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Movies From the Black Lagoon: Eden Lake

Movies From the Black Lagoon
Eden Lake - 2008, Rated R

A happy young couple on holiday find themselves decidedly unhappy when they run afoul of a pack of restless youths in this suspense yarn from first time director James Watkins.
This one begins with a wink at the audience as we meet Jenny. She's a Kindergarten teacher and when we first see her she is involved in a delightful game of "Peek-a-boo" with her cute as a button students.
Enjoy the moment cause it's the only one in the film that doesn't drip with tension. Her boyfriend, Steve, picks her up and the pair set off for a weekend in the country at the titular location.
The ride begins ominously with a radio personality tearing into Prime Minister Tony Blair's failed attempts to bridge the generation gap with a mutual respect program that encouraged sit-downs and open communications between parents and their children. They arrive at a hotel near the lake just in time to grab a bite and observe the horrid behavior of a young child whose parent belts him with a meaty (Mike Tyson-like fist) after the child has acted up for a prolonged period of time.
They set out for the lake in the morning and pitch a tent at the idyllic location but trouble brews immediately when a group of teens choose the same spot to blast music and misbehave. Steve opts to try a little open communication but gets the stink eye for asking them politely to turn down the tunes. The kids eventually stalk off but you know they'll be back, with a vengeance.
What began with a few leers at Jenny and some tough talk goes another step when the gang raids the campsite and make off with Steve's car keys and wallet. He, once again, chooses to confront them but the talk goes badly and he is forced to defend himself when one kid pulls a knife on him. Their struggle winds up killing the group's mascot, a hound, and the pair flee in Steve's ride. He winds up crashing into a tree and is too injured to flee. He wisely advises Jenny to run for help as the gang descend son him.
Jenny takes off but runs a full circle before coming upon the group as it tortures Steve. Their leader, Brett, shrewdly coerces every member of the group into cutting Steve so that no one can later say that they didn't take part in the mayhem. Jenny succeeds in getting the gang to chase her and Steve is able to free himself but that is just the start of their nightmare.
The next twenty-four hours make up the bulk of the film as the youngsters hunt the couple and Jenny and Steve abandon reason to become as lethal as their pursuers. By the time Jenny stumbles into town looking like she's death warmed over her troubles begin anew as she must face the parents of her tormentors and finds that apples are never found to far from trees.
There are choice words to describe this film and they would include grim, brutal, relentless, and extremely bleak. Not since "A Clockwork Orange" has there been a film that offers so little hope for our future. The actors are ultra realistic and the top honors go to Jack O'Connell as the psychotic Brett and Kelly Reilly as the resourceful Jenny. Watkins is a talent to keep an eye on but when you start with a film this scary it'll be hard to follow up with another in the same vein .If there's any complaint here it's that the film takes absolutely no prisoners and doesn't even hint redemption for any the characters. That said it's a bold statement that sticks to its guns and never glamorizes the use of violence. The down side is that you'll never take that European vacation you always dreamed of but in today's economy that's a load off of anyone's mind. Instead you might just want to spend that dough on armor siding for your home.
Best Line: " I say we find him and drown him like a (F-Bomb deleted) puppy."

Tom Doty occasionally emerges from the Lagoon to check his e-mail and to read to children every Wednesday at 10:30am at Borders in Hagerstown. If you'd like to get a message to him, write to:

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