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Eden Lake reviews

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Eden Lake reviews

Post by Admin on Fri Dec 04, 2009 11:52 pm

Since Eden Lake was another film that wasn't out in a good release, we'll put the reviews here.

http://jaidenjames.blogspot.com/2009/12/eden-lake.html

Thursday, 3 December 2009
Eden Lake

I can't ever call a movie the best as i've seen far too many good ones although the s$#! ones always outweigh the good. But when a film exceeds the word great I take notice, Eden Lake is really amongst one of my highlights since i began watching films from a critical view point, i never knew there was a genre called art horror but this easily fits the title. I love home grown goods when they are good and when they are credit is given where credit is due as in this country it's sad but its true but the arts mainly relies on the government's hand outs from it's various divisions.
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Re: Eden Lake reviews

Post by Admin on Sat Dec 12, 2009 6:27 pm

http://kameronaloud.wordpress.com/2009/05/12/i-love-a-good-horror-film-or-four/

I love a good horror film, or four.
May 12, 2009

I’ve blown up my Netflix queue recently with a load of horror films. The first wave was fantastic!

Eden Lake

It started with the British indie thriller Eden Lake by director James Watkins, starring Kelly Reilly and Michael Fassbender. The film is about a young couple off on a romantic holiday on a secluded lake (soon to be condos). While trying to relax and have a good time, the couple are disturbed by a gang of local youths. Things quickly turn terrifying after a confrontation leads to a fight for survival as the young couple tries to escape their callous tormentors.

From the moment this film started I was on edge. It didn’t take long before we were introduced to the characters and were left to worry about what’s going to happen. The film had me feeling very disturbed in some parts to see the how vicious the gang’s leader (Jack O’Connell) could be, a kid at that!. The ruthless chase through out the woods was terrifying and it leads to, what I believe, is a good ending. I definitely went to purchase this 5 minutes after the DVD player was shut off. I highly recommend this for anyone looking for a good low-EW! high-AHHH! horror/thriller.
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Re: Eden Lake reviews

Post by Admin on Sun Dec 13, 2009 4:48 am

http://www.nouse.co.uk/2009/12/08/eden-lake/

Eden Lake

December 8, 2009
Declan Taggart

Film: Eden Lake
Director: James Watkins
Starring: Kelly Reilly, Michael Fassbender
Runtime: 91 Mins
Rating: ****

Knife crime; gangs; drugs; under-age drinking; immigrants; the European Union dragging their feet; handing out abortions left, right and centre… Well, maybe not that last one. But even then, and in a genre noted for neither subtlety nor liberalism, Eden Lake is a film recognised more for right-wing politics than as one of the finest Brit-horrors of the last ten years. Which, frankly, is a damn shame.

Its plot is simple – hoodies go a-hunting – and its violence extreme (more than one person is doused in petrol and set alight), but the film is an education in suspense that many modern directors would do well to ponder. Prodigious amounts of tension are eked from the same hoary slash-and-run routines that can so easily make for a Wrong Turn or House of Wax.

Just as importantly, the film offers a surprisingly affecting emotional premise for its characters’ actions and a roster of startling performances, further elevating Eden Lake above simply pornography. It’s only serious, but unavoidable defects are the genre clichés and the almost self-parodic finale – abandoning the sensitive approach of earlier scenes for an over-simplified, reactionary sound-bite.

Yet for the majority of its economical running time, Eden Lake frames as claustrophobic a nightmare as any of its horror forebears. Its unflinching gaze lends its politics an authenticity and urgency more disturbing than the violence itself. It is brilliantly crafted, explicit and ruthless; so much so that some may find themselves unable to watch to the end – not necessarily a bad thing. Disturbing, topical and terrifying in equal measures.
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Re: Eden Lake reviews

Post by Admin on Wed Dec 16, 2009 5:35 pm

http://www.filmguide.co.nz/2009/12/16/eden-lake/

Eden Lake
Posted by admin On December - 16 - 2009

It has to be said, for all the glitz and glamour of Hollywood (or maybe because of it), no one does adrenaline-pumping horror-thrillers like the British.

Eden Lake starts out like any other stereotypical horror film, and because you know what’s likely to happen, you start the film screaming (hopefully just in your head) at Jenny and Steve, a city couple going away for a long weekend. Screaming at them for driving so far just to get to some idyllic, secluded lake, when they could have just as easily gone somewhere closer (and safer!!).

But this is a horror, and as such, an isolated place with no easy means of escape is essential.

The film takes a little while to help you get over this initial reaction and easily draws you into the routine of life, hinting at what comes next without really letting you in on the secret. In fact, the film teases you, almost having you believe at one point that these happy urbanites will escape the weekend without incident.

Of course with this being a horror, that’s not an option. But still, the way the film is crafted is stunning, as it draws you in, gives you glimmers of hope, then dashes them, some time subtly, mostly not.

The real prize with Eden Lake however is that unlike some of the genre’s American cousins, everything is relatively normal. There are no inbred mutants looking for human flesh, no historical serial killers risen from the dead, no pathological mountain men and not a zombie or vampire in sight.

In fact – other than this being a horror film – there are no reasons for the weekend to go so drastically wrong. It all comes down to a minor run in with some local kids and an accident. The proverbial straw that broke the camels back and a large dose of mob mentality.

But once that straw is broken, all hell breaks loose and the viewer is thrown into an adrenaline laced ride that rockets through the depths or despair to the dizzying heights of hope, all whilst staying firmly in the realms of believability. The sheer terror of knowing that this kind of situation is possible, and on some scale has happened numerous times before, makes for a chilling edge to a solidly scary film.

Eden Lake shares some of it’s terror with that of Funny Games, but delivers a bigger and better punch, producing the right balance of character, action and splatter on par with other British masterpieces such as Donky Punch and Hush.

Reviewed by: Jonathan Read
Rating: [R18] Contains graphic violence and offensive language
Release Date: 15/10/2009
Audio tracks: Dolby 5.1, Dolby 2.0
Languages: English
Genre: Horror, Mystery/Thriller
Subtitles: English (Hard of Hearing) subtitles
Runtime: 87.0 mins
Format: DVD, Region 4 (PAL)
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Widescreen
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Re: Eden Lake reviews

Post by Admin on Mon Dec 28, 2009 6:09 pm

http://zolasmoviepics.blogspot.com/2009/12/eden-lake-2008-r-3-stars.html

Saturday, December 26, 2009
Eden Lake (2008) R - 3½ Stars
Now here's a fairly decent scary movie. It has the same theme along "Last House on the Left," but instead of violently and sexually abusing young teen girls, this one at least picked on someone their own size. The acting is never award winning in most of these type movies, but I liked the fact it used little known actors which made the story more believable. A young couple in love looking for a little privacy on their vacation, encounter a pack of thugs who terrorise their private time together.

