January 13, 2009
One of the best movies to hit DVD store shelves in ages has been the excellent "Eden Lake" -- check out our review here. Make no mistake -- this movie is great and you owe it to yourself to at least rent it. We had the opportunity to ask director James Watkins a few questions about his debut film.
How did you come up with the idea for 'Eden Lake'?
I got interested in fear of youth. And I wanted to write a tough survival horror. The two things came together- I wanted to tap into the tradition of in-the-woods horror, but try to freshen it up with something that felt more homegrown and closer to home.
Was it tough to get funding for a movie where the hero of the story kills some kids?
Some people were scared off. But my producer Christian had made The Descent, so that helped. He's just produced Slumdog Millionaire!
How did you go about casting the kids? Were their parents upset about the subject matter of the film?
Casting was tough. We worked hard not to have 'stage school' kids, but kids who felt real. The toughest scene was when the kids bully and burn the little boy Adam- the actor James's parents were there with him on set and I struggled to look them in the eye.
In the U.S., we have gang violence, but not many 12 year olds killing adults. Is there an epidemic of child violence in Britain?
There are some hysterical headlines about it. For me horror is about exploring people's fears- fear of the dark, fear of the water, fear of youth- whether those fears are rational or not.
Was the film based in part on a true story?
No. But when we were cutting the film, the editor Jon [Harris who has just directed The Descent 2] and I would every day read newspaper headlines of nasty things that were happening that echoed events in the film. That was disturbing.
The most chilling thing about the film may be the ending. Did any of the producers pressure you to give the film an 'happy ending'?
The ending was discussed: so I came up with an even darker ending! You don't want to know…
Some people seem to be comparing your film to 'I Spit On Your Grave'. Do you think it's a fair comparison?
Funnily enough, I've never seen it! For me, Last House on the Left is more in the ballpark.
What else do you have on your plate right now? Another horror film?
I'm working on a scary ghost story.
Talk about this story on ESplatter's Message Board
Gotta scoop? Drop a line to Lucius Gore, editor