Short Reflections from the Silver Screen: Eden Lake
UK. 2008. James Watkins.
What makes this film so provocative and thrilling is simply because it is believable. Not much is more sincerely disturbing than a group of hooligan kids with nothing else to do than chase around tourists with knives. The concept may sound futile, but the film is excellently constructed (the acting and direction hit all the notes exactly on the mark) and one confrontation drifts effectively into another.
But they are just kids! Exactly. If you defend yourself against an aggressive kid you are bound to be charged with more than the aggressor (let alone feelings of guilt). Otherwise, we can assume Michael Fassbender (on a weekend vacation with his fiancé to be) would have ended the show long before it kicked off. Yet, what is even more frightening, is the gang leaders immortal and destructive influence on his peers. Peer pressure just turned real nasty.
A good horror film doesn’t just need to be filled with gore or atmospheric effects; it needs to deliver a fundamentally disturbing message about the repression of our society. You can be assured that Eden Lake will do just that.
*All reflections are from my film journal.