Nursery teacher Jenny (Kelly Reilly), and her boyfriend Steve (Michael Fassbender), are staying at Eden Lake to get away from it all on a romantic weekend getaway. Steve wants everything perfect as he is planning on proposing to Jenny this weekend. Instead, their quite romantic lake front setting is interrupted by a group of obnoxious teens along with their threatening dog. The group of teens are playing their music too loud and making comments about the couple, provoking Steve to intervene. But this disrespecting mob, steals the couples car leaving them stranded in the woods. But when Steve accidentally kills the gangs favorite dog, the couple find themselves fighting for their lives as Steve is taken hostage while Jenny flees into the woods for help. Little does she know, she has landed at the home of the parents of the boys.
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Re: Eden Lake reviews

Post by Admin on Tue Jan 05, 2010 1:57 am

http://welcometoclubsilencio.blogspot.com/2010/01/ive-always-depended-on-kindness-of.html

Monday, January 4, 2010
I've Always Depended on the Kindness of Strangers

Survival horror can be a tricky but terrific genre. Able to tap into powerful human instincts and nature's savagery with taut, simplistic thrills, they're often just as likely to provide blank-slate characters for audience projection and one choreographed set-piece after another. Eden Lake (2008) does indeed do much of the same, but with enough awareness and angle to toughen the blow: its heavenly setting will inevitably become a bleak battleground. Kids are burnt and bludgeoned, yuppies are forced to hide in feces; such is this hard-hearted tale of human nature that's rotting and left for dead. A once majestic natural quarry is now the site of a dumpster filled with s$#!.

A pretty preschool teacher (Kelly Reilly) plays peekaboo with her toddlers, only to be given the greatest sense of irony later as she hides from a group of traumatizing teenagers armed with box-cutters and videophones. James Watkins debut is an interesting comment on the "killer kids" genre that we've seen more readily in recent years, most notably a film like Ils (Them) or even Larry Clark's Bully. While these unfeeling adolescents (or "hoodies" if we're being properly British) are knowingly given few characteristic quirks, the film still makes a point to comment on a society no longer dependant on the kindness of strangers.

Don't be a stranger, Michael Fassbender.

Our attractive young couple (Michael Fassbender in swim trunks!) at the center of the chaos has their parking spot stolen, suffer kids playing loud music, bikers cutting them off in an intersection, boorish bartenders, and townsfolk refusing directions. Every attempt by the couple to remain civil in their surroundings is subverted into a sadistic trap as the strangers reveal their self-centered and extreme soullessness. The adolescents of Eden Lake start out as simply rude ruffians but become utterly ruthless. It's clearly something that has been passed down to them more readily than used cars and clothing in this socially malevolent, ironically named British haven. It's a film about the sins of asshole fathers revisited on their asshole sons, revisited on their asshole fathers.

Why couldn't they just be doing drugs?

The film does look fondly on human nature's will to survive amidst such an often ugly and unfeeling world, even briefly celebrating our young lovers impending engagement... Of course that's after he has already been impaled by a tree and sliced to ribbons, and she's been forced to watch. Nasty and nihilistic it is, but all the same thoughtful and tense in its manipulations. These characters exist in the same distrustful world chaos as The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Last House on the Left or Wolf Creek, where momentary glimmers of hope quickly become detours into the hellish hands of disturbed people driven by absolutely nothing. Eden Lake stays true to its most base survival instincts, but it ultimately survives this because of a sharp and savage mood of social decay. It gives the audience a beating to be sure, but then in this day and age, that's just child's play.
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Re: Eden Lake reviews

Post by Admin on Tue Jan 05, 2010 2:33 am

http://sceneahead.com/node/163

You'll Be Sleeping with the HID Kit Light After Viewing These New European Horror Movies
Posted Mon, 12/28/2009 - 16:20 by SekouPerry

Author: Kasan Groupe

A list of a few groundbreaking and exciting new European horror movies that show that American directors have some competition when it comes to terror and frights. You'll have to sleep with the hid kit light on after viewing

these films.

“Eden Lake”

The plot of “Eden Lake” isn’t anything groundbreaking: a couple set out for a romantic weekend at an idyllic and remote lake that the boyfriend grew up near. Once there they are hassled by a group of young kids who insult the couple and pop the tire on the couple’s jeep. Things only continue to escalate when the boyfriend confronts the kids again in the woods. While it may not be the most original idea, it is played out with the utmost realism and the British setting gives it a unique spin, with the acting by Michael Fassbender and Kelly Reilly will give you chills.
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Re: Eden Lake reviews

Post by Admin on Tue Jan 12, 2010 3:07 am

http://sfj70.typepad.com/life_in_the_mind_of_a_mod/2010/01/eden-lake.html

Eden Lake

Yet another list of 'The Best of" made its way to my viewing. This time around it was the top 10 horror movies of the 2000s. I was particularly interested in that one because I have always maintained that we are hard pressed to find good horror lately. Some of their choices I had seen even if I didn't agree with the selection. "Eden Lake" was one I had never even heard of so it was added to the Netflix queue and I anxiously awaited its arrival.

All nursery school teacher Jenny (Kelly Reilly) and her boyfriend Steve (Michael Fassbender) wanted was a quiet weekend alone. What better setting for such a romantic retreat than a quiet lake surrounded by a vast forest? However their blissful moment of peace is rudely interrupted by a group of unruly teens. The kids provoke the couple by stealing their belongings and a troublesome situation quickly turns dangerous not to mention deadly.

The gritty look that this movie had was something immediately noticeable. It's interesting that they chose "Wolf Creek" as one of the trailers to play before "Eden Lake" because this flick had that same feel to it. They are not as polished as the Hollywood version of horror films. It doesn't necessarily make the terror more realistic, but it does add to the intensity factor. Unfortunately, there were a little too many things that weren't very realistic about this flick.

For instance, this Eden Lake area was supposed to be the setting of what looked to be a gated community yet to be built. But if it was soon to be under construction, what was with all the trees? What kind of gated community would be built in the middle of the woods? They made it out like it was supposed to be some beautiful scenery, but the lake was rather nasty looking. It would be akin to someone putting up executive homes around Gray's Lake here in our capitol city. Although some folks probably think that's a good idea.

"Eden Lake" turned out to be filled with several similar 'WTF?' moments. I would generally be okay with that in a horror movie, but there happened to be an abundance of them here. It started with the entire reason the couple ran into the group of delinquents. They went to this place for some seclusion and romantic time. Therefore, when these rowdy kids showed up, they should have just left. It was obvious they had not respect for their elders. Sticking around meant the couple was just asking for trouble. Of course, if they had done that, we wouldn't have a movie.

Then they spend the night out there in the middle of nowhere with no type of weapons at all. Not even a hunting knife? Who does that?? Especially in an area that neither one of them seemed to be familiar with at all. Not to say that they deserve everything that happened to them because of their own stupidity, but I'm just saying. Their blatant lack of common sense did contribute to their horrible misfortune.

