Tuesday, August 21, 2012

A Review: Eden Lake

"How now brown cow?!"
I suppose the new trend of horror, or, the old trend, or, the smarter tend (does it matter?) is that the movie ends in ways you didn't expect. Or, it does so in ways that don't serve the purpose of triumph for certain characters. I won't say if this one does or does not, but I've been noticing as of late, the trend has set itself none the less.

Eden Lake is one of a few films that have crawled over the pond and onto my screen, showcasing the growing concern in England of a very real problem with the country's decline in morality and populous well-to-do. I can't comment personally on whether or not that is true, but a few things over the years in the news have point that sign to "yes." I won't say this Harry Brown and we get something that solid or visceral. But one of the little baddies from that one is in this, albeit a little younger so, I liked to think of it as a spiritual prequel to that. And when I think about, boy does that musing make sense.

"Hoodies" "Broken Brit" "Chav" and others are names I've read and heard about over the years are things we see in this one. And at first, I was a little surprised that this was where it really went. Having not seen a single trailer, or frame of this, I had not a clue where the "horror" would come from. And now, having seen said movie, I wouldn't classify it as such, but I'm not here to nit-pick. Hack n' slash, running for life entertainment. (I can see the quote now on the DVD cover). And it is true that this contains horrific images and harrowing statements, but maybe not what your thinking I'm thinking. Is that what your thinking?

Steve (Fassbender) and Jenny (Reilly) set off for Eden Lake for a romantic getaway, what happens is more than they planned on. Cliched out yet? Steve is planning to ask her hand in marriage and it looks like this weekend is all part of his plan. Arriving, we quickly understand the village outside of Eden Lake is, well, full of cunts, to put it in the local slang of the country. And more to the point, young cunts. Which is where the movie puts a lot of it's eggs. If the movie was a basket. Let's say it's a basket. Okay.

Swimming and camping out on the beach, we meet Brett (O' Connell), and his gang of hooligans and his large rottweiler. Brett, we find out later, was doomed from birth and has not single bone in his body that contains even a millimeter of compassion, or the ability to consider the consequences, of his actions for that matter. Before long, a popped tire and some foul language turn into much more than simple troublesome kids at the beach. And it was such a lovely day outside. And Steve and Kelly end up fighting for their lives in the scary tale of, "When Kids Attack." No. that's not a joke. This is about kids with knives and cell phones and gasoline.

Horror, not quite. Intense, disgusting and traumatic? Yesir. James Watkins directs this with care for the relationship get in the beginning, as any standard "horror" should, it's how we give a damn if one of them gets bumped off, right?

The great Michael Fassbender, who seems well-equipped in every role I've spotted him in since I first saw him break onto the screen in 300, never does wrong, and makes good use a of short written and empty character. But Reilly only started singing high notes in the third act, was not as MacGyver-ish with her script's direction. So much of the movie's fear is dependent on O'Connell's performance, and luckily, he pulls through with considerable angst and power. Well played sir.

I said earlier, the movie is horrific, I did not tell a lie. Things that come to mind are the kid's overall demeanor as "hoods," Brett especially who knows no limits. A scene involving a helluva-lot of knife play, a trash dumpster and the last few minutes of the third act explaining a few things for us. So, I'd say this is solid, I won't say entertainment, but a long exercise in running, night shots, extensive make-up, jumping, being scared, getting dirty, and dealing with meddling kids and their dog. I'm glad I'm far from the that park and it's town.

Now all we need is a minivan and a girl in an orange turtleneck.

Munki out.

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