If anyone ever wants to know the difference between British and American movies, Eden Lake and E.T. would be good examples to cite. While the later has kids on BMX's trying desperately to help a cute alien back to his homeworld, the former has kids on BMX's torturing and trying to kill a middle class couple for the minor crime of asking them to turn their music down and keep control of their dog. Welcome to Broken Britain. Daily Mail readers beware, Eden Lake is a middle class nightmare.
As any good social horror does Eden Lake starts with a lovely, perfect couple getting out of their comfort zone. Complete with Chelsea tractor and satnav, Jenny (Kelly Reilly) and Steve (Michael Fassbender) travel to an abandoned quarry where Steve plans to pop the question. Plans go a little wry when half the cast of This Is England turn up and kick off. Events spiral out of control in a sometimes believable sometimes not way, but the end result is terrifying none-the-less.
In fact the believeability of it all was something I had to question just to get me to sleep at night, which means job done in horror terms. Thankfully I found some loopholes that I won't go into here (remember I only give away the ending to shit films) and managed to sleep reasonably soundly. The fact that my nocturnal nature was nearly disturbed at all is thanks to superb performances all round, with extra kudos to Jack O'Connell as the chief hood. The interplay between the main couple is also ridiculously strong and makes the fear all the more effective because of it.
Yet another bonus the film gains is that when the focus shifts from the couple on the run to the peer pressure tension within the group the film gets even better. I'm not convinced that I'd put it quite up as high as Irreversible in the 'classic I'll never watch again' category, but I would say it gets a place in the 'very, very good film I'll never watch again' section. Sadly even after watching the film I still have a bit of a problem with the title. My alternatives are Boys wiv the Hoods, The Hood, The Chavs and the Ugly, or just simply BMX Bastards. Send your titles to the usual address...