I will give "Eden Lake" credit for giving us a no holds barred thrill ride. It was another installment of the horror movies that popularized the 2000s with a grimier feel. They even managed to take an ending that could have been very predictable and switching it up. Only a bit though. I saw part of it coming. I just didn't expect the full turn that they made. Not a bad film overall for a British import.

My rating: B
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Re: Eden Lake reviews

Post by Admin on Thu Jan 14, 2010 2:03 am

http://rents-rentsreviews.blogspot.com/2010/01/eden-lake-james-watkins-2008.html

Wednesday, January 13, 2010
Eden Lake (James Watkins, 2008)

Eden Lake is definitely one of the films that deserves its place on the Dimension Extreme lineup. The only other film on this list that I have seen that completely delivers in every aspect is Inside. While Eden Lake is certainly not as good as the aforementioned film, it is a satisfying flick that explores the different sides of revenge and its crazy consequences with only the ending to make the rest of the film come off short.

Bitterly realistic, the story follows cute couple Jenny and Steve (Kelly Reilly and Michael Fassbender) as they take a holiday along Eden Lake. Ready for peace, rest, relaxation and the occasional bouts of sex, their happy bubble is shattered when they unfortunately rile up the leader of a gang of teenage boys, who then set their sights on catching, torturing and killing the two of them for their misdeed. While the deed itself is shown as a mere accident, the film is effective in exploring the crazed mindsets of the group, and their incessant and frightening determination. This gives a whole new look at gangs and their "property" and "turf" and the results are scary to watch.

Jenny suffers horrendously, as does Steve. The violence is sickening. There are scenes that were indeed extreme, though they did not make my stomach churn in the same way that Inside did. I think it would be a major feat if any film I've ever seen could top Inside in its extreme nature. Eden Lake delivers the goods—from a nasty encounter with a metal spike, to some sickening moments with broken glass and barbed wire, the film does not let up. The madness is everywhere. Cars are used as frightening and deadly weapons so nonchalantly that it'd be no wonder why anyone would feel chills. The screams are chillingly realistic and the horror definitely sticks around in the brain long after the film has finished.

This is a film I couldn't stop thinking about for a whole day afterward (Inside for several!) and it is sad that the ending had to ruin all of the promise the film lay forth in the preceding moments. You'll have to see it for yourself to see what I am talking about. I am sure reactions to it will remain mixed, but I found it to be generic and insulting when the film had been so good up until that point.

Still, with that one flaw, Eden Lake is challenging and thought-provoking, violent and electrifying, chilling and sadistic in almost all of the right places. I could definitely watch this one again with no problem—it's a great piece of work. Go in with an open mind and be prepared for one mad ride.

8/10
Posted by Rents at 12:56 AM
Labels: Eden Lake (2008)
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Re: Eden Lake reviews

Post by Admin on Fri Jan 22, 2010 4:54 pm

http://tonight.co.za/index.php?fArticleId=5321907&fSectionId=354&fSetId=251

Disturbing behaviour

DVD Review: Eden Lake
January 22, 2010

By Debashine Thangevelo

EDEN LAKE

FILM: If his movie outing is anything to go by, James Watkins is on his way to making an indelible impression in the film industry.

Eden Lake opens with Jenny (Kelly Reilly) and her beau Steve (Michael Fassbender) embarking on a romantic weekend away. Unbeknown to Jenny, Steve plans to pop the question at his favourite getaway.

But the idyllic setting is disrupted by a bunch of unruly teenagers. And they don't take too kindly to Steve asking them to turn down the volume on their stereo.

What starts out as a minor tiff snowballs into a violent struggle for survival when the gang captures the couple and starts torturing them.

Watkins is very calculated in setting the tone of the film. At the start, he drops subtle hints of the unrefined culture within the small community who prefer to deal with their troubles in-house. To an extent, it defends the violent behaviour of the kids.

Eden Lake will send chills up one's spine, especially in the scenes where Steve is cruelly tormented by the kids. Although gruesome, the climax is brilliant.

Bottom line - the adroit direction of the actors who do completely justice to the taut script makes for a riveting, albeit uncomfortable, watch.

FEATURES: None. - Debashine Thangevelo
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Re: Eden Lake reviews

Post by Admin on Sun Jan 24, 2010 5:34 am

http://horrorfilms.suite101.com/article.cfm/uk_film_review_eden_lake

UK Film Review: Eden Lake
A Hoodie Horror That is Every Couple's Nightmare

Jan 23, 2010 Rhys Bendix-Lewis
Kelly Reilly and Michael Fassbender are a couple terrorised at Eden Lake in a creepy little horror movie from the writer of My Little Eye.

Kids have regularly been a good source of chills for horror filmmakers. From Village of the Damned through The Omen and The Exorcist to more recent examples like The Children and The White Ribbon, pedophobic stories have always proved popular. Eden Lake, released in 2008, is a solid entry into the sub-genre that touches upon a raw and topical issue in Britain.
The Story of Eden Lake

Steve (Michael Fassbender) takes his girlfriend, Jenny (Kelly Reilly), to Eden Lake for a weekend camping trip where he plans to propose. While there they encounter a gang of youths led by the psychotic Brett (Jack O'Connell). Steve confronts the gang, asking them to turn down their music, which triggers a series of escalating altercations that leads to violence, tragedy and death.
Watkins Impresses in His Directorial Debut

Eden Lake is a tough film. When the violence starts it's an unrelenting beast designed to scare your socks off. The film's first time director James Watkins previously wrote the Big Brother style horror My Little Eye, a suitably ghastly film about reality TV taken to its most extreme. His latest carries the same uncomfortable atmosphere, deals with another topical issue and has a minimalist plot.The film follows a classic escalation structure. One negative action is carried out that then needs to be covered up through using a more extreme action. This is repeated until events have spiralled way out of control.

Abstractly the story of Eden Lake appears unrealistic. The time frame so compact, the actions so extreme, it doesn't seem believable, even with real life examples that are strikingly similar. The film has no trouble convincing though. Watkins' lean script keeps events simple, holding focus on the different characters' experiences. The story is littered with small touches of characterisation that keep it believable. His assured direction is amiable, managing to make the tired and conventional imagery of a woman wearing a dress being chased through the woods feel authentic and dangerous.
Committed Performances From The Young British Cast

The woman being chased is Jenny, a brilliant Kelly Reilly. Starting the film as a sweet nursery school teacher, Jenny is pushed beyond her limits by the gang, forced to transform into a survivor. Fassbender plays Steve as your average man. He's a caring boyfriend who's ego just can't let things go. It's Steve's actions that set the horrible events into motion, asking the central question to the audience: Would you confront the gang about their actions? It's a question and situation that cuts to the heart of a hot topic, especially given the consequences to the couple with Steve doing so.
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Re: Eden Lake reviews

Post by Admin on Tue Jan 26, 2010 5:19 pm

http://dugardprioritymovie.bfora.com/fresh-country-air-again-prove/

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Raw country expose again proves very melancholy on account of urbanites’ health in “Eden Lake,” an effectively harrowing Brit thriller-cum-horror pic whose yuppie protags’ weekend getaway runs violently afoul of the local youth. Mixing focal cautionary “For God’s behalf, don’t go camping!” monster with dashes of “Last House on the Left” and “Lord of the Flies,” James Watkins’ first trait has duly grisly pleased but is (mostly) credible enough to avoid a rote exploitation feel. Released in the U.K. in mid-September, its limited Halloween pit Stateside, with zero Weinstein Co. fanfare, will at least raise awareness for Dimension Extreme DVD launch.

