Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||James Watkins|
|Produced by||Christian Colson|
|Written by||James Watkins|
|Music by||David Julyan|
|Edited by||Jon Harris|
Aramid Entertainment Fund
|Distributed by||Optimum Releasing|
|Box office||$3.9–4.3 million|
The film was nominated for the Empire Award for Best British Film. It is among a group of roughly contemporaneous films that deal with concerns over "Broken Britain" and a fear of "hoodies". Some of the close up scenes were filmed at Frensham Small Pond.
Nursery school teacher Jenny Greengrass and her boyfriend Steve Taylor journey to a remote lake in the wooded English countryside. Hiking to the lakeside, they meet Adam, a young boy gathering insects. Relaxing beside the lake, the setting is disrupted by a group of delinquent teenagers, who have ridden their bicycles to a spot within a few metres of the young couple. After they sleep overnight in their tent, they find food supplies infested with insects and their car tyre damaged by a bottle left behind by the teens.
Returning to town for breakfast, Steve spots a house with bikes that he thinks belongs to the teens. When no one answers the door, Steve walks into the house, narrowly escaping as the surly homeowner returns.
Back at the lake, Steve goes scuba diving while Jenny sleeps on the shore. Steve returns to find the bag with their car keys, phone and wallet is missing, soon confirming that their car is gone. Returning to town on foot, they avoid collision with their car, driven recklessly through the woods by the gang's leader Brett.
Finding the gang in the woods after nightfall, Steve demands the return of his belongings, only to be pounced by the knife-wielding teens. In the scuffle, Brett's rottweiler Bonnie is mortally knifed, provoking Brett into wanting revenge. The couple grab the keys and drive off, but the gang throws stones at them, causing Steve to crash the car. With Steve trapped, Jenny is forced to run for help.
At daybreak, Jenny sees Steve tied to a rock with barbed wire. Brett orders each reluctant teen to torture him. When Paige, a female gang member, records Steve's torture on her phone, the gang realize they have no choice but to kill Steve.
This allows Jenny to show herself and give chase while Steve buys time to free himself. Jenny evades the gang and finds Steve, but is unable to nurse his fatal wounds. She finds an engagement ring, leading Steve to propose even as he is in severe pain. Jenny runs off to find help and accidentally steps on a large spike. Her scream catches the gang's attention.
Steve dies from his injuries. Jenny runs into Adam and thinks he will help her but he ends up texting the gang their location. They tie Jenny and Steve's body to a pile of wood. Brett forces Adam to light the bonfire while Paige films. Jenny is able to escape, and the gang burn Adam to death in retaliation. Jenny continues to evade the gang, killing gang member Cooper who was actually attempting to help her.
After finding the body, Brett is thrown into further rage and beats another gang member to death, causing Paige to run away. Jenny reaches a road and is picked up by a driver who is looking for his brother Ricky, another gang member. When the driver exits the van to talk with the gang members, Jenny panics and steals the van, speeds off, and runs over Paige while making her way back to town.
Jenny makes it to town, crashes into a fence at a large backyard party, and collapses. Awaking, she finds herself being comforted by an unknown woman, her husband and the party guests and realizes she is in Brett's house. Jenny is led to the bathroom after saying that she feels sick, and Brett's father Jon notices the van on his lawn before one of the parents receives a call informing him of the dead gang members, who are the children of the adults at the house.
A commotion begins in the house and the bathroom door is kicked open as Jenny is confronted by Brett, Jon, and the other party guests. Brett has convinced the adults that Jenny and Steve sadistically murdered Bonnie and the gang members. Jenny begs Jon to call the police and attacks him with a razor she found in the bathroom. Jon quickly subdues her. Jon tells Brett to go upstairs, slaps him when he tries to say something, and takes Jenny back into the bathroom with two other men. Brett shuts the door of his room, blocking out her screams. He deletes the videos of the gang's crimes from Paige's phone, puts on Steve's sunglasses, and stares blankly into a mirror.
On Rotten Tomatoes, a review aggregator, 79% of 28 surveyed critics gave the film a positive review; the average rating is 6.4/10. The site's critical consensus reads: "A brutal and effective British hoodie-horror that, despite the clichés, stays on the right side of scary."
Dennis Harvey reviewed the film for Variety and said that it was "an effectively harrowing Brit thriller-cum-horror pic," comparing it to Last House on the Left and Lord of the Flies. The Guardian's Peter Bradshaw drew parallels with Deliverance, Straw Dogs and Blue Remembered Hills, and stated that "this looks to me like the best British horror film in years: nasty, scary and tight as a drum," concluding that the film was "exceptionally well made, ruthlessly extreme, relentlessly upsetting."
Other critics, however, have savaged the film, denouncing it as an incitement to class prejudice against working class people in Britain. The Sun condemned the film's "nasty suggestion that all working-class people are thugs" while the Daily Telegraph concluded that "this ugly witless film expresses fear and loathing of ordinary English people". Owen Jones, in his book Chavs: The Demonization of the Working Class cites the film at length as an example of media demonisation of proletarian youth via the "Chav" stereotype. He comments, "Here was a film arguing that the middle classes could no longer live alongside the quasi-bestial lower orders."
Eden Lake has been linked with other, roughly contemporaneous, films that deal with concerns over "Broken Britain" and a fear of "hoodies," including Harry Brown, The Disappeared, Summer Scars, Outlaw, The Great Ecstasy of Robert Carmichael, Cherry Tree Lane and Heartless.
- Cinema of the United Kingdom
- Mathil Mel Poonai , a 2013 Tamil language thriller that bears several similarities to Eden Lake.
- NH10, a Hindi movie loosely draws its plot from the film adapted to an Indian context.
- "EDEN LAKE (18)". British Board of Film Classification. 5 June 2008. Retrieved 4 May 2013.
- "Eden Lake". British Film Institute. London. Archived from the original on 9 January 2011. Retrieved 12 June 2012.
- "Eden Lake (2008)". The Numbers. Retrieved 24 May 2020.
- "Eden Lake (2008)". Box Office Mojo. 6 November 2008. Retrieved 18 February 2012.
- "Horror Movie News | Exclusive Interview with the Director of 'Eden Lake' | ESplatter.com | The Guide to Horror Movies". ESplatter.com. 13 January 2009. Retrieved 18 February 2012.
- "Interview Eden Lake: Writer-Director James Watkins". Bloody Disgusting. Retrieved 18 February 2012.
- "Not such a green and pleasant land after all..." The Independent. 28 November 2012. Retrieved 16 August 2020.
- Eden Lake at Rotten Tomatoes
- Harvey, Dennis (3 November 2008). "Variety Reviews – Eden Lake". Variety. Retrieved 21 August 2011.
- Bradshaw, Peter (12 September 2008). "Film Review: Eden Lake". The Guardian. Retrieved 21 August 2011.
- Jones, Owen (2011). Chavs: The Demonisation of the Working Class. Verso. pp. 130–131. ISBN 1844678644.
- Graham, Jane (5 November 2009). "Hoodies strike fear in British cinema". The Guardian. Retrieved 21 August 2011.