Saturday, 18 November 2017

Black Rock (2012)

A Lambrini-fuelled city break weekend for the girls would have been a better bet really. Less carnage anyway. Well....just about. Still, I'm down with my crush Lake Bell kicking ass.

Being a firm believer that man is the greatest monster, I rather like survival thrillers actually. Deliverance, Straw Dogs, hell I even like The Backwoods and no sod seems to like that one. Black Rock is a welcome addition to this sub genre because it not only places three female protagonists at its heart, it's also directed by one of the actresses - Katie Aselton - from a story she conceived, and produced by a woman too - Adele Romanski. 

The story concerns three lifelong friends, Abby (Aselton), Lou (Lake Bell) and Sarah (Kate Bosworth) who head out to a remote island they once visited in their youth in the hope of fixing the cracks and fissures in their fragile friendship.  On their first night there, they run into three former soldiers who are hunting on the island and a drunken Abby begins to flirt wildly with one of them, Henry (Will Bouvier). They both retreat into the woods to make out, but when Abby changes her mind, Henry becomes aggressive and tries to force himself on her. Her only recourse is to hit him with a rock, which kills him. Henry's two friends, Alex and Derek (Anslem Richardson and Jay Paulson) quickly become enraged and pretty soon they're hunting down the girls with the sole intention of bloody revenge.

Because this is a film by women and about women, Black Rock has some very interesting things to say which you might not normally find in such a sub genre of horror. Obviously there's the whole symbolism of predatory males, but what's really progressive is that a mainstream popcorn thriller with a target audience of teens and upwards is expressing the universal truth that a woman has the right to say no at any time during a sexual encounter, irrespective of how willing she may have appeared before that point, and more - that the woman should not be judged or attacked as a result. It's also interesting to see scenes of nudity (so often a genre staple in modern horrors/thrillers of this type) occur naturally and convincingly in terms of the plot for practicalities sake rather than any gratuitous need.

And it's all wrapped up in just 75 minutes, which is something I really appreciated, although, to be honest, I would have happily sat through a bit more of a lead-in to the action just to get more of our three leads. Oh well, there's a score from The Kills

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