A month or so ago, I watched a film called Eden Lake. I enjoyed the film and feel it is quite topical so thought I would share my thoughts on the film. It also happened to be filmed at a place I spent a lot of my childhood at. So flashbacks to childhood may encroach on the film analysis.

I am a sucker for a horror or thriller movie and when I saw Eden Lake at the Market, it sounded my cup of tea, so we got it.

It opens with the main charachters Jenny and Steve, driving out for a romantic weekend break at Eden Lake. Jenny is a school teacher and Steve some sort of city type I imagine, although we don't actually find that out but that is what imagination is for. After a long drive, they stay at a hotel which is awash with noisy kids and rowdy adults. Jenny and Steve manage to laugh through this although you can tell the rabble aren't their sort of people!

The next day they head out to Eden Lake and finally arrive. It is going to be developed with residential buildings and this is one of the last chances the couple get to see its natural beauty.

They set up a camp on the 'beach' and are enjoying the peace and quiet and stunning surroundings, at the same time as enjoying each other. This is until a group of youths arrive and settle further along the beach. At this point I will inform you that, whilst watching, I started saying 'I am sure I used to swim in that lake when I was a kid'. It most definitely was Frensham Little Pond in Farnham, Surrey and it was amazing to see it as a film location.

The youths are rather uncouth and they have a rottweiler dog with them which deposits something not so nice on the sand. They also have their music blaring and it is annoying Steve who decided to go over and politely ask them to turn the music down. In usual youth style, the group are rude and basically ignorant. They don't turn the music down so Steve gives up and goes for a snorkel with full kit whilst Jenny sleeps. This did make me giggle as Frensham Pond is only shallow and even right in the middle of it, you can reach the bottom. In fact very recently we went to the Pond and I swam in it like I did when I was a child, although with the foot phobia that I have, and with the murky water bed laden with all manner of things, I didn't really put my feet down!!!! Thank goodness for rubber rings.

The youths finally move on and the scene is set for Jenny and Steve to spend the night, complete with a campfire and tent. Perfect. Although, the next morning, they realise it is less than perfect when they wake to find their car keys stolen and their picnic bag opened, covered with ants. They start to walk into the woods to find the youths. They are nearly mowed down by the group joy riding in their car.

Eventually they find the youths and ask for the keys to be returned and it is at this point things start to get even more menacing. It ends up with an argument and Steve being grabbed by one of the group, who is armed with a knife. There is a struggle and comments are passed about Jenny, referring to her as a dog. Eventually the rottweiler is let loose and she ends up being stabbed and dies. The leader of the youths, Brett, is extremely angry and as Jenny and Steve run away with Steve aologising profusely, Brett decides he wants revenge. It all starts to become a whole lot more menacing.

Jenny and Steve find the car and start to drive away but they are stuck in the mud with tyres hopelessly squealing. And yes you guessed it, the gang (they have progressed from youths to a gang, in my opinion) appear and start in on the couple. They finally get away, only to crash into a tree, leaving Steve pinned to his chair with a branch through his shoulder. Jenny has to leave and get help. And so the chase begins. She runs through the forest for a while but is lost. Eventually she ends up back at the car, only to find Steve gone and hears the gang behind her.

They have Steve tied to a tree stump with barbed wire. He is begging to be released but Brett insists that each member of the gang stab or slice Steve with a knife. He also insists that the female member of the group film everything. The other members of the gang seem reluctant to do it but they are more scared to defy Brett and in turn they each slice and stab Steve in his arms, chest and mouth. All the while Jenny is watching before realising she has a phone and she bluetooths a 999 call to the phone that Brett is holding which is actually Steves. He stole the phone and sunglasses earlier on in the day.

Once Brett realises Jenny must be near by he insists the others go find her and Steve shouts at her to run. She starts running through the forest trying desperately to get help. Whilst the others are chasing Jenny, Steve manages to escape into the undergrowth and eventually the couple are reunited in the forest. They find a ornothology lookout and manage to shelter there. Steve is in a very bad way and Jenny helps him the best she can, until they hear the gang coming again. We wait with baited breath as the gang burst through the door of the lookout, only to find Jenny and Steve gone. They have managed to slide under the boards into the water below. The gang give up and start looking again, but not before one of them falls through the broken floorboard. But all is safe.

Jenny then pulls Steve out of the lake and she finds a ring that Steve was going to give her when he proposed. She, being a typical woman, puts the ring on before covering Steve with conveniently cut ferns. She then heads off into the forest again to find help. But ends up stepping on an iron spike so she has slowed down. She meets a little asian boy who they had come across before and he says he will help her, but she soon realises, too late, that he has tricked her. The gang arrive and she is knocked out.

The next scene sees her and the dead Steve tied to a tree with petrol being poured on them. The young asian lad is forced to light the match and the body of Steve goes up in flames. The ropes burn and Jenny is able to flee. But not before she sees the gang set fire to the little asisan lad, for not lighting the fire properly. She finds a mapboard and takes the map, hides in a dirty foul smelling bin and on top of a portacabin roof. As she is studying the map, one of the gang, the youngest, appears and she stabs him in the neck with the broken glass from the mapboard. She is sad that she has had to kill him but carries on running.

Eventually she gets to a road and is nearly hit by a car. The man driving helps her and says he will take her to town after he picks up his little brother. The penny drops and Jenny begs him to turn round. He doesn't. And one of the gang appear at the roadside. Jenny takes her chance, when the driver gets out to see what is going on, and takes the wheel and drives like the wind. She ends up knocking over the girl gang member and it is at this point that we wish the film ended.

But it goes on to see her crash into a parked car outside a house. This happens to be the same house that Steve had let himself into earlier that weekend, when looking for the youths who had harrassed them. It also happens to be the same house of the lady who had been rude to them in the diner when they went for breakfast. Eventually Jenny realises she needs to get away but by this time the Mum in the house has had a message saying her son had been found dead. And then Jenny is in the bathroom under the pretence she feels sick. She can hear the anguished cry of the Mum outside and then the door is kicked in and Brett is standing behind his very angry Dad. The Dad orders Brett upstairs and tells the guests of the house that they look after their own. We next see Brett as he stands at his mirror deleting the video evidence off of his phone. He slides Steves sunglasses onto his face and stands there listening to the screams of Jenny downstairs.

Here the film ends and it leaves you somewhat amazed that or once it isn't a happy ending! It also annoys you because it is just too convenient that she ends up in that house when she escapes. But mostly it annoys you because you realise that there are gangs of teenagers out there terrorising people. And carrying out acts of the most despicable violence. But what chance do these kids have when the parents are prepared to kill to protect them. Like father, like son, so the saying goes and sadly with fathers like the character in this film, there is no hope for the youths of today.

I recommend this film even though there are a few filming errors and some of it is quite unerealistic. I certainly didn't view Frensham Pond the same when I was there recently. But then I do love a good scare!
Wednesday 18th August 2010