Eden Lake

The 2008 offerings once more walk among us.
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Post by The Aylmer » Sun Sep 14, 2008 11:41 pm

Despite having a weekend pass I couldn't do the first day (or evening rather) of Frightfest so only got to see Eden Lake a couple of days back on it's general release. I have to say right now it's one of the best films I've seen this year and got an instant 10/10 score from myself. I'm with The Soapmaker when it comes to all the class divide stuff however. We see a bunch of kids and some of the parents in this rural community. Who says they're supposed to be representing the working class generally? Place it in an inner city slum along the lines of The Disappeared and I'd possibly agree, depending on how other people in the area where represented. But this small group of country folk look fairly middle class to me. If their homes don't look that well looked after it's for the same reason these teens are allowed to run riot in the first place, their parents just don't give a crap and are in fact worse than their offspring. In fact I assumed that's why the film was set in a rural area to begin with, to make it seem less about the cliche of lawless working class 'scum' and more to do with bad parenting generally and the complete lack of respect and restraint that informs and goes with it. It's the isolated nature of the location that stops it from being a sideswipe at a certain section of society. Otherwise Texas Chainsaw surely implies everyone in the deep south must run about wearing human face masks while armed with power tools. For me Eden Lake is an extremely well realised and effective horror film that manages to play on all the recent tabloid hysteria over knife crime and gang culture to brilliantly unsettling effect.

What I found really scary and unsettling was Daily Mail (spit) film reviewer Christopher Tookey's online write up which was the complete opposite of what I expected. I was expecting the usual 'ban it now' nonsense and instead was gobsmacked to read this...

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/ar ... ch-it.html

It still doesn't excuse Tookey or his paper generally for their objectional stance taken over the years but I bet even the Mail editors must have done a double take when he said Eden Lake was the "most intelligent horror film to have been made by a British director since Jack Clayton's The Innocents in 1960". He goes on to call it an excellent British horror film and gives it top marks!!! I had to pinch myself several times just to make sure I hadn't entered the Twilight Zone. What I want to know is, how can the Mail (or rather Tookey) suddenly get it so right (well, almost. There's still one or two comments in his review I disagree with) yet only a couple of years back be looking for the BBFC's heads and a total dvd ban when Irreversible first appeared? For me that film had as much to say about violence in it's own way as Eden Lake. And like James Watkins debut it was intelligent and well acted. Did someone slip something into Tookey's shandy when he wasn't looking and he's now wringing his hands over the Eden Lake review going "No, No, NOOOOOO!!! What have I done?!?"

Class divides, Daily Mail backlashes, whatever... Eden Lake is utterly uncomfortably brilliant. I just hope Watkins hasn't peaked with his first film.

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Post by The Soapmaker » Mon Sep 15, 2008 12:21 am

The Aylmer wrote:Class divides, Daily Mail backlashes, whatever... Eden Lake is utterly uncomfortably brilliant. I just hope Watkins hasn't peaked with his first film.
Well, he certainly didn't peak with his first script(s) - My Little Eye was so-so, but Gone was utter bobbins. Happily he got it right with his first solo project!

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Post by The Aylmer » Mon Sep 15, 2008 12:35 am

The Soapmaker wrote: Well, he certainly didn't peak with his first script(s) - My Little Eye was so-so, but Gone was utter bobbins. Happily he got it right with his first solo project!
I agree My Little Eye wasn't bad. But I haven't seen Gone.

And now I don't think I will :wink:

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Post by ghouldrool » Mon Sep 15, 2008 7:29 am

that The Daily Mail wholeheartedly loves the movie is of no surprise at all to me.

Isnt it exactly a story they would love to really happen so they can once more decry the state of modern youth/education/liberal thinking?
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Post by AdeBrown » Mon Sep 15, 2008 6:20 pm

I feel the Daily Mail review of the "politically incorrect" aspects vindicates the comments here rather than rebuts them.

He probably missed that Saw and Hostel have no supernatural or scientific origina either.

However consider the "other" or "threat" aspects of Eden Lake. They are much better established in the later scene at the lake than the sub-American Werewolf in Derbyshire scenes beforehand.

A question (or two) I have posed in a longer consideration over at my LiveJournal, but I'd like to repeat here:

The depiction of the community of Eden Lake jarred for me because I am somewhat familiar with that environment and those people. I don't have similar problems with Hostel, Texas Chainsaw Massacre or Deliverance (or Wrong Turn 2 or Devils Rejects or whatever). Actually I just remembered that Manhunt starts with a similar scene, and that works too.

