Monday, December 28, 2009

Eden Lake: I Hate the Youth.

Sometimes I cry when I watch a movie, and sometimes I yell furiously. By the time the ending of Eden Lake rolled around however I was doing a wild combination of both. Eden Lake has a power similarly evoked from The Strangers and Them- fucked up people doing fucked up things for no fucking reason. With Eden Lake however, the idea resonates a bit harder, taking gang members and putting them in the place of psychopathic murderers- since gang violence is a harsh reality and although scary, psychopathic murderers are less frequently found. The ways in which this movie chooses to tackle the subject is pretty damn astounding, and I must say my head is swimming with emotion.

Steve and Jenny are taking a weekend over at Eden Lake- a remote and mostly closed off quarry. While trying to relax on the beach, a group of local hoodlums plop down next to them and start causing one ruckus after another. Their dog shits on the beach and threatens Jenny, the leader Brett, flashes his penis to Jenny, and when Steve asks them to quiet down and turn down the music they berate him with all kinds of douche baggery. After a while the gang leaves, and Jenny and Steve spend a quiet night alone. The next day offers up trouble however as after a swim Jenny and Steve find their bag missing and the car stolen. One guess as to who is responsible for that! Yup it's those meddling kids again- and this time things get a little more serious. After a confrontation gets out of hand, and Brett's dog ends up stabbed the group stake out Jenny and Steve to get their revenge. What happens next is so brutal and realistically terrifying you will hardly believe your eyes.

What I found to be the most unsettling is just the gang's disregard for anything or anyone other than themselves. Let's see.. ummmm you stole a fucking car and all of their belongings and then your dog gets stabbed by accident and you lash out full force? The lack of thinking on the gang's part just baffles me- as it usually does when I read about gang violence. That's probably what makes the entire film so scary- is that this isn't some unrealistic thing that could never happen in a million years. Kids are scary. Period. Brett is so fucking aggravating that I can't even talk about it properly. Seriously what was he even thinking? Yes yes I know he wasn't thinking and that's the point but it just drives me completely nuts!

The way things escalate in this movie is another thing that makes me scratch my head and once again shows the true power of authority. It's pretty obvious that none of the other kids wanted to do anything to Steve- but a few snide remarks from Brett has them grabbing knives and box cutters like it's no ones business! And don't even get me started on Paige....what a major- excuse my French, CUNT. If it's possible I think I may have hated her more than Brett and to anyone that has seen the movie can I get a Hallelujah for what happens to Paige?

Ok so it's brutal, it's violent and terrifying but it's also extremely thought provoking as are most movies of this nature. I thought one of the less obvious things examined, was the way that gang and hoodlum violence tends to affect anyone it comes in contact with. The chain of events that happen and who ends up with guilt, and being distraught was quite startling. The best example of this being when Jenny flags down the help of a passing car. That moment of realization was so heart breaking to me- I could feel Jenny's absolute fear and distress- and then the thought of the brother and what he will think- it was really quite an astounding look at the two sides of violence. We have two sides- both believing they are in the right and both in some way shape or form being majorly affected by the outcome. It's the vicious and cruel cycle of violence and more importantly gang violence. It's like an evil disease that will never be able to be stopped and that on it's own terms is wildly depressing.

And then we have the ending. Holy cow. I have to be honest with everyone...I cried like a baby. It was truly one of the saddest and most frustrating things that I have ever witnessed. I had my own ending cooked up in my head while reading other reviews but never in my wildest dreams did I ever think it would amount to what it did, and I'm still reeling from it as we speak. Just the complete and utter unbelievability and the thoughts that must have been going on inside Jenny's It was maybe the most horrible nightmarish type of situation that I could imagine. Just. Awful.

All in all there was so much honest emotion bubbling out of this movie that it was almost too much for my heart to handle. While a lot of people feel that Jenny's actions were downright stupid and frustrating- I have to disagree and say that when placed in that kind of situation all logical thinking goes straight out the window. Well actually if some stupid hoodlum flashed me his dick I would tell my boyfriend to pack it up and to go somewhere else- but whatever. The point is, this movie is traumatizing. To me it was one of those fetal position, hands clenching your cheeks, hysterically convulsing kinds of watches- but maybe that's just me? Anyways- truly disturbing and a must see for those willing to have their hearts torn out and then pieced back to together slowly.


Tash said...

Wow, awesome review, I immediately put this at the top of my DVD queue. It kept popping up in recommendations but from the cover I dismissed it...never judge its cover?

Chris H said...

See, now I have to watch this again.

I was crushingly disappointed in it, but it was just after a lot of major hype had been whipped up after it screened in a few festivals.

