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Black Rock – 3

Director – Katie Aselton

Cast – Katie Aselton, Lake Bell, Kate Bosworth, Will Bouvier, Jay Paulson, Anslem Richardson

Release Year – 2013

Reviewed by John of the Dead

When I first saw a trailer for Black Rock I just knew it would be a film with little substance, poor direction, cheap writing, and unbearable acting. Sure enough, after convincing myself to hit Play for the sole reason of getting the film off my queue I can see that every one of my predictions proved to be correct. This 83 minute waste may get a few things right here and there, but overall this is a poor experience you should stay away from – even if you enjoy Lifetime channel quality films.

Childhood friends Abby, Lou, and Sarah set aside their dramatic personal issues and reunite for a girls’ weekend on a remote island off the coast of Maine. Much to their surprise, three recently dishonorably discharged male soldiers inhabit what they thought would be a deserted island. All is well at first, but when one wrong move leaves a soldier dead the girls find themselves in a deadly fight to get off the island.

Drama is the name of the game when it comes to Black Rock. We witness the bickering between the girls as soon as they reach the island. The purpose of the trip is to rekindle their childhood friendships, but instead of being positive they return to their bickering ways early on. When they come across the three ex-soldiers, Derek, Henry, and Alex, there is a bit of tension at first but soon enough we see them getting along. It is when one of the soldiers makes a fatal mistake that they turn the tide on the girls and do their best to exact revenge. I liked the idea of this scenario taking place on a deserted island with nowhere to go, but that is the only thing I enjoyed about the film. We see the women forced to harden their personalities if they wish to survive the ordeal, and while that is sure to be inspiring to some on paper it was poorly executed here. The Descent is a great example of women facing insurmountable odds and countering them on their own – Black Rock is trash. The character play is poor and is not limited to just the women. The male antagonists are also poorly executed, although I expected them to be unlikable so it is less of a fiasco than the horribly written protagonists. If you can smell feminist undertones then you are of course right, and again I apply the same logic as my comparison to The Descent. The Descent did it right and Black Rock did it in horrible fashion.

You know what is equally as bad as the screenplay adapted by Mark Duplass based on Katie Aselton’s story – Katie Aselton’s direction. I enjoyed the island aspect and she used decent sets, but everything else is very poorly executed. The acting is cheesy, the execution of the tension is mediocre at best, and the fight/kill scenes are laughable. I am not making this up either. I laughed at some of these kill sequences and not for good reason. The fight scenes were even more terrible, with not only your typical poor decision-making, but absolutely ridiculous decision-making that belongs in a parody movie and not an effort taking itself as seriously as this one. I’ll give you one example before I roll out: a flying elbow drop from one of the female survivors. Had this been an elbow drop of Macho Man Randy Savage proportions I may have laughed in a different manner, but I laughed AT the movie, not with it.

Overall, Black Rock is a film that should never grace your screen and is a disgrace to other films that show gender-based horror in a positive light, like The Descent, American Mary, and Ginger Snaps.

Rating: 3/10

…Additional Stills…

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