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Eden Lake (2008)

Review by CJ

Eden Lake

Director:
James Watkins

Starring:
Kelly Reilly, Michael Fassbender, Jack O’Connell

Running time:
91 minutes

Watch this if you liked:
The Barrens

 

Dating couple Jenny (Reilly) and Steve (Fassbender) go on a romantic weekend camping at a secluded lake. When they encounter Brett (O’Connell) and his gang of hoodlums, things escalate quickly from rude, antisocial behaviour to murder, torture and betrayal.

This review contains end of plot spoilers in red text. Because ranting.

Eden Lake had a lot going for it. Let’s start with the positives.

Michael Fassbender and Kelly Reilly played their characters very well. Not only that but their characters are well developed without having to go into melodramatic backstory. You are shown (not told) that she is a teacher, they are in a serious relationship and they’re going away for the weekend. Equally well introduced is the gang of hoodlums. The area around the lake is obviously working class, they have no manners and no respect for authority.

The basis for the plot of Eden Lake is an oldie but a goodie. Camping at a lake, murder ensues. Simple yet effective. Eden Lake even mixes things up a little bit by having adults doing the camping instead of teenagers or early 20-something college students.

Despite everything Eden Lake had working in its favour, the result is a stale horror film with very little suspense, fewer scares and no real point.

‘But do any horror movies have a point?’ Bear with me and I will explain. Most horror movies say something about the human spirit. The final girl, the final couple, the survivors — they all fight throughout the film for their basic right to live. There is something reassuring about the good guys winning and the evil being defeated. When no-one survives a horror movie except the killer or killers, it begs the question ‘what’s the point?’ You’ve spent usually about an hour (allowing time for introduction and wrap up) watching these people fight to survive and they still end up dead at the end. A horror film has to be exceptional to pull off that kind of ending and Eden Lake doesn’t hit that mark. 

/endrant

With a good cast, decent plot skeleton and well developed characters, Lake Eden had a lot of potential but lacked the execution to make it an enjoyable horror film. If you want to see a good horror film set on a lake or in the woods, there are plenty to choose from that are far better.

Rating:
2 Stars

“I promise, the quarry’s fucking stunning.”

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