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EDEN LAKE, 2008
Movie Reviews!

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EDEN LAKE, MOVIE POSTEREDEN LAKE, 2008
Movie Reviews

Directed by James Watkins
Starring: Kelly Reilly, Michael Fassbender, Tara Ellis, Jack O'Connell, Finn Atkins, Jumayn Hunter, Bronson Webb, Thomas Turgoose
Review by Martyn Warren


SYNOPSIS:

Nursery teacher Jenny and her boyfriend Steve, escape for a romantic weekend away. Steve, planning to propose, has found an idyllic setting: a remote lake enclosed by woodlands and seemingly deserted. The couple's peace is shattered when a gang of obnoxious kids encircles their campsite. Reveling in provoking the adults, the gang steals the couple's belongings and vandalizes their car leaving them completely stranded. When Steve confronts them, tempers flare and he suffers a shocking and violent attack. Fleeing for help, Jenny is subject to a brutal and relentless game of cat-and-mouse as she desperately tries to evade her young pursuers and find her way out of the woods

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REVIEW:

First time director James Watkins decided to make his first feature film on the British youths who cause trouble and are always seen in the media as violent, out-of-control hoodlums. Although the idea of a horror film using these types of teenagers for the villains sounds interesting, the production doesnít make it a truly great British horror.

The story follows a young adult couple, Jenny (Kelly Reilly) and Steve (Michael Fassbender), as they go on a lovely weekend away to Eden Lake. But when they get there, the entire place is fenced off due to the area soon becoming a block of flats, which leads them to entering the forbidden area.

When they eventually get to the lake, they are then confronted by a small gang of youths playing loud music and Steve asks them if they can turn the volume down, which he is told to go away. They confront the same gang again after their car gets taken from them and after a fatal accident with the leaderís dog, the couple are quickly on the run from the terrible youngsters.

Although the concept is interesting and the cast were good in their roles, this is a disappointing horror film due to itís odd flaws.

The start of the film had bright lights and colours and this was good to show the coupleís affection and happiness. Although this was fine, this was used in most of the scenes and what could have been very scary scenes just simply seemed violent and made the lush woodland background really stand out too much. The characters did stand out from the background since they were either covered in dirt or dark-coloured clothes, but the setting was way too beautiful to be a woodland in Britain and I couldnít see how this could fit with any horror film with the amount of lighting and colours used.

I liked the idea of this young couple escaping through the woods that they didnít know, but the problem with the pace was that the middle section of the film didnít offer any exciting ways to block the chase. Considering that the setting is being turned into blocks of flats, they couldíve used a location from a construction site as well, but because the time is ninety minutes it didnít bother me too much. The rest of the film is paced quite oddly since the character of Jenny was being constantly chased and there was no excitement in that for me, making me bored until the unrewarding ending.

Out of the couple, Steve gets captured by the gang and so only Jenny is left to escape through the woods on her own and this gave the actress lots of screen time to show off her talent, but the development of the character isnít good enough to make me feel for her struggling. The character was quite weak for a female and the first half of the film had her rely and respond to Steve, while the second half does challenge the character to be on her own two feet. It was only at the last fifteen minutes that she turned into a stronger female and this felt too delayed to already show the characterís development, almost making her look insane. But I will admit that her actions near the end did feel good when she took revenge on some of the gang members.

The crew behind the film pulled off a lot of effects and features through the production and this was a highlight for the film, since some of the effects used didnít feel unnecessary or tacky.

For a first time director, James Watkins did a pretty good job for a low budget horror film and although he didnít fix any flaws, he was leading the concept well. I couldnít really understand why the director wanted that much lighting in the film, but his direction with the cast is what really shows, giving them nice close ups and showing of their body language well. The director also wrote the screenplay for the film and the dialogue and the actions were the main driving force for quite an uneven and bland structure. The reason why it was uneven was simply because there wasnít any development for Jenny and when a scene where she confronts a member of a gang, deals with them and none of her characteristics develop until last minute.

All of the crewmembers have really done a great job in making all of the violent and gory sequences that makes the characters look like theyíre going through horrible torture. Even though the lighting department did make the mistake of making a horror too bright, the camera people captured some great scenes and the make-up department really gave a dirty and brutal appearance for the couple and even though I would like to name everyone who was responsible for bringing the film to life, it would be too many names for this review.

Even though critics and other reviewers from the UK loved Eden Lake (dir. James Watkins), I didnít really like the film too much. The flaws I listed in this review are so visible and so obvious that they donít make the film too thrilling nor horrifying and I thought that it could have dealt with the subject matter in a better way. If you want to see a better film that deals with the subject matter better, watch Harry Brown (dir. Daniel Barber) instead.

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