Black RockDirector: Katia Aselton
Script: Mark Duplass
Cast: Katia Aselton, Lake Bell, Kate Bosworth, Will Bouvier, Jay Paulson
Running time: 76 minutes
Year: 2012
Certificate: 15

Three women, all probably in their early thirties, meet up for a camping weekend on an island they used to hang out on when they were youngsters. Sarah (played well by Bosworth), the instigator of the trip, has tricked the other two into coming without them realising the other is also attending the expedition. Since the two are no longer friends, due to one of them sleeping with the other’s previous boyfriend, this makes the dynamics between the three women somewhat tense, particularly to begin with.

As things seem to be improving between the women the girls bump into three hunters who, they soon discover, were dishonourably discharged from their latest tour of duty in Afghanistan. To begin with they all seem to get on, but when a drunken Abby almost gets raped by one of the squaddies, things get nasty awfully quickly.

Black Rock has been hailed by some reviewers as the female version of Deliverance and, while it has some similarities with that established classic, it never really reaches the same highs as the seventies back-woods action-drama.

Having said that Black Rock is well made with decent cinematography, good central performances from the leads, good locations, naturalistic dialogue and a suitable, if slightly dull, score. However, I did quite like the songs by The Kills.

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I think the film is let down a little by a predictable narrative (although I didn’t see one death coming when it did!), some pacing issues, and a couple of moments of unbelievability. Plus the hunters are never as menacing as perhaps they’re supposed to be, although that might be because one of them reminded me a little of a young Les Dennis!

There are some nice humorous touches – the sign saying ‘We Got Crabs’ and the girl’s reaction to it is amusing and some of the banter between the women is good fun too. These lighter moments are needed to balance out some of the darker, more horrific scenes, including a nasty compound fracture, a throat slash and a very vicious fight between the final survivors on a cliff top, which shows just how uncivilised people can be when they’re faced with a real life and death struggle.

Overall Black Rock is a decent enough edition to the ‘city folk in trouble in the backwoods’ sub genre of horror/thriller films and, if you like outdoorsy cat and mouse chase movies, you’ll certainly get a kick out of this film too.

Reviewer: Justin Richards

Black Rock was recently released on DVD and Blu-Ray by Momentum and, somewhat disappointingly, features no extras. I would have hoped for at least a ‘making of’ featurette or maybe a blooper real, but no, zippo, nought, nothing!

About The Author

Justin Richards is a journalist by day and a scriptwriter by night. His work has appeared in the darker recesses of the internet and in various niche publications including ITNOW, The Darkside, Is it Uncut?, Impact and Deranged. When he’s not sitting hunched over a sticky, crumb-laden keyboard he’s paying good money to have people in pyjamas try and kick him repeatedly in the face.

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