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
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