Monday, February 09, 2009

EDEN LAKE: A Disturbing Outing

EDEN LAKE (thriller)
Cast: Kelly Reilly, Michael Fassbender, Thomas Turgoose, Bronson Webb, Jack O'Connell and Shaun Dooley.

Writer-Director: James Watkins

Time: 90 mins

Rating: * * 1/2 (2.5 stars out of 4)

PREAMBLE: WITH more and more divorces and broken homes these days, children are pretty much left on their own to fend for themselves. This situation gives rise to the 'kiddie gangsta' problem where boys and girls dare one another to do outrageous things (read 'Mat Rempit' in Malaysia) - and record the deeds on the cellphone camera as initiation to the gangs or rites of passage.

Everyday, we read of the gruesome antics of these disaffected youths, from random shootings at US schools to hooligan knivings on Britain's streets.
British production, Eden Lake, 'documents' how mutual dislike and taunting between a yuppie couple and a gang of mountain-biking kids can escalate quickly into violence and unspeakable horrors that will change all their lives forever.

THE SKINNY: Kindergarten teacher Jenny (Kelly Reilly) and her boyfriend Steve (Michael Fassbender) leave their upmarket London neighbourhood for a romantic getaway in the English countryside where Steve plans to propose. However, as soon as they hit the village, the idyllic country settings are marred by rude and abusive locals.

These are nothing compared to a bunch of knife-wielding teens and their rottweiler whom the couple encounter at their lakeside camping ground.
A request for the youngsters to turn down the volume of their stereo music turns into a conflict that soon spirals into a blood-soaked nightmare the likes of Deliverance and the Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

THE REVIEW: Eden Lake also reminds us of a banned rape/revenge movie of the Eighties called 'I Spit On Your Grave'. Its plot is written to shock and upset, not to entertain viewers. The film will probably achieve cult-thriller status - for its torture and torturous scenes, for its gripping chases and unrelenting violence. James Watkins, working on his own screenplay in his directorial debut, manages to keep the pace taut and tensed, and piles up one surprise after another.

However, Watkins also piles up on the blood and gore - and some of the plot contrivances can be rather lame.
Reilly and Fassbender (pictured right) work well together as a young couple looking for some weekend fun and intimacy. Of course, many scenes of the latter have been sliced off by our censors, leaving us more irritated than curious.

Reilly has all the traits of a horror-movie star: good looks, fair-skinned, vulnerable and gutsy. And she manages to carry the movie.
The young, relatively unknown cast are commendable too, especially Jack O'Connell as gang leader Brett and James Gandhi as Adam, the lost boy in the woods.

THE LOWDOWN: Eden Lake is not a film that will have you walking out feeling good and contented. It can be depressing and infuriating, so be warned.


Post a Comment

<< Home