Director: Katie Aselton
Writer(s): Mark Duplass (screenplay), Katie Aselton (story)
Starring: Katie Aselton, Lake Bell, Kate Bosworth
Release Date: July 30, 2013
Rated: R for some strong violence, pervasive language, sexual references and brief graphic nudity
Synopsis from IMDB:
Three women who were good friends in the past get back together for the first time since they were kids to spend time on an island called Black Rock. They meet some local hunters and find out they know one of them from when they were children. After inviting them to join them in a few drinks on the beach, the atmosphere changes into one of panic and horror as the situation and friendships are turned on their head in a brutal confrontation. Written by Michael Hallows Eve
Wow, so I didn't really know what to expect going in to this one. Sometimes when I get bored, I just type an actor's name into Netflix and see if he/she has any new movies that I can save to my queue. Netflix is pretty awesome in that, usually, as soon as a movie is in production it will become available to save. Then I'll chose a movie of said actor that I like and will click on each and every co-star of that film, whether I've heard of him/her or not, to see if that person has any interesting looking films coming out. Rinse, repeat. I'm pretty sure that is how this film ended up in my queue. It was probably through either Lake Bell or Kate Bosworth, who are both actors I enjoy. The point is (oh, yes, there is a point): I didn't really know what I was getting into when I started watching this film.
Black Rock follows three women who have been friends since childhood: Sarah (Bosworth), Abby (Aselton), and Lou (Bell). Behind the other two's backs, Sarah has arranged for the three of them to spend the weekend camping together on a remote, small island off the coast of Maine. Abby and Lou have never recovered from a fight the two of them had years ago and Sarah is determined to make the two bury the hatchet.
The film starts off idyllic enough with pretty, although muted, scenery. Abby and Lou are at each others' throats and the viewer soon finds out that the fight was caused by Lou sleeping with Abby's boyfriend years ago. A man she had been with for two years and who she had believed she was going to marry. Tension between the girls are already high when three men come strolling up to their camp. The men are all ex-military and are on the island for a hunting trip. Their plan had been to eat what they killed, but they haven't had any luck so far. Lou recognizes one of the men as the younger brother of one of their elementary school classmates and the girls invite them to sit down and share in their cans of Spaghetti-Os.
Abby, drunk and still reeling from being in Lou's presence (presumably) starts to heavily flirt with one of the guys (the brother of the old classmate) and lures him away from the others for a make-out session. When he starts to take it too far, she struggles and tries to get away. He throws her on the ground, slaps her, and starts to rape her. Fearing for her life, Abby takes a rock and bashes it into the side of his head, killing him. His friends are pissed. After savagely beating the three women and tying them to a tree, the men are stuck. They feel like they have to kill them now. And that is where the movie really begins.
This is also where the movie turns into pretty much any other scary chase film ever made. Of course the women get freed from their bondages, there are some scary running through the woods moments, the girls get naked because of wet clothes, not everyone survives. Yada, yada.
I don't think this was a horrible film. At times it is engrossing and I was certainly rooting for the women to get their asses off that rock, even when they were making the same stupid decisions females always make in this type of film (at least there wasn't a staircase they could run up). At a little over an hour, the film stays pretty tight and nothing that happens is completely outlandish--like is often the case with horror films--it's just that it is predictable. Nothing that happened was surprising. Any discerning viewer will know from the beginning how it will all end.
In the end, I found the film to be alright. I thought all three women did well in their roles (the men did alright, too, for what they were). Aselton, who directed and starred, is truly a striking woman. I liked the additional story of the friends who have to mend the rift in order to survive (even if it is trite). Overall, if you are a fan of scary/suspenseful films there are certainly worst ways to spend an hour and twenty minutes.