Eden Lake (2008)An unforgettable weekend.
Nursery teacher Jenny (Kelly Reilly) and her boyfriend Steve's (Michael Fassbender) plans for a romantic and relaxing chill-out by a remote lake is rudely interrupted by a group of unruly youths, an overactive dog and loud bursts of whatever music it is British village kids listen to nowadays when their ASBO's allow it. Deciding that a group of bullies will not cock-block his romantic plans, Steve pitches his tent and prepares to settle down for an evening with his beloved.
The vacation goes from bad to worse with spoiled supplies, a tyre puncture, a stolen beach bag, a stolen car and a knife scuffle with delinquents where Steve mistakenly puts an end to the life of the posse's treasured four-legged friend. Brett, the sociopathic ring-leader of the antisocial crew, decides that his poor dog must be avenged and with the rec center being closed for refurbishment the rest have nothing better to do so they pound the fleeing couple's vehicle with rocks until they crash and Steve, impaled by a tree, is taken captive whilst Jenny tries to flee.
The kids tie Steve up with barbed wire and take it in turns to cut him but soon get bored (I blame video games for their short attention span) and go on the hunt for Jenny. After a tormenting cycle of escape-capture-escape Jenny quite literally crashes a local neighbourhood party but soon realizes that bad apples don't fall far from the tree.
The ending of Eden Lake suddenly takes on a much more traditional horror development in a manner reminiscent of when May suddenly becomes a slasher or Maniac becomes a zombie flick or when 2000 Maniacs become supernatural. The viewer is propelled into a world where the British equivalent of backwater hillbillies protect their evil little kids from the consequences of their actions, the lack of retribution leaves a bad taste in the mouth of the watcher as the final disturbing scene delivers one last shock to eliminate all hope of a righteous outcome. A common theme in horror is to use children as protagonists in order to make the horror seem so much more iniquitous and, in most cases, the theme works. Eden Lake is an evil and despair inspiring work of art guaranteed to emotionally disturb those who see it, preying on current cultural fears to make a truly unfeigned and disturbing exploitation flick.