If movies have taught me anything about teenagers, it’s that the world is a doomed place once they grow up. Eden Lake, a movie about a couple going tenting near a lake, who become targets for some absolutely evil teens, is a suspense laden movie and one that will make you feel so freaking angry by the end, you’ll probably never want to have kids and if you already do, well, I’m sorry…
Short nitty-gritty plot description from IMDb is as follows: Refusing to let anything spoil their romantic weekend break, a young
couple confront a gang of loutish youths with terrifyingly brutal
Sometimes a movie like Eden Lake rolls through and I hear a few positive words on it and I always tell myself I’m going to watch it someday. Cut to 5 years later and I’m finally turning the movie on. In a case like Eden Lake though, I’m glad I finally did convince myself to give it a watch, as the positive words were rightfully justified. Eden Lake is a tense thriller, one that’s going to bring a little rage to the service. Come the end, you may feel betrayed and angry at the movie, but I consider that a job well done.
Before we get into the meat of the review, I will warn you I do dive into spoiler territory a few times. I usually don’t like to do this, but in Eden Lake’s case, it was inevitable. So, you’ve been warned.
The gist of the story is about a loving couple, Steven (Michael Fassbender) and Jenny (Kelly Reilly), who are heading out to an old quarry called Eden Lake, to spend the weekend camping. When they arrive, everything is peaceful and tranquil, but it isn’t long before it’s all shattered. A group of teenagers show up at the lake and after the couple confront the teens over some unruly behavior, everything starts to spiral out of control quickly. A weekend of fun turns into a game of cat and mouse and the hope of escaping the woods alive, is chipped away, one terrifying encounter at a time.
It’s not that I have anything against the youths of today, but man, movies sure do like to portray them as evil spawns of Satan, who you just want to squash under your boot. The kids in this movie are so freaking annoying and just plain awful, that I’m rooting for our couple to take revenge on them and walk away unscathed, but you just know that ain’t going to happen. No, Eden Lake has it out for people who like a story to end on a positive note. It will take any small glimmer of hope you have and crush it and throw it back in your face. Our couple are established at the beginning as being loving people, in a relationship that feels grounded and real, which only makes the traumatic events that unfold even harder to witness. The teenagers on the other hand are shown as being cruel human beings, who will do anything to get a rise out of you. The town that neighbors the lake, is home to a village of inconsiderate
and moody people, who will turn on you in an instant. For example, Steve
asks a waitress, who only moments ago was all smiles, if she knows who
the kids are, as the kids just slashed one of their tires. The waitress
immediately stops smiling and dead pans the line, “they’re not my kids.” The movie shows in way, that it’s almost not the fault of the children, that they act like complete assholes, as even one of the kid’s father, is constantly berating and beating him. Monkey see, monkey do.
I’m so going to spit in your food now.
The movie falters in a few areas, with a handful of asinine decisions from our leads and a few too many coincidences. There were several times in the movie, where I thought to myself, if only they would take their time, they could easily get out of this situation. Who knows though, if I was in the same spot, I would probably panic as well and make some real dumb decisions. Still, in movie land, these come off as annoyances, but not something that detracts from the overall experience. The only other thing that might spoil the “fun”, is the ending, which from reading about the movie online, is much hated by a lot of people. As for me, I feel it’s definitely one that will leave you feeling empty and annoyed inside. Justice is not served and with the amount of pain and torture these people and yes, even you, are put through, not providing even a smidgen of hope, leaves you feeling dead inside once the credits roll.
Eden Lake is a not a happy, ride off into the sunset type of movie, but one about bad parenting and blind ignorance going too far. Even with an ending that will leave you pissed, the suspense of not knowing what is going to happen next and the feeling that this may not end well, ratchets up the tension to a level that will make you feel uncomfortably angry, which in this movie’s case, is a good thing.