Eden Lake is one of those horror films that, for some reason, a lot of people don’t know about, but definitely should. While it isn’t that original of a story and for the most part follows traditional horror movie guidelines, it does offer up a modern slasher film that delivers on fear with exceptional actors, the right amount of gore, and a fast-paced, engrossing story.
We have heard this plot a zillion times before: An attractive couple take a weekend getaway in a secluded area with no cell phone service, and what starts out as an idyllic weekend turns into a blood-soaked, summer slay-fest. Somehow, this familiar story works SO well in this instance. It helps that we care about the main characters, Steve and Jenny, played by Michael Fassbender (sigh :)) and Kelly Reilly. I’m a huge fan of Fassbender and think he is one of the best actors of this decade with his stellar character portrayals in Hunger, Shame, 12 years a Slave, and many more. It also doesn’t hurt that he is pretty perfect to look at. Kelly Reilly is also captivating with her unusual beauty and many roles under her belt. This pair plays a believable couple and even more believable victims to a clan of local teenage hoodlums.
What begins as annoying hounding and inconsideration by terrorizing teens, turns into something much more serious and sinister. This movie takes a page from Ils (the 2006 French, horror-thriller that inspired the frightening American film, The Strangers) with bored teens as psycho killers. These asshole kids have a bleak future with nothing to lose and have no qualms torturing this innocent couple to the extreme limit. These scenes are so graphic and breathtaking, you have to remind yourself that it is not real. I think the real reason why this movie is so effective is not because of the arresting violence and gore, but because what these kids are capable of is so astounding.
The tables do turn though when Jenny fights back. Director James Watkins loves blood and badass chicks, which makes sense if you know that he directed The Woman in Black and The Descent 2. The Descent 2 is all about fierce females covered in blood from head to toe, and Jenny in Eden Lake is no exception. This movie deserves to be an instant classic for its brutal mentality and ability to push the envelope in every aspect. It belongs high up on the list with other British horror hits like The Descent, 28 Days Later, Mum & Dad, Kill List, and Creep. If you haven’t seen this movie yet, I suggest you drop whatever you are doing and watch it now. You will not be disappointed!
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