I found it to be so over-the-top that it kinda killed any sort of believability it may have had going for it. I think a few more subtleties would have made it stronger. But, as you pointed out, there is no subtlety when it comes to bullying/gang violence, so maybe I'm out of line with my thinking.

I've had more than a few trusted people champion this and it makes me think I need to give it one more try.

Andre said...

Ah I know exactly what you mean Chris, so much of what the youths do is soo extreme- that out of context it totally seems unbelivable. I think I am more sensitive than the average horror movie watcher which could be responsible for why I reacted like I did but I don't know... I think you should watch it again and tell me how it goes! Keeping in mind the theme of violence in gangs...?

Tasha the cover is very...kind of back woods/ woman on the run from psycho but don't worry it's much better..!

Anonymous said...

Great review Andre. Watching this on Netflix, ASAP.

kindertrauma said...

Andre, I had a similar reaction to this movie! I just could not shake the ending.

So much for perseverance winning out in the end eh?

I think what this movie does so sadistically is, right after Paige's demise (yay!) the audience is primed for full on retribution only to have that door literally slammed in their face!

It happens in real life all the time I'm sure but you rarely see it it played out so harshly in film.

Many people have problems with the protagonists behavior in this but I think it's wishful thinking that we would all turn into Rambo in such situations

The reality is, you wouldn't be thinking straight at all and sometimes no matter how hard we try things don't always work out the way we want them too.

As you said, it's a very disturbing and effective film! Great post!

Andre said...

Thanks! Actually it was your best of post that made me want to watch this asap- kindertrauma! And thank jebus I did...What an emotional rollercoaster!

I also think it's hilarious how people are so quick to judge character's actions in times of crisis...yeah if it was me I know I'd be huddled in the corner and crying and dead within like 2 mins!

The Igloo Keeper said...

You've got it all wrong. Here's how I started my review:

"Eden Lake is the charming tale of a carefree childhood. It follows a gang of great chums and their faithful dog who spend their days cycling around town and roaming through the local woods, having fun and getting into adventures."

Lindop said...

I thought it summed up British kids pretty well.
I think that stuff like this is a regular common occurance on most council estates at the weekend. Paige especially sums up your general young modern female and the test of the feral bunch can easily be found by popping to the local supermarket - they will be the ones making all the noise in the car park. A decent truthful and accurate look into the lives of British children I would say. Well done!

Anonymous said...


I think one of the most effective things about this film is that for once, it has *nice* characters. So many horror movies have such unlikeable leads that it becomes a moot point trying to care for them.

And it's nice to have villains who are developed and rightly hateable. Oh my god I hated Paige. As much as Brett, for that matter, but you're right to call for the hallelujahs.

Anonymous said...

This was recommended on "The Film Vault". Once again a movie that doesn't do the happy ending you come to expect. It's actually nice to see a movie that doesn't end with a person getting away, no matter how much you want them to. On the other hand, you're left knowing there are a load of horrible people that get to continue being so with no consequences. Yep, was overjoyed that the girl got run over. Keep in mind that she's no different than the little punks that film awful things with their phones all the time, and proudly post the videos on the internet. She's just a representation of the kind of garbage we're all surrounded by.

Unknown said...

I was so fucking pissed at the end. For some reason, I thought there was a revenge scene where Jenny went back and killed all the little fuckers, but nope. That shit just made me even more mad. I'm like, angrily crying manly tears right now. Fuck this horribly awesome piece of fuck movie jesus christ. Sooooo many mixed emotions.

Yorkshire Girl. said...

I am a 70 year old woman living in North Carolina, USA formerly of South Yorkshire.England. I sat and watched the movie in disbelief and with an overbearing sadness and heart ache.To think this could happen in my England.Perhaps I have been gone too long and out of touch with the way the youth of today act.Can somebody enlighten me please.

Anonymous said...

Steve needed a gun and Needed to use it

Anonymous said...

Jenny repeatedly being found by and running into these nitwits and their family is irritating and unrealistic. It ruined an otherwise decent movie.

Anonymous said...

I always wonder what the aftermath of the film events would bring? they way they ended it, I felt it was unjust and aggravating. I agree, I hated that paige chick. I wish I could take my anger out on the actors, but, yeah, that would be stupid haha. I wish they would make a sequel that would have detectives follow up the murders etc... and furthermore, the parents of the kids just infuriate me, bloody working class poms lol, just shows you what they are capable of. all in all, great film, and I love this review.

Unknown said...

Exactly. I still enjoyed the movie and was emotionally affected by it greatly. HOWEVER, a forest presents literally infinite directions to run and these punks aren't SAS or Delta Force yet they somehow have the tracking ability and mobility of those special forces groups. It gets a little absurd after a point.