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Eden Lake (2008)

July 8, 2010

7/10 Tire Fires

About as brutal as they come.

Eden Lake is about a British couple who head out to the countryside for a romantic weekend getaway and everything goes just peachy for all of five minutes until they start getting accosted by a gang of dickhead teens who eventually vandalize their car and leave them stranded in the woods for no real reason at all. So the lovely couple confront the daft punks, the meeting does not go very well, the shit immediately hits the fan and they soon find themselves fighting for their lives.

It’s the debut effort by one James Watkins, and I don’t think a whole lot of people saw it to begin with let alone know who the hell James Watkins is, but when it comes to horror movies, this evil bastard is hard to forget. It probably falls somewhere in the vacinity of Hostel mixed with Children of the Corn, only all the kids wear tracksuits, say the C-word a lot and probably watch Kids a lot.

See, this here isn’t a scary movie, this is a horror movie. It’s twisted, it’s effing vicious and what it lacks in scenes that pop out of nowhere and make you scream like a little bitch (or is that just me?), it goes all-out in the jaw-on-the-floor department. Watching adults torture adults can be bad enough, and adults torturing children is a whole ‘nother whacked out ball game, but children torturing adults/children torturing children can prove to be a pretty unsettling medium when you push the envelope to the point of tearing it right in half.

I can’t give away any of the specific scenes here that made my good buddy Fred have to re-evaluate me as a non-homicidal maniac after I suggested he sit down to watch it with me, because that wouldn’t make me much of a bloodhungry film critic worth turning to, but trust me, this stuff is Bonkers. In one aspect, it’s kinda hard to like this movie and even go so far as to award it a 7 given some of the deviant shit it brings to the table, but all its qualities that might trigger your gag reflex are also the ones that make it work as well as it does. 

And therein lies the drawback to Eden Lake, that it’s almost too damn nuts for it’s own damn good.

If our protagonists were running from ghosts, goblins or leprechauns, whatever, it’s just a movie, but since it’s all human-on-human violence that’s continually upping the ante on itself, it feels a lot more realistic than I expected it to be. There is a point, actually a couple points, where I can imagine viewers turning this off and immediately booting up a Care Bears DVD in the hopes of balancing out what just destroyed any last trace of innocence lingering around in their souls, but for those of us with iron stomachs and a healthy confidence that England’s youth aren’t actually this warped, you might just see the appeal.

Our man gal is played by Kelly Reilly and considering the stuff she gets put through by Watkins over the course of 90 minutes, she ends up being pretty convincing as a borderline badass by the Third Act.  Never seen her in anything before, but she’s A-okay.

And we’ve also got good ol’ Michael Fassbender as her fiancee-to-be, and even though he’s fine here, I’m turning into quite the Fassbender fan. That dude kicks ass.

But, folks, Eden Lake is no effing joke. It’s definitely not for everyone, but if you’re jonesing for some funked up shit, this is gonna whet your appetite like a Thanksgiving dinner. I don’t tend to have conversations about movies the way I did in the wake of witnessing this bloodbath, but they were short, sweet and I couldn’t help but feel like everyone hated me a little for introducing it to them even if they all liked it. So see it, be appalled by it, recommend it to your sicko friends and revel in the terror. That right there is the mark of good horror.

10 Comments leave one →
  1. July 8, 2010 4:38 am

    …and what a damn haunting, miserable, life-defeating payoff!

    Like you said – it is difficult to ‘like’. The film definitely gets under your skin. My problem with it is it’s supposed to be an expose on British ‘chav’ culture created in part to our last government’s ASBO cautions. These ASBO’s were supposed to be curfew and other limitation orders on Britain’s unruly youth – essentially, the prisons are full so we’ll just leave you in the community. But Watkins takes this idea and basically goes for worst case scenario. The ASBO kids are mainly those that smoke behind bike sheds, truant from school, and at the very worst, ‘happy-slap’. They don’t go around torturing, nor do they have the murderous intelligence to always be one step ahead like Michael Myers.

    Don’t get me wrong. It scared me behind the sofa. It felt very close to home. I think it was filmed about 20 miles from where I live. But for the most part it felt like torture porn without any real substance.

