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Eden Lake - Realistic Or Entertaining
Eden Lake (DVD)
Member Name: benfipa
Eden Lake (DVD)
Date: 27/08/12, updated on 28/08/12 (21 review reads)
Advantages: Good acting and somewhat entertaining
Disadvantages: Not very realisic, and gratuitous violence.
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..
Summary: Entertaining if rather unconvincing horror, with the acting generally quite good