Thirtyish Jenny (Kelly Reilly) and Steve (Michael Fassbender, “Hunger”) are attractive and in love, and he’s about to pop the question during their planned idyllic countryside jaunt. In other words, they’re toast. It’s his idea that they camp at a beautiful remote quarry, a public park soon to be destroyed for gated-community, luxury-home development. Their first night is spent at the nearest town’s bed-and-breakfast, around which loutish locals raise a warning bell.

The next day, they drive Steve’s SUV to the site, where there’s unpleasantness with six BMX bike-riding juveniles lolling about the lakefront. The morning after, the couple find their provisions and car vandalized. Despite that — and being threatened by one kid’s vicious Rottweiler — they return for a second night’s camp-out. Why two seemingly not dumb adults would do so is perhaps the biggest of several credibility gaps — exacerbated by pic’s gritty, realistic air — that wouldn’t raise an eyebrow in a more conventional slasher or supernatural-menace context.

There are gruesome moments as each protag endures prolonged physical harm. But “Eden Lake” doesn’t feel like torture porn so much as a rural-jeopardy thriller in extremis. Watkins (who wrote the above-average prior genre exercises “Gone” and “My Little Eye”) delivers a muscular chiller straddling action/horror terrain. Perfs are strong; tech/design aspects ditto, with Chris Ross’ widescreen lensing highlighted by effective aerial shots. David Julyan contributes a solid, traditional orchestral score.

Ending might strike some as classist, stretching pic’s negative portrait of “chavs” — a derogatory term applied to English working-class, mostly white youth associated with juvenile delinquency, soccer hooliganism and obnoxious behavior — to encompass vulgar parents who’ll do anything to protect their cubs. Of course, such white-trashsploitation is nothing new in the U.S. But said climax here has the somewhat awkward role of straddling early Mike Leigh and “The Hills Have Eyes.”

This entry was posted on Tuesday, January 26th, 2010 at 10:44 pm
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Re: Eden Lake reviews

Post by Admin on Wed Jan 27, 2010 5:25 pm

http://medianator.com/2010/01/review-eden-lake/

[Review] Eden Lake

By Trevor January 27, 2010

It seems nowdays, that a thriller movie guaranteed to “scare you senseless”, is released every week. Rarely do they live up to their promise and they mostly always follow a generic formula that has been tried and tried by the previously released films of the same genre. Then along comes Eden Lake.

Eden lake starts off as most thriller movies do and yes, it does follow a lot of generic thriller movie formulas, but it’s the content in Eden Lake that makes it so powerful. It opens with a young couple, happily in love, heading off on a trip to get away from their everyday lives. Steve (Michael Fassbender) and Jenny (Kelly Reilly) come across Eden Lake, a bushland situated just outside a small local town that is currently under development. While relaxing lakeside, they encounter some local youths playing loud music and letting their dog run amok. A situation that everyone in their lives would encounter in one way or the other. In an attempt to retain some of the lakes calming atmosphere, Steve approaches the youths and kindly asks them to turn the music down and to pay a bit more attention to what their dog is doing. After what turns out to be an extremely hostile encounter, Steve cuts his losses and goes back to Jenny. The youths eventually leave and Steve and Jenny finally relax, believing that this is the much needed getaway that they both wanted, unaware of the terror that is just hours in front of them.

Eden Lake is paced very well and the scenes in which all hell breaks loose for the couple are a great example of this. Their car is eventually stolen by the group of youths that they encountered on the beach and in a confrontation that ends up in the leader of the group Brett’s (Jack O’Connell), dog being accidentally killed. The non-stop chase that is the rest of the film is thus triggered.

Steve is eventually caught by the youths and in a particularly brutal torture scene, any thoughts of “they’re just a pack of rough kids causing trouble!” are quickly cast aside. This is where Eden Lake matures from a generic Thriller to an extremely thought provoking film. To see the young children in the film act out these scenes of violence, while not necessarily hard to watch, they have a certain impact to them due to the hesitation that some of the kids have and it’s easy to see the effort put in by the cast to make it as real as possible. Brett who is played in a brilliantly terrifying way by Jack O’Connell is the stand out role for me. From the pressure that he puts on the group to follow his every command, to his extremely brutal bashing of one of the youths that decide that they have had enough of his “game”. Jack O’Connell did a brilliant job.

As she is in almost every scene, Jenny, as a character takes some amazing turns in regards to her personality and in the end, she realises what she is capable of doing when it comes down to her survival. In one particular scene, the school teacher, away on her “relaxing trip” has to do something that would have been incredibly hard for that character in particular to do and it is played out very effectively by Kelly Reilly.

The way that Eden Lake finishes shows that it’s not just a simple Thriller/Slasher/Horror film. Eden Lake, leaves you wondering: did Steve do the right thing? Should he have cut his losses and just walked away, instead of putting himself and the one that he loves at risk? In the final and quite confronting scene in the film, you get a glimpse into the upbringing that Brett would have faced, even though the scene in particular is so simple, it’s probably one of the most powerful moments in the film.
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Re: Eden Lake reviews

Post by Admin on Sun Jan 31, 2010 9:36 pm

http://danadangerrr.wordpress.com/2010/01/31/eden-lake-james-watkins-2008/

Eden Lake (James Watkins, 2008)
01/31/2010 · Leave a Comment

Eden Lake seems to have been made for the British Daily Mail set; its plot involves a group of young hoodlums who terrorize a young liberal couple (Kelly Reilly and Michael Fassbender) on vacation in the countryside. The kids embody every single stereotype of the lower-class-gone-wrong: they listen to rap music! they talk loudly and profanely! they have a dog who they don’t clean up after! After nearly ruining the couple’s day out at the beach, and completely blowing off Fassbender’s strong paternal advice, they disappear into the woods, hopefully never to be seen again. Not so, obviously.

Not only are the antagonists stereotypes of the highest degree, Reilly’s character is a young, bright-eyed teacher who really believes in the youth of England. On the drive to the small country town where they plan to spend the weekend, they listen to radio reports about youth crime and education in England, in case it wasn’t clear enough to the audience that the country has some bad apples.

