Wednesday, December 31, 2008

"Horror" Movie? More Like Hyped Movie

Last night my boyfriend & I watched a new British horror film titled Eden Lake. It was hyped up by Rotten Tomatoes, which we regularly rely on to rate our films prior to viewing... In other words, if a film gets less than 60%, we won't watch it unless one of us really wants to see it.

So back to the film wreck that was Eden Lake. The plot is similar to that of many a horror film -- couple on their own in the woods for a romantic weekend away. Couple gets caught up in some horrific torture/chase/etc. situation. These two in particular were difficult to like... perhaps it was primarily because every other line I was turning to my boyfriend to ask, "What did they just say?" (The British accents make it difficult for my southern-fried mind to translate.) Maybe it was because they were just so darn in love. Not sure. Just know it was annoying.

The couple runs into trouble when they meet up with a band of teenagers who have joined the couple at a beach fenced in by a construction corporation. Both parties jumped the fences onto private property -- the once public lake & beach are soon to be a high-end gated community of expensive homes. The teens have an evil-looking and sounding dog who they continuously allow to bark at the woman. They also (gasp!) play loud music on a boom box which looks like it walked straight out of the 1980s. When the guy just can't take it anymore, he plays the tough-guy role in front of his girlfriend, confronting the kids and proving his manliness.

And therein lies his fatal mistake. By asking the teens to turn down their music and keep control of their dog, he has locked in his fate to forever (or at least, for the rest of the movie) be tortured by their not-so-innocent teenage pranks. First their tires are slashed. Then their food is ruined. After that, the teens turn hardcore, stealing both the guy's wallet, his cell phone, and his car. At this point, viewers start to realize that something isn't going exactly right for this couple... or it could be the fact that the rebellious teens try to run them down with the stolen jeep. Regardless, from that moment forward, the so-called intensity starts. In actuality, it's when the needless violence begins.

In a struggle for the keys to his car, the man inadvertently cuts the throat of the kids' dog. "What?!?" you might ask. Yes, that's correct. He cuts the dog's throat. After, of course, the kids pull a knife on him. Because that's reasonable when you've taken a car for a joyride and are asked for the keys back.

The ludicrous film continues with the man being tied up (with barbed wire, no less), heinously tortured Hostel-style by the entire group of teens, and the entire scene filmed for later viewing by an impassive girl in the group. Later they beat him to death, torture his girlfriend, and burn a younger child alive. By the way, this murdered "child" found the girlfriend running through the woods (after a stake went through her foot) and led her to the group after telling her his mom was on her way to pick him up. Did I mention the part in the movie where the kids are chasing the woman and she somehow manages to climb on top of a metal trailer without the aid of a ladder or the kids hearing her? She escapes capture at that point, but eventually they catch her. Then she runs away again and ends up stabbing one of the kids in the neck with a piece of broken glass.

It's okay, though, because although her boyfriend is dead, before he died he gave her the engagement ring he intended to present to her over the weekend.

The woman finally finds her way to the road, where she is picked up by a horrified, seemingly nice young man driving a van. He agrees to help her, but when he hears the terrible things she's been through, he gets extremely worried about his little brother. Who is hanging out in the woods with his friends. I think you understand where this is going. When he freaks and gets out yelling his brother's name, she shows some moxy and drives the car away, even as he and the rest of his younger brother's satanic friends chase her.

The cell phone filming girl runs in front of the car to stop her, so of course she's run over. The woman seems to finally be getting somewhere. At this point, I believe I was yelling, "All the way to London! Straight to the police!!" at the TV. She was well on her way, but suddenly wrecked the van without provocation... into the yard of a house. When she makes her way to the house where a party seems to be going on, she stumbles upon an adult bash in which every single parent of the kids in the woods is in attendance. They are all snorting cocaine, having sex in the bathrooms, and generally partying it up. Rather than call for an ambulance for the bleeding, barely coherent woman who lands in their midst, they lay her down on the couch to calm her down. I mean, she's obviously just had a bit of a scare, right?

As she's lying down, she is sniffed at by... the dog. That's right. The dog. The barker and sniffer from the beach. She slowly realizes the horror of what she's done by coming to this particular house for help. This is confirmed when the gang leader walks in. In a matter of seconds, the parents receive calls from their children learning that one of the kids was stabbed and another run over. The film ends as three of the fathers lead the woman into the hallway bathroom to kill her. Seriously. That's how it ends.

Eden Lake was perhaps one of the most unbelievable films I have ever been unfortunate enough to see. Barring the excellent lead performance by English film actress Kelly Reilly, the film was a complete waste of time. The possibility that an entire group of 14 year olds would decide to murder a man and woman for the heck of it is ludicrous at best. But an entire household of adults allowing the murder of a woman they've never seen during a keg party? Really? What happened next? They buried the body out in the backyard, and no one ever came looking for the couple? No one ever asked about the young boy who was burned to death, or the glass stabbing victim, or the hit-and-run girl?

Needless to say you shouldn't waste your time. Watch the truly excellent foreign horror film .rec. Go back a few years and watch Rob Zombie's The Devil's Rejects or House of 1000 Corpses. Heck, watch Liv Tyler's latest flick The Strangers. All three were hands down in my top 100 films of all time, much less the smaller horror genre. Skip Eden Lake. Skip the reviews of it, many of which are written by British reviewers debating the social effectiveness of the movie. Watch Seinfield reruns! Read a book. Anything but watching this poor excuse for entertainment.

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