Do you think (our) unfamiliarity gives those films a free pass in their depiction of their location ?
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Post by The Aylmer » Tue Sep 16, 2008 1:18 am

AdeBrown wrote: The depiction of the community of Eden Lake jarred for me because I am somewhat familiar with that environment and those people. I don't have similar problems with Hostel, Texas Chainsaw Massacre or Deliverance (or Wrong Turn 2 or Devils Rejects or whatever). Actually I just remembered that Manhunt starts with a similar scene, and that works too.

Do you think (our) unfamiliarity gives those films a free pass in their depiction of their location ?
Good observation and, yes, I have to say the 'unfamiliarity' card must certainly work in a movies favour. Or any other medium for that matter. As soon as you start referencing people/places that the majority of the audience are familiar with then you've got to make sure you get it spot on if you're trying to convince, otherwise people will start picking holes in it which naturally could distract from the overall effectiveness of the work. Which is no doubt why the isolated settings of most of the films mentioned above work so well. The majority of the audience just aren't that familiar with the locations depicted to question how believable/accurate it all is. Which doesn't mean those who are familiar can't get as much out of the story, but it's bound to raise a few negative comments if it doesn't ring true.

That said, I work at Heathrow airport. And I can sort of imagine 'Mum + Dad' taking place for real in and around the outskirts of that built up area, so it's certainly possible to do Texas Chainsaw in an overly familiar environment and get away with it!

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Post by Grindhouse » Tue Sep 16, 2008 9:00 am

The worst things happen under the noses of normality without anyone ever really knowing whats going on.
just because your familiar with somewhere doesnt make a setting any less credible,infact it makes it all the more shocking,as while we go about our business day to day,some of the people we may encounter,may well be the sort to suprise us in years to come with shocking events.
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Post by The Aylmer » Tue Sep 16, 2008 12:36 pm

Grindhouse wrote:The worst things happen under the noses of normality without anyone ever really knowing whats going on.
just because your familiar with somewhere doesnt make a setting any less credible,infact it makes it all the more shocking
I certainly agree with that. Although I was thinking more about misrepresenting a section of the community generally rather than individual cases. Eden Lake works as it only gives us a small group of characters to play with. If say a whole town was represented as being low life chav scum then people who live in that area for real might well feel a bit annoyed if it didn't ring true. Likewise, Mum + Dad's setting, although on the edge of one of the worlds busiest airports, is also very isolated and Steven Sheil concentrates on that isolated setting rather than the outside world (otherwise I'd probably have sat there picking holes in how they got their stolen goods out of the cargo buildings and the like). Keeping settings remote and isolated certainly allows the director to get away with more.

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Post by Wolfshade » Wed Sep 24, 2008 11:19 pm

hm, I just saw this again after it had properly been released and I've got to say I thought it packed a bigger punch at Fright Fest...although that's more than likely because I saw it at a virtually empty cinema this time and it's just not the same as seeing it at a rammed out big cinema with the crowd really up for it. Even so, it was still good second time around, definitely the best of the first day at FF

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Post by krispyg » Fri Sep 26, 2008 8:07 pm

I went to see this at the cinema yesterday and was really impressed. I would like to know if the director bases this on how we are as a society, here and now, or how he thinks we might descend into in the near future. Like the scroty kids living in a nice house in the country and the Eden Lake development being based in a secure and gated community.

Us against them if you will.

The only let down for me was I would love to have seen the lead female kill off all the kids for what they did but this did not happen.

However it did impress me that this film built up a slow and steady pace and built up the intensity as it went on. And the fact it was set here in Britain makes it all the more disturbing.

Congratulations for all involved, you made a class film and one that I enjoyed.

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Post by Wolfshade » Fri Sep 26, 2008 8:45 pm

tbh the only bit I really didn't like was when the girl was hiding around the corner of the portacabin and the kid was coming after her, then in the next scene she's managed to get onto the roof of the cabin in 1 second without making a sound. Quite impressive, wish I could do that.

Well that and the end was somewhat far fetched, her just happening to end up at Brett's house, etc.

But still, only minor quibbles, did enjoy overall.

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Post by maxmum » Fri Sep 26, 2008 11:10 pm

Just in case your daft enough to be readin this thread without seeing the movie - slight spoilers ahead.


I really want to see this again - the more I think about it. It's just the knife in the gob bit and the kid of fire I am not looking forwards to rewatching. I must say I think it was excellent.

Has anyone read Jack Ketchums 'Red' ? I have been thinking about the similarity there, the kids and the main culprits parents in Red remind me of the culprits in Eden Lake. Scary stuff.

I will deffo be buying this for my collection I was impressed and it has left me pondering the movie which is always good.
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Post by Laymonite » Mon Sep 29, 2008 2:08 pm

krispyg wrote:I would like to know if the director bases this on how we are as a society, here and now, or how he thinks we might descend into in the near future.
I do remember him saying he hadn't intended it as any kind of social commentary. He just wanted to make a good scary film. And he succeeded, I think this was one of the best of the festival.
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