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Eden Lake – A Disgrace to the UK Film Industry
Having only just got round to finally viewing Eden Lake, I was left dumbfounded, appalled and shocked, not just by the dismal, violent spectacle, but also at how such a disgusting, vile film ever managed to get greenlit and financed in the first place.
We all know what a tricky, risky business the film industry is, particularly here in the UK. Managing to secure finance, jumping through loopholes, script re-writes to ensure no particular groups get offended, re-writes to satisfy investors, re-writes to ensure a message is portrayed to the audience, that the central character goes on a journey and learns something by the end of it, a morality to the story, etc.
Yet amazingly this piece of gutter trash has managed to bypass all of that, and deliver somthing which is a sad reflection on the state of British society, with no redemption or consequence as part of its conclusion. In short, a movie with no moral heart.
Sure, the film has plenty of thrills, shocks and twists in store, with a gloomy atmosphere and a sense of impending doom hanging over the central characters (played brillaintly by Fassbender and Reilly), and director James Watkins knowing which buttons to press to engage and scare its audience (he would go on to direct far superior work with Hammer’s The Woman in Black).
But as far as horror movies go, Eden Lake doesn’t contain ghostly women figures, paranormal ghouls that are caught on videocamera, werewolves in London, Dracula, Freddy Krueger or Leatherface. No, instead we are subjected to a dose of harsh reality – a gang of despicable teenagers that appear as though they have leapt straight out of Harry Brown or the Jeremy Kyle show, led by nasty thug Brett (played to frightening perfection by Jack O’Connell). I doubt David Cameron would want to hug these hoodies.
Become a hero like Jack O’ Connell’s Brett
But any comparisons to Harry Brown end there. In Eden Lake’s world there are no consequences for these brainless criminals, no redemption, no satisfying conclusions or repercussions for their horrific actions. If anything, the message here to young teenagers is simply this – go for it kids! Get your mobiles at the ready with a few weapons and hunt down your next victim, because you will be rewarded with a heroic final shot at the camera, tilting Ray Ban shades cooly down and a knowing smirk to the audience. In this film, you can get away with it. Any of the gang that don’t want to be part of it, they unfortunately meet a sticky end, but as long as you stay close to the main leader and get stuck in, knife at the ready, you’ll be ok.
What kind of message does this spell out to its audience? What were the producers thinking of in getting this vile project off the ground in the first place? Once you start using real sections of an already damaged UK society for a movie, the purposes of shocking the audience in the name of the horror genre completely disappear. Instead, the creators should be held to account for displaying a complete lack of responsibility, once they decided to turn the horror genre into a reflection of the troubled youth of today’s society.
This piece of cinematic garbage seems more intent on shock - glorifying violence, putting its victims through torturous hell while the perpetrators roam free to cause mayhem. And let’s be clear about this – Eden Lake is no Clockwork Orange either. The ring leader here doesn’t suffer any fate for his actions like Alex DeLarge did back in 1971, nor does the character carry any redeemable, likeable traits that Alex had, nor is there any sense of artistic license been applied to this movie, with a touch of genuis that Kubrick posessed, or an intelligent study of human behaviour and moral choice. No, this film is far too realistic and bleak for its own good.
Jack O’ Connell as Brett, and Malcolm McDowell’s Alex
The horrific torture scene with Fassbender tied up and suffering multiple knife wounds is too close for comfort. This is no fantasy horror. Watching the teenagers filming the scene, it is no wonder sick real-life snuff movies such as 3 Guys 1 Hammer surface on the internet. In the wrong hands, with uneducated British youth that have been dragged up in today’s twisted online society, any hidden messages contained in Eden Lake (such as bad parenting), will be lost completely. The only real message spelled out here is `Go for it kids! With any luck, you’ll also get away with it…particularly if you have the right sort of parents to help you out!’
Eden Lake is a disgrace to the British film industry, and should never have been made.