    • July 8, 2010 6:35 am

      Was THIS close to using the phrase Torture Porn in the review. Can totally understand that. Didn’t know that about it being an expose kind of movie, interesting, but man does he go for the worst of the worst case scenarios.

  2. khurram hameed permalink
    July 8, 2010 6:13 am

    watch “the children “(2008) and review it…it has some what same story line…

    • July 8, 2010 10:43 am

      Never heard of it, will check it out though. Thanks for visiting!

  3. July 9, 2010 1:19 pm

    I saw a preview for this before the Sean Bean movie Outlaw (not worth it btw) and thought this looked weird. Like The Descent level of gore?

    I assumed the movie would have been about 10 minutes long. Once Fassbender goes, (paraphrasing of course) “I’m not going to be pushed around by some kids” I thought he’d take off his belt and start smacking some adolescent behinds:P Fassbender is the man!

    • July 9, 2010 2:13 pm

      Definitely on par with Descent gore, only without the cave monsters. Some evil shit, man. Apparently it runs at an hour and a half it’s pretty nuts throughout. Would’ve loved to have seen Fassbender go to down on those kids like Pootie Tang, but unfortunately for him, it’s more the other way around the whole time. But Fassbender is totally the man.

      Worth a watch. Pretty crazy stuff.

  4. October 19, 2010 12:20 pm

    I was really disappointed in this actually. This is one of those movies where it’s the main characters who do it to themselves. Depressing as all get out and just another reason I’ll never go camping in an isolated place. Oh and don’t mess around with redneck English locals or their idiot kids for that matter; they should have stayed in the city!

    • October 20, 2010 1:23 pm

      Oh man, I blame those fuckin’ English kids. They were the worst. I wouldn’t mind offing that dog had I been in Fassbender’s shoes either.

  5. abandonedlove permalink
    September 9, 2013 8:23 pm

    Torture porn?????? In a movie without tits at all??????
    Just the tiiiiiniest dick ever for a split second and not in any torturous scenes.

    Constant cliches and predictable shit like the van driver being one of the chavs, climbing a roof twice your height without making a sound in 3 seconds, obvious killing of the “sorry” kid, obvious car crashing, obvious fake jump scare in the tent at the start.

    After trying to shock the audience in a movie where the most violent thing is 2 tiny cuts that are hardly bleeding, would it have been so bad to have the woman brutally murder all the kids and THEN go to the parents house and kill herself in the bathroom with the razor because of her guilt. Then when none of the kids come home the parents find the woman in the bathroom and realise whats happened (that probably needs the biggest suspension of disbelief cos they’re that stupid) and they violently kill each other. Everyone dies the end.

    Or the woman stays in the woods after killing all the kids and has turned feral and lives with the burnt corpse of her fiancee and keeps the heads of the murdered kids and calls them her own kids and lives with them.(though they would have to do worse than throw stones at her to warp her mind that badly)[speaking of which, how come the kids had loads of stones just lying on the ground to throw at the car and the woman didnt have an arsenal of stones to chuck at the kids when she was wimpily watching her fiance take tiny cuts while tied up](which he could have broke free of before he took the cuts but for some reason he sat there)

    3rd worst film of all time after Silent House and Premonition.

    In a sentence: A load of offscreen, petty violence, made worse by the ridiculously annoying chavs who ‘acted’ the terribly predictable plot.

    • September 12, 2013 1:17 pm

      I fear there’s been a misunderstanding. I don’t mean porn in terms of naughty bits and such, I mean jamming a box cutter into someone’s mouth and turning kids into tire fires. Torture porn, yo. Adorable stuff.

      Been a good while since I saw this one, so I can’t exactly recall all these examples of cliches and such. Sounds like you weren’t a fan, and that’s a-okay by me. Not exactly the most “likable” movie I’ve seen in recent memory, regardless of how you interpret that word. Still, sounds like you’ve thought quite a lot about how it could have been improved upon. Good on ya’! That one with the woman turning ferile sounds pretty brutal though, not sure that would have made the situation any better.

      Anyhow, sorry to you hear didn’t like it, man. Can’t win ’em all. Then again, glad to finally know what a “chav” is. Thanks!

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