“Why don’t we just find another spot?”Jenny
It is easy to write off cinematic violence perpetrated by children as nasty and exploitative, but here it serves purpose — with children as the aggressors there is no obvious desirable resolution once things spiral out of control. Feeding on middle class fears about hoodie-clad youth gangs, Eden Lake strips away the fantasy layer of a typical slasher, leaving a violent thriller that is all the more haunting for its stripped down simplicity. By avoiding the predictable route to catharsis James Watkins is able pose more searching questions about class conflict, how civilised communities share the same space and self-segregate, how small frictions can snowball, and where responsibility lies for managing situations, though he has no clear answers to offer. We experience the film through the eyes of a couple looking only for a quiet weekend away but we come to realise that their mere presence is a provocative act, however undeserving of the outcome. After a nerve-shredding 90 minutes that feels considerably longer, I found myself exhausted, drained and, filled with myriad thoughts, undeniably impressed.