There is an unfortunate incident with the couple and the youths’ dog, and that sets the bloody action off. For the rest of the movie, there’s a lot of running, bleeding, and crying. The suspense is well-done at points, even when it’s pretty transparent. The most interesting part of the film comes near the end, when Jenny (Reilly) emerges from a bin of s$#! (literally), where she has been hiding from her tormentors. She looks at herself in a pane of glass, covered in filth, and seems to have changed. She wipes off her face and has the stony, possessed look of Willard from Apocalypse Now. She then kills the most innocent kid from the group without even a second though; although right after she does it, she gains back her humanity as soon as she had lost it.

The movie does a great job of tapping into that relatable fear of youth without boundaries. Their parents don’t care about disciplining them, they don’t care about anything, and that makes them liable to do anything. And they do, in Eden Lake. There’s a bit of clumsy, underdeveloped dialogue about how the industrial site near the beach “used to be a park,” but I was unsure if that was a social commentary or just a scarier setting to have a chase scene. While you could do worse than watch this movie, I recommend David Moreau and Xavier Palaud’s Ils as a much better example of the terrifying child tormentors movie. In Ils, the children aren’t stereotypes, they’re spectres who can’t be pinned down, and that’s much scarier than lazy social commentary on those g*&^%$# kids of today.
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Re: Eden Lake reviews

Post by Admin on Wed Feb 03, 2010 6:04 pm

http://www.reelreview.co.uk/?p=656

Review: Eden Lake
Posted by reelreview On February - 3 - 2010

When nursery teacher Jenny escapes to the country for a relaxing weekend away with her boyfriend, she is unaware of a romantic surprise he has in store. The location is perfect. A lake enclosed by woodlands, seemingly deserted. The scene is set for a picturesque proposal. But before the happy couple can enjoy the retreat, their peace is shattered by a gang of violent youths.

What begins is a shocking and unrelenting game of cat and mouse, as Jenny is forced to fight back against her aggressors.

Director: James Watkins
Starring: Kelly Reilly, Michael Fassbender
Duration: 1hr 31 mins

Despite the horror genre being my favourite, I’m particularly hard to impress. It’s not about being scared; it’s about the believability, the direction of the characters, the fear factor. This film not only impressed me, but made me hold my breath in anticipation.

This is a directorial debut for James Watkins, who also wrote the script. Brilliant dialogue, sharp, gritty scenes. The performances are superb from all the cast, including the younger actors (who give you a brutal look at ‘hoodie’ Britain).

Eden Lake is possibly one of the best British horror/thriller films I’ve ever seen, if not one of the best horror worldwide. It provides scares, chills and keeps you thoroughly engaged. Your heart pounds, as though you’re there.

Full of tension, haunting … you will be compelled from start to finish.

Rating: (4/5)
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Re: Eden Lake reviews

Post by Admin on Sun Feb 07, 2010 9:59 pm

http://wildsidecinema.blogspot.com/2010/02/eden-lake-theatrical-2008.html

Thursday, January 15, 2009
Eden Lake (Theatrical - 2008)
Optimum Releasing / 2008
Directed by James Watkins
Written by James Watkins
Cast: Kelly Reilly, Michael Fassbender, Jack O’Connell, Finn Atkins & Thomas Turgoose
Review by Philllip Escott

A happy, middle-class, couple are making a weekend getaway to Eden Lake; a soon to be ex-beauty spot in the middle of England that offers Steve (Fassbender) the perfect opportunity to pop-the-question to his girl, Jenny (Reilly). The locals are a little feisty, but they get to their destination and start to enjoy the sights… then the ‘chavs’ come along. Torment leads to the accidental death of Bonnie; the dog of the youth’s ring-leader Brett (O’Connell), soon its eye-for-an-eye as the youths hunt down the couple and punish them for the death of Brett’s dog.

Taking Britain’s fear of its youth, and forcing the audience to confront this fear, with such brutal force, makes Eden Lake a distressing watch; needless to say the movie is all the better for it. Viewers outside of the UK may not see what the fuss is about, what with two adults not being able to take care of six or seven angry teenagers, but believe me… they’re like piranha… with Burberry baseball caps! The fact that all, or most, of the events that take place in this film are taken from real-life news reports make the whole dirty affair all the more hard-hitting.

The pacing, the acting and the direction are all top-notch. It’s a film that works on every level, each working hand in hand with each other, to create one hell of gut-punch. The story does rely on clichés in part, but they are used so well that they benefit the film; the fact that this whole plan was designed by Steve to propose to the love of his life, really hits hard during the torture and other generally unpleasant scenes that follow, due to characters actually being likeable; you want him to pop that question!

What Eden Lake does best however, is hold up a mirror to British citizens, making them face their very real fear of today’s culture. Seemingly unable to grasp any aspect of it; music, fashion, language etc etc, it shows just how destructive this attitude/bias can be to all around, and for this reason it’s one of the finest slices of Brit-horror in decades; one that finally confronts modern-day concerns head-on.

Eden Lake is here and it certainly isn’t pulling it’s punches. The finale may irritate some, but it will also be a delight to the more sadistic-minded in the audience. It will make you question what is right and what is wrong, and weather or not the horrors that befall the cast could easily have been side-stepped had machismo been left behind and had common sense prevailed. Eden Lake is a serious contender for horror movie of the year folks, be sure to see it and be sure to talk about it.
Posted by Wildside Cinema at 7:41 PM
Labels: Drama, Horror, Philip Escott, Thriller
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Re: Eden Lake reviews

Post by Admin on Mon Feb 15, 2010 6:13 pm

http://exileinbriville.blogspot.com/2010/02/gay-say-eden-lake-d-james-watkins.html

Monday, February 15, 2010
They'd have been safer on Lake Placid.

Hey, Welcome to another episode of Gay Say: Film Reviews from a Gay Perspective where Today I will be looking at James Watkins' Eden Lake starring Kelly Reilly as Jenny and Michael Fassbender as Steve which is an albatross of unpleasant terror. Oddly enough, the movie is British and odd only because I don't think I've seen too many horror films hailing from Britain with British actors. Particularly not ones with such American similitude. The plot is pretty simple. A young couple decide to spend a romantic weekend at a desolate lake in the woods. We can tell right away that they are not frequent campers - and are doing this more for the adventure or experience than a favorite thing to do. The film sort of feels conventional until the point in which the terror begins. At that point, you're mostly getting to know Jenny and Steve, the couple, and unfortunately - are only wishing the best for them. This movie takes time to build up these chracters and to the credit of the actors - they really flourish in their chemistry. The sex in the film is handled with passion rather than titillation which was a really smart move on part of the director as it only makes the plot move more realistically and invests the viewer into the trip they've invested in making. These are not just random cut-out characters, boyfriend - girlfriend, pawns in a horror plot. These are real people we've met, known, perhaps even are. I'm not going to give away the reason the film is terrifying but I am going to discuss its administration.

