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Romance destroyed by true Brit chavs

PUBLISHED: 13:56 25 September 2008 | UPDATED: 17:11 16 August 2010

A ROMANTIC weekend away goes horribly wrong when a holidaying couple run into a gang of tanked up hoodies in this nasty little slab of Brit Horror.

A ROMANTIC weekend away goes horribly wrong when a holidaying couple run into a gang of tanked up hoodies in this nasty little slab of Brit Horror.

A primary schoolteacher, Jenny, (Kelly Reilly) and her boyfriend Steve (Michael Fassbender) set off for a weekend of camping next to a tranquil woodland lake.

The journey starts off perfectly and the two young lovers smile sweetly to one another as they head out of town and into the sticks in their fancy 4x4 with Steve secretly planning to pop the question in the romantic rural setting.

All goes to plan until a nasty group of teenage chavs led by a bolshy bully (Jack O'Connell) turn up with an obnoxious boom box, cans of cheap lager and a rottweiller.

The young yobs don't take kindly to Steve's request that they turn their music down and soon a game of tit-for-tat retaliation escalates into bloody violence.

The film plays out in a fashion similar to John Boorman's 1972 Hillbilly Horror Deliverance in that a group of urbanites in search of an idyllic escape and a reconnection with nature are forced instead to confront a type of menace their middle class lives ordinarily shelters them from and draw on their baser more primal instincts in order to survive.

But whereas British viewers could remain at a detached distance from the Georgian Wilderness and inbred banjo playing hicks of Boorman's film the leafy scenery and baseball cap wearing chavs of Eden Lake are so unremittingly, realistically British that the whole thing could have been pulled unaltered from the pages of any of the tabloids.

First time director James Watkins keeps the tension high throughout and allows the acts of violence to ramp up naturally as the film builds up to its monumentally depressing downer of a finale.

By tapping into the current climate of anxiety and media scaremongering surrounding youth violence and blending it with a time-honoured set-up Watkins has produced a genuinely disturbing if slightly derivative little horror film with a distinctly British flavour.

* Eden Lake is showing in UK cinemas now.

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