Steve (Michael Fassbender) takes Jenny (Kelly Reilly), his schoolteacher girlfriend, for a romantic weekend at a secluded flooded quarry where he plans to pop the question. A area he knows well, having gone diving there in the past, he wants to visit this beauty spot one more time before it is developed into 'Eden Lake', a gated community with 50 exclusive homes.
Once there, they are enjoying a quiet time sunbathing on the beach when a group of kids turn up with a big dog and ghetto blaster. The dog runs up and begins barking at Jenny but the owner calls it back and, whilst an annoyance, the kids aren't doing anything illegal. After a while however, Steve grows sick of the loud music and lewd comments and, despite Jenny urging him to ignore them, he goes over and asks them to turn the music down. When they ignore him he turns it down himself and, whilst he returns to Jenny, they turn it back up.
This confrontation proves to be a turning point and events and tensions escalate into a fight for survival.
A crisp and vibrant transfer with excellent colours, particularly the overhead shots of the forest and lake; most of the film is dark, with the sun struggling to penetrate the canopy and, whilst some shots do not have the definition you'd expect from an HD disc, the overall picture is impressive. There is some satisfyingly realistic prosthetic work and special make-up effects.
Most Blu-ray Discs have an array or audio and subtitle options, this just has an English DTS-HD MA track and optional English HoH subtitles. This won't be a problem for the vast majority as the soundtrack is punchy and sharp, with clear dialogue and excellent sound design.
Again the disc fails to take advantage of the format with a disappointing selection of bonus material:
There are interviews, running at about half an hour, with the director (James Watkins), producer (Christian Colson) and three cast members (Kelly Reilly, Michael Fassbender and Thomas Turgoose) where similar questions are put to each. There is an additional Q&A with James Watkins running at about sixteen minutes but repeating many of the questions put to him in the other interview.
The behind the scenes featurette is disappointingly brief with less than 6 minutes of b-roll footage.
There are several TV Spots, the Theatrical and Extreme Trailers.
In the interviews, James Watkins says he started writing this several years ago before the words 'youth' and 'teenager' were accompanied by with 'knife crime', 'feral' and 'gang culture' in a slew of newspaper headlines so he can't be accused of being influenced heavily by current events. The paedophobic nature of modern society almost prevents adults from getting involved in disruptive or annoying behaviour by children, with the generation gap making adults afraid of groups of children. It is this that forms the crux of the film: when Steve and Jenny are annoyed by the kids hanging around on the beach, they don't move away or ignore them until they go home but get involved after trying to reason with them.
In a plot that could have been written by Paul Dacre, editor of the Daily Mail, this involvement leads to an assault, first verbal, then physical that makes this a very nasty and occasionally wince inducing horror movie that is sadly not too hard to believe. The child roles are complex in a way that involves you in the film more than it would if the gang were a group of violent thugs - they're not and most are the victims of peer pressure, bullied into violence by gang leader Brett (Jack O'Connell), himself a product of a hostile home environment.
Writer/director James Watkins and the team behind the superb The Descent didn't take the violence too far as it all seems contextualised and not exploitative. Watkins' direction is very good in this, his debut feature, assembling a fine cast with Kelly Reilly standing out and it was good to see Thomas Turgoose in one of the more complex child roles.
This is one of the better British horrors of the year, tough to watch and thought provoking. Despite the paucity of the package, it is well worth a watch though is probably more of a rental than a must buy.