The horror takes awhile to let loose but once it unfolds and sets into motion, it's in motion for the duration of the film. And it's pretty difficult stuff to watch. There's a lot going on here that will make you want to close your eyes and look away. But I will say that I was continously engrossed in the outcome of these characters and I wanted them to reach a safe point. I was not disappointed by the way the film itself turns out and I was actually surprised by how effortlessly it moved from one scene to the next - and even though it was terribly stressful, violent, even disgusting at points - I felt comfortable in the hands of James Watkins who I feel has fleshed out a really chilling story. Not maybe the most original, but pretty unique, if not only in the command he has over the story. Frankly, I'm not a big fan of horror. This genre usually has very talented people who are calling all the shots and are often relentless and it's a frame of mind I feel uncomfortable in. I don't like being scared or disturbed. I'm a gay man in a predominantly Christian world. You know, I get fear. But, I gave this film a shot because I am a fan of Michael Fassbender ever since he was in a film called 'Hunger', also disturbing, and 'Inglourious Basterds,' also violent and disturbing! Am I seeing a trend? And it's a movie I would recommend to people who are looking for intimidating stories that take directions they maybe did not see coming and who are impressed by horror films that try new things with the offenders.

It's also well-acted, which I gather is rare, as it's a typical complaint from the genre.

Eden Lake is a movie that sits with you after it's over. It takes a kind of reflection after the last shot, to sit awhile with, and mull over what you've witnessed. I use witness literally as the tools used to twist this into a horror film are just that: tools of observation. You are agreeing to be an observer of this sick, chilling, and totally effective horror. Good job to the actors, all of them, and to the direction from James Watkins who I will definitely watch for in the future as this was an impressive movie.

Posted by Ulee at 1:33 PM
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Re: Eden Lake reviews

Post by Admin on Tue Feb 16, 2010 10:05 pm

http://criticalmassreviews.blogspot.com/2010/02/eden-lake-2008-james-watkins.html

Tuesday, February 16, 2010
EDEN LAKE (2008) - James Watkins

Occasionally, two of my friends and I seek out the darkest, most disturbing films we can find and spend a night putting ourselves through these finds. Grim Night, we call it. Two nights ago, I had a Grim Night on my own. I got hold of James Watkins’ Eden Lake and sat down to watch it on Valentine’s night. Christ. It was dark. The British horror film manages to take common fears and magnify them with horrific results.

Jenny and Steve are a young couple, looking for a quiet weekend away at a picturesque flooded quarry which will be soon turned into a holiday resort. They pack up their four by four, bring a tent and head off. Unfortunately, the quiet seclusion is disturbed by a group of young teenagers, bent on mayhem. At first, the teens are a nuisance. But Steve’s pride leads him to confront the teenagers. This serves no purpose but to enrage the teens, who embark on a vicious vendetta on the couple.

The major success of Eden Lake is that director James Watkins creates an air of tension that is palpably uncomfortable. From the moment the first teenagers appear, you instantly feel uncomfortable, aware that these teens can turn nasty very quickly. They’re fiercely territorial, and Steve and Jenny’s intrusion on their turf will only lead to confrontation. Watkins never lets the tension drop, indeed it escalates steadily throughout the film.

The violence in the film is sporadic, but incredibly disturbing. We’re not talking ridiculous Saw-levels of blood spilling, but violence which, taken in context is quite realistic. Michael Fassbender’s performance as Steve just adds to the nastiness of the events as he (once again) delivers a brilliant piece of acting. Kelly Reilly also does very well, however, her character reacts to situations that at times feel rather contrived. But Jack O’Connell’s performance as the lead teen in the gang is by far the shining light of the film. Brett is a vicious, angry, nasty piece of work. However, there are reasons behind who he is. And O’Connell manages to convey these reasons without ever being obvious. It’s his performance with Watkins’ writing that is the success of the role.

Eden Lake is one of those nasty little films that you hear little about, but leaves quite the impression on you. It’s relentlessly grim, and the tension builds to an incredibly nasty climax. It does play on the fears of Daily Mail ASBO hysteria, but that’s necessary for the purpose of the film. It’s a great little British horror film, and shows the big-budget American films how it’s done properly. Great performances and incredibly nasty. Just the type of film to be watched on Valentine’s Day!

8/10
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Re: Eden Lake reviews

Post by Admin on Fri Apr 02, 2010 12:23 am

http://lukeallenonfilm.blogspot.com/2010/04/extreme-cinema-day-5.html

Thursday, 1 April 2010
Extreme Cinema: Day 5

Day 5: Eden Lake (James Watkins, 2008)

Eden Lake had such a profound effect on me upon my first viewing that I genuinely didn’t want to see it again. The only reason I do is because, like a lot of challenging and confrontational cinema, it’s really very good. Those going into it for the first time, however, should take heed: it is not a film to take lightly. Expect one of the toughest horror films of the last decade.

Simplistically listed in many reviews as Straw Dogs with chavs, the analogy is not as unfair as you might think. Both films deal with the nature of violence and its repercussions, questioning whether meeting violence with violence is a necessary means when threatened or whether, in the end, it simply makes things worse. The difference between Straw Dogs and Eden Lake, however, is that Eden Lake has no shame in following typical genre conventions, complete with impossibly narrow escapes from danger and characters tripping mindlessly over fallen objects.

The thing is, is that Lake deals with a very prominent and real threat in the form of a group of antisocial youths. The instigation of all the horror that follows is the simple act of politely asking them to turn their music down, something as innocuous as anything heard in the British press. How often have we heard the excuse “he just looked at me funny?” and whilst, for a while, the kids have their “fun”, things quickly get out of hand until our protagonists (Kelly Reilly and Michael Fassbender respectively) are literally fleeing for their lives.

These kids we’ve all seen before, huddled in the streets of any sh*#&% city, hanging outside McDonald’s, smoking and generally saying “fuck” lots. To walk passed them is generally intimidating if by yourself and the whole film plays on that intimidation. From the off they’re a bunch of vicious little cunts only out to cause mischief, and, true to form (they’re stereotyped in the press for reason, lest we forget) when the tables turn on them, however briefly, their response is retribution on our heroes. This leads to one of the film most difficult scenes in which Fassbender is captured and ruthlessly tortured under the watchful eye of the psychotic Brett, the group’s ringleader and only flat out nutter. Making sure he implicates his friends, he films them all taking a slice and we, as an audience, are forced to watch. As does Reilly, who, unwilling to leave her fiancée behind, can only watch and wait from a distance. It’s gruelling.

What follows is an often unbearably tense game of cat and mouse where capture will most certainly lead to an unpleasant demise. What’s worse is that from an early stage, it’s clear much of the violence will be visited upon children and this in itself is deeply problematic and makes for some seriously uncomfortable viewing. Apart from Brett, most of the kids realise they are in way over their heads and once they start dying there is suddenly a sense of sympathy for them. They are, in actual fact, just kids.

