Film / Eden Lake

Eden Lake is an intense British horror film directed by James Watkins and starring Kelly Reilly and Michael Fassbender.

Nursery teacher Jenny and her boyfriend Steve go on a holiday to the idyllic Eden Lake, which is soon due to be overtaken by a gated community, and where Steve intends to propose to her. When they get there and attempt to relax, however, a local gang of chavs begins harassing them. The couple drives into the nearby town to try and get the kids' parents to do something, but to no avail. That night, back at the lake, the couple's car gets stolen. They confront the gang, which only results in an escalating spiral of violence.

Unusual for a horror film of this calibre, the film was received well by critics, whom considered it tense and effective in spite of its occasional cliches and Cruel Twist Ending.

This film provides examples of:

  • Accidental Murder: Jenny is startled by Cooper (who's trying to help Jenny) approaching her from behind and accidentally kills him while turning around.
    • Jenny mows down Paige while trying to flee in a commandeered van.
  • Berserk Button: Brett gets extremely angry when Steve accidentally kills his dog, then when Ricky and Cooper don't want to take part in the murder of Steve, and finally after finding the dead body of Cooper and suddenly killing Ricky after an outburst, just because he didn't want to give Brett his cell phone.
  • Camera Fiend: Paige, who films the torture in "happy slapping" fashion.
  • Corrupt Chav: All the antagonists of the movie.
  • Cruel Twist Ending: When Jenny finds help at last, it turns out to be the parents of Cooper, the boy she accidentally killed.
  • Don't Go in the Woods: And how...
  • Downer Ending: Steve is burned to death by the boys. Jenny falls into the hands of the gang's parents in the last scene. She is then implied to be raped by several men after which they intend to kill her. The mobile phone videos containing footage of the gang torturing the couple get deleted.
  • Evil Laugh: While Jenny and Steve are being burned on the stake, the gang is watching in silence...except Brett, who is jumping up and down, unable to contain his happiness.
  • Final Girl: Subverted, since Jenny gets pressumably raped and killed by the gang parents at the end of the film.
  • Hope Spot: Jenny finally makes it to a seemingly safe place, only to realize that it's the home of one of the gang members' parents and that several of the others' mothers and fathers, including Cooper's, are in attendance as well.
  • Idiot Ball: Passed around quite often.
  • Infant Immortality: Averted with Adam, Paige, Ricky, and Cooper, who don't look to be any older than twelve.
  • It's Personal: Things go downhill real quick for Steve and Jenny after Steve accidentally kills Brett's dog.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Steve, who is a bit too aggressive for his own good.
  • Gorn
  • Karma Houdini: The entire gang except Paige, Ricky, and Cooper, but the latter two were reluctant participants in the violence. The director says he intends the ending to be ambiguous asking Does anybody really get away with anything? Is Brett really without remorse or is he just pretending to be?
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Really, a lot or possibly even all of the misfortune Steve and Jenny end up suffering could have been avoided if Steve hadn't repeatedly confronted the gang trying to show them who's boss.
  • Papa Wolf/Abusive Parents: Brett's father.
  • Peer Pressure Makes You Evil: Brett is the most evil form of peer pressure. If not for him, the gang wouldn't have gone to such horrifying extremes. They would probably have walked away.
  • Pet the Dog: Pretty much literally with Brett's affection and tears for his dog
  • Ring of Fire
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Shortly after finding Cooper's body and witnessing Brett beat Ricky to a dead pulp, Paige decides she's had enough and runs off. Unfortunately she runs right into the path of the van Jenny's driving at breakneck speed.
  • Shout-Out the ending can be seen as an homage to the final act of The Last House on the Left. Albeit, an inverted one.
  • Teens Are Monsters: The chavs, with the exception of Cooper and Ricky.