Movie Review - Black Rock

Movie Review - Black Rock

Released late last year on DVD and VOD is the Duplass Brother's 2012 thriller, Black Rock. As a fan of some of Mark Duplass' other acting and directing work, I was optimistic that this would be a suspenseful thrill ride. I thought fairly capable actresses like Lake Bell and Kate Bosworth indicated some hope this might have some strong female leads. I thought, at very least there would be some sort of twist that turned the narrative on it's head in the final act. Unfortunately, I didn't get any of these things. Instead, I got a paint by numbers captive / chase style film, with absolutely no heart. 

Three childhood friends reunite for a weekend getaway to one of their old hangouts - a remote island not far from their hometown, where they used to spend their summers. There is some tension between two of the girls who haven't talked in years due to some unspoken incident in their past. When the fighting comes to a head, they decide to set up camp on the beach. It is there that they encounter one of the local kids from the town they grew up in, who is out hunting with two of his buddies from the military. After inviting the three men to join them for the evening, When one of the girls and one of the guys head off into the woods together, things get flirty, but when she tries to stop his advances, things start to get a little out of hand. Fearing she might be raped, she hits him in the head with a rock and killing him. When the others come to investigate the commotion, they find what's happened, and it begins a chain reaction of bloodshed. 

What unfolds for the duration of the film is pretty much exactly what you would expect. Unfortunately though, and this is why the movie failed for me, we don't care what happens to the main characters. For the most part, the characters are varying degrees of boring, one-dimensional, annoying, and by the end of the film I wanted to kill them myself. There was the potential for them this film to re-imagine a film like 1994's Surviving the Game with Ice-T. That would have been interesting. 

This movie to me was a wasted opportunity to try something interesting. Instead the script is unoriginal, the acting subpar, the characters unlikeable, and the direction is unimaginative.  It really pains me to give negative reviews, especially when it comes to indie horror. I love the genre, and I know how hard it is to make a quality film. But others have done it for less, and recently. Directors like Eric England, Brandon Slagle, and Jessica Cameron are making low-budget films that not only look amazing but have a lasting emotional impact as well. So I have come to expect more from the genre. 

Overall, this movie really doesn't have anything to offer anyone. My apologies for saying so, but don't waste your time or money on this film. Instead go rent Eric England's 'Contracted'. That's indie-horror done right. 

Grade D.

-Leo Francis