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The Runners Of East Lake originally titled as The Runners is a 2008 British American Psychological Horror film written and directed by Steve McQueen starring Daniel Day-Lewis, Emma Thompson, Shailene Woodley, Dylan O'Brien, AJ Michalka, Seychelle Gabrielle, Thomas Mann, Kyle Massey and Jamie Blackley.

The film was shot on constructed and properly maintained sets around the countryside of Faversham, Kent.

The film first screened at the British Reel film festival on October 31st, 2008 and was met with praise from critics and audiences.

It has since garnered a major cult following and secured two BAFTA and Satellite Awards for Daniel Day-Lewis and Emma Thompson's respective roles in the film as well as garnering a Jury Award For Best Dramatic Actress: Woodley (in her first starring role coincidentally).

The film is credited like Wolf Creek and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre as based on true events, the events in this case pertaining to British serial killer couple Frederick and Rosemary West of Gloucester who would maim, torture, rape and violently murder women they would abduct, as well as brutally killing off members of their own family.

The film also secured a Saturn Award nomination for Best Horror Film: 2008 losing out to Hellboy II: The Golden Army from Guillermo Del Toro and received a Saturn nomination for Best Actress: Shailene Woodley.

The film is distributed by Warner Bros Entertainment in collaboration with Legendary Pictures and British company Film4.

Plot

The year is 1979 and come January 12th, the nearing end of summer holidays for a group of American high school graduates about to head off to individual colleges are set for an overseas holiday.

They after a mishap burglary end up with a very limited amount of money to what they began with ruling out their desired spot of Tahiti and instead on England.

The group soon then depart and pick up a rental combi van in Glasgow which they drive to a rented out cottage in the small village of Faversham, Kent.

There they settle down before we are taken to the story of a young couple: Maverick Combes a London congressman and his wife Marianne Combes who come through Faversham into the vast hills in search of a for lease property Maverick is set on selling.

They are soon met by a friendly couple The Runcorns: Irrigation worker Al Runcorn and his florist wife Martha.

They help the Combes with some random car trouble and bring them back to their nearby residence, a large old colonial style two storey cottage estate, where their tea and supplied food is drugged and they are rendered unconscious.

When the Combes awaken they are in the large dark basement of the cottage where hundreds of human skeletal pieces are scattered.

Maverick is chained to a wall pipe manufactored by Al and Maverick's petrified wife Marianne is chained by her arms to a bolt hook on the ceiling.

Soon comes down a cheery Martha Runcorn who begins debating with her husband Al in the basement over what to have for tea tonight and meeting his family this weekend.

She then unveils the tray she has wheeled in which contains numerous power tools from which Al withdraws a scalpel and a bonesaw.

He then proceeds to horrible mutilate Marianne's face and torso in a calm manner before Martha returns to the basement with a first aid kit, Martha then tends to Marianne's wounds bandaging and stitching up her face and torso.

The chained, gagged screaming Maverick jerks around violently as Al comes to him with his belongings and begins a conversation about him being a congressman and asks wether he was aware his wife was cheating on him with a co-worker named Pete Edelstein.

Martha then passes over Marianne's bag to Al who empties it's contents and shows a collection of stashed letters from his co-worker talking intimately about their secret relationship which Martha and Al read to each other poetically before dancing as Martha puts on the basement phonogram.

We then come back to the group of graduate youths who have arrived in Faversham and taken up at their rented cottage, they prepare to go for a booze charged countryside drive and load up as a tape of Ray Charles' "Hit The Road Jack" is played as they depart.

The scene then returns to the Runcorn cottage basement where Maverick is able to break free of his bindings as predicted by Al and his wife Martha who calmly upstairs over lunch bet on the amount of time it would take him.

He prepares to run and leave Marianne but then stops looking over seeing she is conscious and has one eye fixed on him with a running tear.

He then tears down her chains and removes her belt gag.

The Runcorns then head back for the basement and Maverick instructs Marianne to slide under the basement staircase.

Maverick then retreats into a dark corner and pulls out a crowbar.

As Martha comes down the stairs after Al Marianne pulls at his feet and causes him to trip causing him to smash out the left side of the staircase much to the yelping horror of Martha Runcorn.

Maverick then emerges and strikes Al across the face with his crowbar but has it seized on a third swing and is propelled against the wall as the two wrestle.

