Monday, 2 February 2009


JUST when you thought the clichéd tale of the couple who get lost, stranded and stalked in the woods was dead and buried along comes Eden Lake to provide a fresh and welcomed return to the aged formula.

Penned by James Watkins (The Descent, My Little Eye), Eden Lake tells the tale of Jenny and Steve, a typical, boring English couple, who are confronted by a bunch of obnoxious and knife-loving yobs on their getaway camping trip to the countryside.

When Steve, visibly lacking in strength or authority, confronts the youths over the sound of their stereo, he triggers off a series of events, which lead to a deadly cat-and-mouse chase in the woods.

Of course, this formula has been played out a hundred times before, with its origins probably lying in the sickly hands of Wes Craven (The Last House on the Left) and Sam Peckinpah (Straw Dogs) in the 1970s.

But what makes Eden Lake a gem among the stones is its truly modern and very British twist - replacing the American hillbilly with the young hoodie - where bravado is shown and respect is earned by the size of your blade.

In fact, the star of the show is Watkins - capturing a frightening, if somewhat over-exaggerated, picture of youth crime in Britain.

From the opening credits of a car radio blaring out the latest knife crime news to one gang member capturing a torture scene on her mobile phone, the sense of dread feels undoubtedly real and close to home.

Eden Lake is a disturbing and nasty tale - far more entertaining and shocking than recent stalk and slash horror movies, such as, The Strangers and Timber Falls - with an ending that will have even the most hardened of hearts reaching for a bucket.

Yes, this film is not for everyone, but for horror fans Eden Lake is a destination well worth the visit.

Rating: * * * *

Eden Lake is now available on DVD and Blu-Ray.

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