A British thriller that is timely and haunting, as well as suave is James Watkins' Eden Lake. The limited release seems to be right on for those in the mood for a jarring experience.
Starring Kelly Reilly, Michael Fassbender, and Jack O'Connell, a tenacious sense of alarm results in something eerie that suggests the horror of Funny Games as filtered through the terror of something like Stanley Kubrick's A Clockwork Orange.
Reilly is Jenny, girlfriend of Steve (Fassbinder), who wants to enjoy an bucolic weekend with her at the titular park-like area, once an old mine, which is about to be transformed into a housing complex.
The defiantly unsteady storyline by Watkins has the couple quickly tormented by cantankerous teens. In relatively short order, a confrontation designed to promote parental guidance escalates the hostility into a dire struggle.
Marked with an atmospheric score and lustrous lensing, Eden Lake is grounded in a gripping societal tumult as Watkins lets his characters inhabit the grimness set up by human interaction.
The sightlines offer some craziness, as well as roiling ambient sounds, as terror is formulated often with devious simplicity into ordinary occurrences. From a pub to a GPS in a car, the bullying sways with a luridness that finds some of the characters checking into their fear and cockiness. With viciously unpredictable swelling, there is a taut, emotional acuity on hand here, as Reilly and Fassbender in particular outwardly and inwardly take the rattled onlooker into the heart of darkness.