Loosely based on a true story, this slick, unsettling thriller sees Korean-American teen Hyun Jae (Jamie Chung) snatched from a New Mexico bar and forced into prostitution. Locked up with scores of underage girls, the newly-dubbed ‘Eden’ is devastated. But gradually she’s institutionalised and later she spies a potential way out through an uneasy friendship with one of her captors, Vaughan (Matt O’Leary).
It’s this relationship that’s the most fleshed-out part of the story, helped by O’Leary’s strong turn as manic, unpredictable Vaughan, whose weaknesses Eden seeks to exploit. The profession of Vaughan’s boss, Bob (Beau Bridges) – a high-ranking police detective – feels like one of the film’s fictional elements. But while many details are clearly invented or glossed over, some elements still shock. Perhaps the most terrifying part is the presence of a seemingly invincible super-organised network of traffickers, who acquire and dispose of girls with business-like precision. The girls’ families never discover the truth, yet hundreds of strangers are complicit in their fate. ‘Eden’ is far from an exhaustive exploration of sex trafficking, but it’s a tense, thought-provoking watch.