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Dvd cover by Dimension Extreme

Horror thriller from Britain

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Tense, entertaining British thriller.

  • Sep 10, 2011
*** out of ****

"Eden Lake", like "Saw", "Deliverance", and many others before it; is marketed and consistently labeled as a horror film, but feels more like a thriller than a film of that one genre. While it does deal with things genuinely horrific, and the presence of bloodshed, it thrills appropriately and dishes out the brutality that you've come to expect. Horror sites reviewed it, praised it, and eventually lead this movie-goer to see it; and it's about time that I did so.

I enjoy thrillers, as long as they're done right and don't try to force a message onto the viewer. There seems to be plenty of commentary when it comes to "Eden Lake", yet none of it feels unnecessary or pretentious; it actually WORKS, which is somewhat of a rarity. I appreciated and enjoyed the film because it does what it does very well. The least I can do is review it positively and do it some justice; I hope I'm doing so right now.

You've got a simple idea to use for a premise: a couple (Michael Fassbender and Kelly Reilly) take a vacation to a lake area, hoping to enjoy themselves in a romantic sense, and find themselves fighting for their lives when they learn of the inhabitants of the place. In this case, those who live around the lake are a group of hoodies; violent, savage, and abusive from the moment they first come into view. The couple minds their own business; but the hoodies, they do not. Eventually, the villainous kids take their reckless acts to the next level; forcing the heroes to turn to the only choice they have left, which is fighting back.

The film doesn't do much to inspire what I'd call "sympathy" for the characters, although we still follow their desperate struggle 'till the end, for some odd reason. These aren't richly written, drawn-out characters; these are just two normal people, and this realization actually adds to the film's quality. In order for horror to work half of the time, we must imagine ourselves in the situation and think about the moral questioning that would go on during such events. "Eden Lake" will strike its target audience as appealing just for that alone, and possibly even more.

I felt the film was well-acted and convincingly written enough for me to admire it, at least from a distant. There is disturbing violence towards animals, adults, and youths present; but the film's decision to focus more on atmosphere than just the sheer brutality of the situation makes the experience endurable. The film is visually interesting, and the direction is most certainly first-rate; while the script is just second-rate, but that's better than most thrillers can manage nowadays, isn't it?

So yes, "Eden Lake" is some scary, thrilling, exciting stuff. It's most definitely worth your time, contrary to all that other genre crap that plagues the movie screens of America. This is a British film; with British actors and sensibilities. If you can distance yourself from the unsettling violent content, then perhaps there are some things to like here. If you are a fan of the genre, this movie is for you. It may take other non-genre-fans a little more time and effort to warm up to it, but it's most certainly a film that will be enjoyed by others outside of the typical genre fan-base, which is good. Like I said; it's arguable that this is a straight-up horror movie, even though it has its scary moments, but whether I'm right about it or not doesn't seem to matter. What matters, in this situation, is the fact that it's a good film. Now I'll leave all this genre confusion alone, as I've run it into the ground a bit excessively for one review.

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More Eden Lake reviews
review by . February 03, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
No Garden of Eden Here
   Eden Lake is pretty much your standard survival-against-the-odds fare. The only difference is that instead of the usual monster/alien/chainsaw wielding cannibal or hillbilly redneck this time our hapless victims are fleeing from a gang of bicycle mounted pubescent Brits lead by a kid who'd give the Malcolm McDowell character in CLOCKWORK ORANGE a run for his money. Tedious for me but if you're a fan of slasher flicks this film is going to send you into the throes of …
Quick Tip by . September 22, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Those who are into the over-done subgenre of female-surviving-against-the-odds will be orgasmic, but I found it tedious.
Quick Tip by . June 10, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
I'll have to check this one out -- sounds pretty good and thank you for the review!
review by . December 02, 2009
posted in Movie Hype
Forget All Your Troubles
   Somebody must have seen. Somebody must have heard. Evidently, someone was crafty enough to actually do their homework & make a horror film which sets out to do exactly what a horror film should do. British director James Watkins get it's right. Hoo boy! Eden Lake gets my vote for being one of the most brutal depictions of a vacation gone wrong that I've seen in many years. In the brutal tradition of Wolf Creek or High Tension, Eden Lake carries a big stick & reminds it's …
review by . January 30, 2009
posted in Movie Hype
      There have been many attempts at a genre film that emulates a very real feeling of horror that may happen in real life. I've seen quite a good number of them, some are decent, some are great but most failed to impress. Writer and director James Watkins' "Eden Lake" may have the usual clichés of horror suspense thrillers, the main premise offers nothing new, but what makes it very different is the fact that it carries a lot of effective humanity …
Quick Tip by . May 01, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Pretty standard survival against the odds flick, and I hate those.
About the reviewer
Ryan J. Marshall ()
Ranked #11
It's very likely that the only kind of reviews I'll ever post here are movie reviews. I'm very passionate about film; and at this point, it pretty much controls my life. Film gives us a purpose; … more
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About this movie


Eden Lake is a 2008 British horror and thriller film written and directed by James Watkins and starring Kelly Reilly, Michael Fassbender and Jack O'Connell.

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Genre: Horror
Release Date: September 12, 2008 UK October 31, 2008
DVD Release Date: January 6, 2009
Runtime: 91 minutes
Studio: Dimension Films
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