Eden Lake (2008)
A loved-up yuppie couple set off for a romantic weekend at an idyllic, secluded lake in the middle of a forest. But when they confront a group of rowdy youths, they end up making the biggest mistake of their lives.
Eden Lake is a brutal film that's difficult to watch at times. The violence is strong and merciless, and some elements are truly disturbing. (The coldness of the teenage girl calmly filming the torture on her mobile phone, for example.) The acting performances are all impressive, the gore effects look horribly convincing, and the film features some excellent cinematography. Visually it's all pretty good.
My biggest issues are with the writing. The couple continually make stupid decisions, which soon becomes frustrating and annoying. It ends up as a film with no characters I liked or felt sympathetic towards. Meanwhile the teenagers are mostly just nasty. I spent most of the running time feeling angry. Sometimes at the villains. Sometimes at the victims.
Without anyone to root for, the movie becomes all about the violence and little else. People I don't care about are attacked by other people I don't like. There's not a great deal more to the story, though a bit of exposition is stuck onto the end which tries to explain the teenagers' motivation.
Maybe I'm missing something. Perhaps the film maker is making a statement about an out-of-control Jeremy Kyle generation. It could all be an allegory on the gentrification of the countryside, or a statement about social class. But I'm not convinced. Yes it's technically well made, well acted, the violence is shocking, and it provokes strong emotions in the viewer. I appreciate I may be in the minority for not loving Eden Lake, but it just didn't strike me as particularly fresh or memorable.
Trailer (warning: reveals most of the film's highlights)