Eden Lake is a disturbing thriller, one of those disturbing thrillers. At best you could compare it with a film like Funny Games; same weird undercurrent that you have in your belly while watching it when you really have the idea there’s no way out of the nasty situation the lead is in. It’s one of those movies you can’t help but feel that there is no glamorized Hollywood ending in which the bad guys get defeated and the hero(ine) walks away. So let’s take a look at camping at Eden Lake.
Eden Lake starts out with a happy couple going camping at, well Eden Lake of course. This lake is about to be turned into a luxury resort so for Steve this is the last time he can enjoy the idyllic scenery of the lake. His intention is to propose to his girlfriend Jenny, but they’re being disturbed at the lake by a couple of local kids who are obviously from a lower class. Bad goes to worse as some loud noise eventually leads to torture, murder and a chase, or rather hunt, through the woods.
Like I said Eden Lake gives you this disturbing feeling all the time as you get a constant feeling that this is not going to end well. Their situation is hopeless and the behavior of the boys rapidly goes from bad to worse. It’s also a character study as we see the cliche of someone turning from rather passive to violent. A more interesting character study is that of the boys. The boys start as little scoundrels but under the violent influence of the leader Brett they do things they don’t want to. It’s quite interesting to see how some of the kids immediately enjoy the maiming and torturing of an innocent person while others are reluctant and forced to join in. The boys have multiple search parties for the two victims and I was wondering why some of them just didn’t leave when they were split up.
The bad and the good of Eden Lake go hand in hand. The fact that the forest seems like an endless maze, she at some point looks like she’s running in circles and trips over things help to build up suspense and generates a vibe, it also is rather frustrating that whatever she does never turns out to work in her advantage. This also brings me to the ending of the movie…
Now don’t read on if you hate spoilers!
I hated the ending! We’ve been put through so much and when she finally reaches the civilization it turns out to be the parents of the terrorizing kids where she comes looking for help. They quickly hear the news about her killing some of the kids by the leader of the them. The self defense part is of course left out. When she wants them to call the police the parents notify her that they take care of their own in that community and the last thing we see of her is a shot in which 3 adult males go into the bath room with her to take care of business. My only guess is they kill her. We then see Brett, the leader of the boys put on a pair of stolen Ray Ban sunglasses, delete some of the evidence, and look emotionless in the mirror. Roll End credits.
It’s one of those downer endings but it made me feel cheated. Halfway in the movie she stumbles upon a local kid who says she’ll help her but turns out that he’s really helping his bullies. Then in the last reel she is picked up by a kid in a van turning out to be one of the brothers of the kids who’s searching for his relative. She gets away by stealing the car but still, this was the second time around she doesn’t get help from locals but rather gets brought back to the hunting party. Then she finally reaches civilization but crashes the car and struggles to a house which turns out to be where all the parents of the kids are having a party. I was like going “Oh come fucking on!” What are the odds of this right? And maybe these parents turn out to be the wise parents they should be. But no, they decide to take care of things themselves. Why? Sure this chick killed two of their kids but look around. Why does nobody ask themselves: why did she do that, and how come she is so mutilated? What about the police that will eventually come? I mean there are 3 kids and 2 adults dead and thus missing. They won’t turn up at work or school. What about those half cremated corpses that are still lying there. What about the bodies of the 2 children killed by her? The forensics are gonna have a field-day with the whole forest, I tell you that. Psychiatrists too as there are no doubt youngsters who have issues after something like this, and somebody will eventually lose his cool and confess the whole story. But we never get to find out as while I’m going over this the end credits are rolling by. We don’t get any resolution other than they get away with it, for now.
Movies like the Strangers or Funny Games got away with their downer endings because they weren’t as open as in this movie. I didn’t have all these questions with those movies.
Now apart from the ending Eden Lake is a very satisfying horror movie that really gets under your skin and is certainly worth a look.