There are movies that stay with you and then there are movies that fucking stay with you. Featuring relatable characters and disturbingly plausible situations, Eden Lake is one hell of a movie. Unlike many British horror movies, this one doesn’t have an ounce of humor. It’s frighteningly realistic and intense with an atmosphere that gets increasingly uncomfortable as time goes on. In that sense, it kind of reminded me of Ils, but this is still a different beast altogether. Perhaps Frontière(s) is a better example.
Eden Lake is powered by phenomenal performances not just by our cute couple played by Kelly Reilly and Michael Fassbender but also by the rest of the cast. This is the first time I saw Jack O’Connel and I immediately knew he was going to be a great actor. I hated him here that much. All of this was possible because of superb character development. This is the first movie writer and director James Watkins made and I sense we can expect more good stuff from him.
There are three important elements here: the young couple, their attitude towards the world, and finally the world’s response to that attitude. The couple aspect brings us closer to the characters since almost all of us have gone somewhere with partners. Their attitude frighteningly seems to be morally and otherwise sound and right, however, the world’s response is brutal and relentless. The identification with characters and their system of values makes Eden Lake that much more engaging.
Jenny and her boyfriend Steve are looking forward to spending some time together in the English countryside this weekend. Steve is especially excited since he’s about to ask Jenny to marry him. He’s keeping the whole thing as a surprise hoping to pop the questing at just the right time. He chose a perfect location for this, a secluded but stunningly beautiful lake he’s been to before. However, things are about to take a turn for the worse.
Eden Lake is sometimes even unpleasant to watch because of the intensity and shit, but it still makes you really excited. You will keep thinking if I was him or her I would do this or that. It also makes you wonder about the society we live in and its issues, especially with the younger generations. Not that this is a recent problem as things like this have been happening since the dawn of time. And they’ve been happening all over the world.
I think that by now you already just about know where the story will be going but Eden Lake has a couple of surprises in store for you. I admire the bravery of a novice filmmaker to make these calls, calls that placed Eden Lake in the top-tier of British horror movies. Additionally, it’s technically flawless, so you better check it out as soon as possible.
Director: James Watkins
Writer: James Watkins
Cast: Kelly Reilly, Michael Fassbender, Tara Ellis, Jack O’Connell, Finn Atkins, Jumayn Hunter