Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Eden Lake: DVD Review

Eden Lake: DVD Review

Eden Lake
Released by Madman Entertainment
Michael Fassbender, Kelly Reilly, Jack O'Connell, Thomas Turgoose
Rating: 18
If you go down to the woods today, you're in for one hell of a ride.
And a visceral shock.
Eden Lake is the tale of a London based couple, Jenny and Steve (Fassbender and Reilly) who head to the idyllic countryside for a weekend away.
The couple is happy and Steve's got a proposal in mind.
As they head to the Lake to begin their break, they find the area's being slowly turned into a building site - however, amid Steve's protestations, they end up staying after finding a beautiful flooded quarry, complete with beach.
Only they're not the only ones on the beach - and a gang of hoodies (nothing like the Reservoir Hill lot) set up camp nearby, complete with growling dog and thumping music.
Steve politely goes over and asks them to turn it down - and that's when the proverbial brown stuff hits the fan. One confrontation later - and the pair are set on a path which will see their lives ripped apart.
Eden Lake is not, by any stretch of the imagination, a comfortable film to watch - even the back says you don't watch it, you survive it. And that's none too far from the truth.
Over 85 minutes, a sadistic game of survival turns murderous and violent - with a conclusion which may leave you wanting a very stiff drink.
The problem with UK horror Eden Lake, is that at its very worst, it's all very plausible - the gang mentality's prevalent worldwide - and this latest incarnation doesn't seem like too much of a leap from the UK I remember.
All of the main cast acquit themselves well, with the strongest - and most horrifying - performance coming from leader of the yobs Jack O'Connell. If he's channeling something within him, then we should worry because his violent gang leader is psychotic and frightening in the extreme.
Sure, there are a few of the horror clich├ęs (idyllic countryside, a blissfully happy couple) but what's most unnerving about Eden Lake is how close it is to reality.
The ending's not as shocking as the filmmakers would have you believe, but quite honestly, by the time I'd sat through this, I was pretty numb and was really in no state to take another shock.
Eden Lake is not a film to recommend; it's a film which has to be seen because of its powerhouse performances - just be aware, you may find yourself appalled in many places and glad you get to turn the lights on and the film off at the end. As an experience, it's a powerfully unsettling and challenging one.
Extras: Behind the scenes, cast and crew interviews, trailers, galleries.

Rating: 7/10

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