Marianne grabs Martha's feet as she stabs down a butcher's knife into her left hand and as Martha falls and sprains her ankle Marianne pulls herself up the broken staircase and out into the house as Maverick ushers for her to go whilest yelling so and continuing to struggle with Al.

Maverick eventually gets atop of the injured bloody faced Al as he sticks a screwdriver into his leg but is rendered unconscious by Martha who advances with a crowbar.

She helps Al up but he tells her she shouldn't of as he could of handled it and they always struggle.

Martha justifies that she is very protective of him and the two then discuss Marianne Combes and which direction she is most likely to make a run for.

Al withdraws police handcuffs and handcuffs a barely coherent Maverick to a pipe fixture on a wall in the basement before bidding farewell.

Martha and him then climb the broken staircase and begin discussing as they clamly stumble into the kitchen that the basement will be off limit for the next sinners and that with their fair justice that those who sin and must punished for doing so may only be struck down while trying to outrun their crimes.

Al then withdraws a hunting rifle and utters to himself that he well and truly does hate guns before smilings grimly at Martha who brandishes a woodcutting axe and the two then leave the cottage.

The bandaged up Marianne meanwhile with blurred vision and stumbling around begins to run north of the cottage towards the woods heading over the fields.

She is spotted by Martha who signals Al who then takes aim from a distance and fires.

His first shot hits the ground beside her, causing her to scream in fright and then run in another direction which comes more into the scope of Al's rifle as he takes his second shot.

Marianne is then knocked down with a bullet wound in the back as Martha and Al come to approach the still breathing but down on the ground bleeding profusely Marianne.

Al with his foot gently rolls the face down Marianne to face them as they bid her farewell and Martha with her axe begins to dismember her.

The two then head back to the cottage where Martha leaves the bloody axe by the front door and Al returns the rifle to the cupboard he withdrew it from.

They wash their hands with sterilizer and then return to the field containing the dismembered pieces of Marianne with bubblewrap sheets which they wrap her pieces in.

They then trek into the woods with Martha marking the way with a walking stick in her left hand and the couple come to a large woodland lake containing the bagged and unbagged corpses of many other victims.

Al with a black marker from his shirt pocket then writes on her bubblewrap sheet wrapped on her torso "Marianne Combes" as well as writing the same on her wrapped arms, legs and head which are then gently tossed into the lake.

We then come between the scenes of the Runcorns returning to their cottage home and washing up and changing clothes and the group of youths in the combi listening to Hit The Road Jack as they come into the outskirts of the town's vast countryside.

They come to hit a bear trap which encases their front left wheel and they are left immobile.

The group decide on walking back towards town or the nearest house but decide collaboratively on pressing on considering they are least 120 miles from the town.

Reclusive, intelligent Plain Jane of the group Hayley Thompson ventures into the sidewoods with her blonde smoking worn down party girl bestfriend Heather Boome, Hayley's pre-law boyfriend Blake Carrothers remains at the combi with Nathaniel and joker Jackson Toladis trying to get the combi radio to work to patch into town but receive no signal.

Jackson's sister and Nathaniel's girlfriend Rachel Toladis heads into the sidewoods after Hayley and Heather.

The girls discover various items and belongings scattered in the woods and the guys back at the combi intercept a weird static voice over the radio.

What follows is Rachel returning to the van as Hayley and Heather press on into the woods as Hayley wishes to further check the trail of weird items is the Runcorn couple arriving at the scene of the group's immobile combi and luring them on a brief walk over the hills to their cottage estate.

Jackson is drugged with spiked food before a curious Rachel opens up the basement door and sees a strung up sill alive barely coherent Maverick Combes which leads her to back up and be advanced by Martha who gently tries to subdue her with chloroform.

Rachel kicks free and struggles sending Martha down as she runs for the front door and Blake wrestles with All who with his transquiliser gun shoots Nathaniel rendering him unconscious.

Rachel makes it out the door and down into a hollow in the surrounding woods where as the sun sets she is captured as Martha finally catches her and chloroforms her whilest Al searches in a seperate location with his spotlight torch.

Cast

  • Daniel Day-Lewis as Al Runcorn
  • Emma Thompson as Martha Runcorn
  • Shailene Woodley as Hayley Thompson
  • Dylan O'Brien as Blake Carrothers
  • AJ Michalka as Heather Boome
  • Seychelle Gabrielle as Rachel Toladis
  • Thomas Mann as Nathaniel Baston
  • Kyle Massey as Jackson Toladis
  • Jamie Blackley as Maverick Combes
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