Wednesday, October 1, 2014
31 DAYS OF HORROR 2014-DAY 1: EDEN LAKE (2008)
An appealing young couple's weekend getaway to the idyllic British countryside turns into a one-way ticket to the abyss when they run afoul of a band of out-of-control teens and their vicious dog. Trapped in the middle of nowhere by savage, sociopathic hostiles who are locals and therefore have the home advantage, only a miracle can save the young lovers, but in these days such divine intervention is in gravely short supply...
This will be a brief review because the film's plot is every bit as simple as described and American viewers are advised to think of it as a UK answer to DELIVERANCE (1972), only several degrees more severe, intense, and downright nasty. It's the old "city slickers versus evil country bumpkins" trope writ in large, mean-spirited strokes, only done with stark realism and a growing sense that there is absolutely no way out for the protagonists. It's especially harrowing when taking into account Britain's recent social woes involving the proliferation of " Chavs," with this film utilizing that vulgar, ignorant, and loutish sub-group to maximum terrifying effect. In a society as class-based as England's, such a perceivedly-trashy and earthily tribalistic rabble is about as perfect a threat to its image and stiff upper lip propriety as an audience could hope for, and as a result EDEN LAKE is a claustrophobic and scorching masterpiece of all-too-human terror. Not for the weak, this one's recommended only for those who can take strong meat and handle frustrating acts of cruelty that'll make you want to tear your hair out and leap into the screen to kill the Chav kids with a fully-loaded nail gun. And if any of you out there have seen EDEN LAKE, please write in with your honest assessment of it. I'm curious to see what you have to say on the subject.