Eden Lake, is a British horror gem. Directed by James Watkins it’s not just a slasher, it’s much darker and more disturbing than that.
Pleasant middle-class couple Jenny (Kelly Reilly) and Steve (Michael Fassbender) intend to have a short and sweet break at a remote lake enclosed by woodlands and seemingly deserted.
Upon arriving, their new-found peace is soon disrupted a gang of obnoxious young teenagers, led by Brett (Jack O’Connell) who revel in provoking the adults and shattering their time alone. When Steve confronts them it just riles up the teens more with the disputes becoming more nasty by the minute. After a slashed tyre leads to a near stabbing and the death of Brett’s dog, outright violence and a game of cat and mouse ensues, with little hope for any redemption for either side.
Jenny and Steve are likeable characters and you don’t want to see them suffer. Their actions and decisions are reasonable and believable, but so too, sadly, are the things that happen to them.
The acting is well done by all, particularly Michael Fassbender whose character Steve is real and heart-warming, and Jack O’Connell playing the psychotic teen leader very well. Eden Lake is fast paced with a well-developed narrative that is frustrating, exciting and tragic all at once.
Eden Lake deals with a very prominent and real threat in the form of a group of antisocial youths that many find all too intimating at times. It depicts a world that is strikingly relevant to the one in which we live, making the film that much more disturbing. The line “they’re just kids” is unfortunately not always the case.