenagers takes turn to cut him in different levels of severity with a knife.
Eden Lake gets under your skin and makes you angry even before things go wrong, just the presence of these kids is enough to get your emotions running. When a cat is out of control and acting against its owners you call it feral, a word that is pretty well suited here to describe this group of kids. It's easy to get very angry watching the movie, again because you know in the world there are small pockets in which this sort of thing can happen.
You need to have a very strong constitution in order to successfully survive Eden Lake even as a viewer, when you have got over the aspects of visual horror that put the likes of Hostel to shame, there is the terrible emotional anguish that follows, you won't be able to believe the truly horrible things that are happening in the movie, and as a result Eden Lake is a movie you will never be able to forget.
It's not all good; there are aspects that just do not ring right, what would you do in a situation like that? You'll think of a hundred and one solutions on how to get out of a variety of predicaments, and it will annoy you that Jenny and Steve never had the forethought to do the same.
The character of Brett played by This Is England actor Jack O'Connell is pretty hard to swallow, as the most vengeful teenager you will ever encounter he is a pretty good actor for the role visually, verbally though is a different matter. The actor stumbles with his accent one minute adopting a West Midlands accent, the next a bit Geordie, before moving on to being a proper East Ender, and this is very distracting. All the other teens do a pretty good job in their respective roles, but O'Connell sticks out for all the wrong reasons.
Director James Watkins has delivered a masterpiece in horror and secured himself in the history books as one of the most influential directors of our time, and with his debut feature. The name maybe familiar to you because Watkins also penned the movies The Descent, Gone, and My Little Eye as well as Eden Lake, its proven here that the man can not only write a good story, but physically deliver it too.
The wonder of Eden Lake is that in your heart you know where the story is going, and Watkins knows this, trouble being he does not want to give you what you mind is telling you will happen; he wants to take you places that you never thought possible. And on this basis Eden Lake sits at the number one spot of horror movies for the 21st century in my book, it's a real classic.
The DVD is available to buy for around £5, the Blu-ray available for around £10, the extra fiver investment is a better option because the definition is amazing compared to the DVD. This is a movie that is best suited the high definitio format.
This is a great Film 4 2008 British Horror flik written by James Watkins that has a great British cast.
The story is about a young couple Jenny (Kelly Reilly) and Steve (Michael Fassbender).
Jenny is a nursery teacher and Steve her boyfriend asks her to go away with him on a romantic break, the location is a magical desserted lake (Eden Lake) and Steves intention is to propose to Jenny over the weekend.
The couple soon discover the Lake is not as tranquil as they thought and find themselves the victims of a gang of yobbish youths who for no reason decide they will steal the couples belongings and car leaving them stranded in an isolated location.
What they soon discover is that the youths led by a brilliant Jack O Connell (Brett) are not just interested in stealing their belongings they seem to get a kick out of inflicting pain on people.
So begins a total gory and grusome movie as we see the couple try to evade the gang.
If you love horror movies with graphic scenes you will love this with brilliant acting and a great story line as well as some very harrowing scenes and not a happy ever after ending.
Its 88 minutes of edge of your seat nail biting tension.
Currently available from Amazon U.K for £4.98 with free postage.