All of whom, except Brett, who is completely aware of his actions clearly doesn’t give a s$#!. He commits murder without remorse or mercy (including, in the films toughest scene, torching an innocent Indian kid) and, even upon establishing that his father is abusive and his home life rough, fails to redeem himself in anyway. Watch as he deletes the evidence of his actions from his camera phone to avoid implication with a look of stone cold indifference.

Eden Lake is a film that is impossible to like and sets out, from the start, to challenge and abuse you. Unless you have a hide of steel, it will succeed admirably. Empire stated in their review: “you don’t watch it, you survive it” and, surprisingly, the Daily Mail gave a full five stars calling it "the most socially relevant horror film in years". It’s ending is audacious in its flat out refusal to relinquish its hold and delivers one of the harshest and darkest endings of any film in years (beaten only by Frank Darabont’s The Mist in 2007) and, I assure you, you will not want to watch it again for a very long time.

And all because Fassbender asked them to turn their sodding music down.

5/5
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Re: Eden Lake reviews

Post by Admin on Wed Apr 14, 2010 2:41 am

http://sweetmysteriousfeast.blogspot.com/2010/04/movie-updates-and-reviews.html

Eden Lake (2008, UK)
SMF Rating: 4/5 stars
This British horror movie depicts a young couple, Steve and Jenny (played by Michael Fassbender and Kelly Reilly), who go on a weekend getaway. Steve plans to propose to Jenny during what he hopes will be a relaxing and picturesque weekend on the lake. What they find instead is a group of angry young teenagers who run around town picking on people, stealing, and generally causing trouble. The kids go to the lake where Steve and Jenny are camping, Steve confronts them, which begins the conflict. After the couple's car is stolen, Steve and the kids get into a violent confrontation, and Steve and Jenny find themselves running for their lives. I do not usually like horror films, and I didn't "like" this one. I didn't enjoy watching it, and I probably would not watch it again. But I must admit, this is one of the better horror movies I've seen. The pacing, characterizations, and story are very good. If you like hopeless horror movies, you might like to check this one out.
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Re: Eden Lake reviews

Post by Admin on Thu Apr 15, 2010 4:41 pm

http://younghoratio.blogspot.com/2010/04/eden-lake-review.html

Thursday, 15 April 2010
Eden Lake - Review
Eden Lake (2008)

The screen writer behind British Horror flicks My Little Eye and The Descent Part 2 made his directorial debut in 2008 with this stark, uncomprimising and unforgiving film.

The truth is by the time the end credits began to roll I felt that I hadnt just watched Eden Lake I had survived it. A very basic story told with a great deal of visceral intensity, the plot consists of everyday man Steve (played by Michael Fassbender) who takes his girlfriend (Kely Reilly) away for a seren weekend break. However a run in with a local gang of troublesome teens has their idillic getaway take a turn for the worse.

A tight script steeped in reality not only reflects a very real and frightening image of knife crime in this country but it also allows its actors the chance to really get stuck in and leave us with a memorable and striking performance. And believe me they take full advantange of this opportunity with both Reilly and Fassbender delivering very believable and engaging performances. But my hat goes off to young actor Jack O'Connell who takes centre stage as the vindictive ringleader Brett. Ranging from calm collected creep to full blown manic physcopath. He not only serves as the films backbone but as the instigator of many gut punches throughout. Despite creating a believable story Watkins also produces a very tense and claustrophobic atmosphere which only adds more credence to his excellent debut.

From the begining I was dragged into Eden Lake and despite the odd moment where the pace dies down a little too much, I felt like I had experienced something shocking. This film isnt for the feint of heart in fact at points I found myself holding my face in gut reaction in certain places and with an equally devastating ending Watkins in my eyes has created the best British Horror film in years.

9/10
Posted by Young Horatio the Brave at 18:00
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Re: Eden Lake reviews

Post by Admin on Sat Apr 17, 2010 5:04 pm

http://www.bigdaddyhorrorreviews.com/2010/04/eden-lake.html

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Saturday, April 17, 2010
Eden Lake
* * * 1/2

2008 - 91 mins. - Rated R
D: James Watkins
C: Kelly Reilly, Michael Fassbender, Tara Ellis, Jack O' Connell

Young couple camping off the chosen road are hunted by a group of kids intent on killing them.

A riveting film. Once it grabs you, it simply won't let go untill the closing credits! Intense and frightening; achieves a level of suspense throughout that is unparalleled. The role reversal in making the kids the villians and the adults the victims, makes the film all the more powerful & mesmerizing and takes it to another level. A disturbing film experience that packs a wallop. Not the type of film that is easily forgotten once viewed.
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Re: Eden Lake reviews

Post by Admin on Wed Apr 28, 2010 9:30 pm

http://ctrlaltcinema.blogspot.com/2010/04/eden-lake-2008.html

Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Eden Lake 2008

Eden Lake is a 2008 British horror and thriller written and directed by James Watkins and starring Kelly Reilly, Michael Fassbender and Jack O' Connel.
We're finishing up the blog today so I said I'd post about another film I enjoyed recently.
I really enjoyed this movie. It wasn't terrifying as the poster says, but it was definitely thrilling. Fassbender (now a big hollywood star after Inglorious Basterds) is ok in this but it's not his best role to date.
The plot is about a young couple who take a trip to Eden Lake. A place where Steve (Fassbender) went as a young child, but is now closed to the public and inhabitted by youths. As tension grows between the couple and the youths, things turn violent and a game of cat and mouse insues.
I think the idea behind the story was to show what young kids in Britain are like today and how their parents are neglecting them. The breakdown of civil life in Britain. You almost believe this could happen to you and it is plausible that there are kids out there like that shown in this movie. It's almost a gaurantee these days. There are gruesome parts in the movie and you do get emotionally involved with Jenny as she tries to get away.
You have to ask yourself why they would stay and put up with the youths but I guess if I think about it I wouldn't let some kids ruin my holiday either. That's a running theme throughout though. Stubborness and hopelessness. Even when they do stand up to the kids and fight back in the end it's hopeless. All of this stems from lack of parenting and that's the feeling we're left with in the end. That this could all happen again.
I think it's a timely movie but is never going to make enough of an impact that the writer, I'm sure, wanted. It is scary though and is full of twists and turns to keep the story exciting. The ending is a great twist too. Check it out.
Anyway that's me done with this blogging craic so signing off,
Gerry.
Posted by Ctrl Alt Cinema at 2:30 PM
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Re: Eden Lake reviews

Post by Admin on Sat May 08, 2010 11:49 am

http://bestmoviescreenshots.blogspot.com/2010/05/eden-lake-2008.html

Eden Lake (2008)

Director: James Watkins

Cast: Kelly Reilly as Jenny, Michael Fassbender as Steve, Tara Ellis as Abi, Jack O'Connell as Brett, Finn Atkins as Paige, Jumayn Hunter as Mark, Thomas Turgoose as Cooper, James Burrows as Harry, Tom Gill as Ricky (as Thomas Gill), Lorraine Bruce as Tanya, Shaun Dooley as Jon, James Gandhi as Adam, Bronson Webb as Reece, Lorraine Stanley as Nat, Rachel Gleeves as Mel (as Rachel Gleaves)

This film could easily have just been some chavs bullying people, but it is much more then that. I have watched many horror/thriller films and they have rarely effected me the way this film did. From the beginning the mood is set of this extremely happy couple living in their bliss and as most of you will know before watching this the film
is not about their happy relationship. The first thirty minutes of the film are more easy going then the rest, but still captivating. As the film continues it shocks you beyond belief, I expected gore but I didn't expect how the tone of the film would make me feel.

If you have an uneasy stomach or sometimes get emotional, prepare yourself for this film. It is gruesome but some scenes are a little too realistic which is what makes the film different. A lot of horror films similar to this lack realism so the audience cannot connect with the protagonist as easily, but Eden Lake has been made with a great deal of empathy for the couple and hate for the young kids. Seeing as there is
a strong connection between audience and the characters there is a great deal of emotion involved which is unexpected, but this shows that the film has been made very well and that the actors do their job perfectly.

The young actors who play the chavs are fantastic, and i'm not going to say fantastic 'for their age' because they are truly talented actors regardless of age. Jack O'Connell plays the ring leader of the group Brett, and he really shines. Playing a merciless hateful character is not the easiest thing to do, but if you didn't know better you would think that is how he is in real life because he is just that good. I
have been a big fan of Thomas Turgoose since he was in This is England because he is also a very talented and realistic actor and he doesn't disappoint in this film either, but he isn't in it as much as I would like. The other actors in the group are equally as talented. As for the couple they were perfectly cast and they have great chemistry, I have been a fan of Michael Fassbender (who plays boyfriend Steve) for a while but I had never really noticed Kelly Reilly before (who plays girlfriend Jenny) but she plays the character very well and hits the right emotions at the perfect time.

All in all the film draws you in, keeps you captivated, shocks you with the gore and blows you away with emotion. The best thing about it and what makes the movie special and better then most other similar films is just how real it is. You almost feel like this is happening to you, and their reactions are also real human reactions too. The film is truly great and one of the best of its genre, very impressive all around.
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Re: Eden Lake reviews

Post by Admin on Sun May 09, 2010 9:38 pm

http://thevaultofhorror.blogspot.com/2010/05/eden-lake-blood-depravity-and-competent.html

Sunday, May 9, 2010
Eden Lake: Blood, Depravity and a Competent Female Protagonist

By Paige MacGregor

What could possibly go wrong when Stephen Taylor takes his girlfriend Jenny for a romantic weekend camping trip to Eden Lake, a picturesque getaway of his childhood slated to become an expensive housing development? When the couple runs afoul of a group of delinquent teenagers and their vicious rottweiler Bonnie, the weekend getaway turns into a nightmare replete with blood, barbed wire and lots and lots of running.

Eden Lake is a 2008 British horror film that depicts the sadistic harassment endured by Stephen (Michael Fassbender) and Jenny (Kelly Reilly) at the hands of a gang of loud, vulgar teenagers. The harassment escalates until the teens leave for the night. Unfortunately, the end of the day does not mean the end of Jenny and Stephen’s suffering at the hands of the local teens—in fact, it is quite the opposite. The next day the couple’s troubles only increase, as the teenagers’ attacks escalate, becoming more and more violent and life-threatening.

Written by first-time director James Watkins (My Little Eye, Gone), Eden Lake is not a simple horror movie. As with many horror films, the gender relations depicted in Eden Lake are extremely interesting, ranging from a traditionally submissive teenage girl named Paige (played by Finn Atkins) who is loyal to the sociopathic ringleader of her group of “friends”, to the female horror victim Jenny, a debatable “final girl”, as the last woman left alive in a horror movie is often called.

Jenny is an interesting character. While she displays many of the infuriating characteristics of the stereotypical female horror movie victim, I would argue that she embodies a more competent version of this character type than traditionally present in the genre. (Whether that is necessitated by the fact that she is the only female protagonist is a debate for another time.)

We can look at both recent and classic examples of the female horror victim to explore this argument. Take Jamie Lee Curtis’ Laurie Strode character in the original Halloween: although she displays traditional female victim characteristics like poor decision making, she also manages to evade Michael Myers and survive to the end of the film. Laurie Strode is a competent female horror victim--one who, despite her shortcomings, manages to stay alive to the end of the movie.

Although Jenny may not display the same degree of competency that Laurie does, she does have the wherewithal to evade the delinquent teenagers that are harassing her and her boyfriend, Steve, longer than Steve himself does. Audience members will find themselves rooting for her survival as the film goes on, despite her apparent inability to run through the woods without falling or puncturing one of her feet on a railroad spike. But what would a good horror movie be without some gratuitous violence that works to prevent the main victims from surviving their respective plights?

Eden Lake is not only memorable for its interesting characters, but also for the degree of (realistic) violence, and the apathy toward human life displayed by the teenagers depicted in the film. There are two scenes from this film that will forever be emblazoned in my mind because of how disturbing they were to me when I first watched the film. The first is when the teens of Eden Lake use Michael Fassbender’s character, Stephen, as an initiation tool, requiring each member of the group to stab or otherwise harm him while he is tied to a post with barbed wire. The most squeamish of the teenagers—and probably the youngest member of the group—is reluctant to participate, but under threat of death he sticks a box cutter into Stephen’s mouth and scrambles it about a bit before removing it. The scene is so expertly constructed that it manages to deeply disturb viewers without explicit use of blood or gore. I still shiver when I picture it in my mind.

Alternatively, it is the blood and gore of the second Eden Lake scene permanently imprinted upon my brain that makes it so memorable. I’m the type of viewer who “covers” her eyes in a horror movie when I expect a particularly gory scene, but I managed to avoid that habit when watching Eden Lake, perhaps out of disbelief at what I was seeing on the screen. After Jenny rescues Stephen and finds a relatively safe place to hide, she attempts to treat her boyfriend’s wounds in an effort to keep him from losing too much blood and passing out. The first glimpse of Stephen’s worst injury, a stab to the side of his lower abdomen, reveals clumps of black blood oozing out from a large perforation in the skin. Stephen insists on seeing the damage, despite Jenny’s protests, and when he realizes that he’s bleeding black blood, he comes to grips with the fact that he is probably dying. That image of Stephen’s bleeding, oozing wound is burned in my mind in part because of how realistic it looks, and in part because the wound is so much more severe than audiences might expect after watching Stephen's torture at the hands of the teens.

Overall, I highly recommend Eden Lake, especially to British horror film buffs. The relatively small cast delivers excellent performances, particularly the younger actors, and the film is anything but boring. The production value and special effects of Eden Lake are exquisite, rendering the violence and depravity depicted on the screen that much more effective.
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