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Black Rock


Stars: Katie Aselton, Lake Bell, Kate Bosworth, Will Bouvier, Jay Paulson, Anslem Richardson, Carl K Aselton III

Director: Katie Aselton

Horror is patently the most durable of all film genres with almost every week bringing forth one or more examples, the majority of them low budget and ever lower in aspiration and execution and destined for DVD viewing when the fast-forward button will be invaluable.

Black Rock is a prime example of the latter sub-genre. It’s a tried - and tired - example of the standard ‘women in peril’ shocker starring Kate Bosworth, Lake Bell and Kate Aselton as a cardboard trio of young woman (one of whose idea of humour is to tell her friends “I have cancer” as a joke.

The women decide to revisit their past and renew their childhood friendship by camping out on “an empty island off the coast of Maine”. Which, of course, saves production costs by filming on location and saving money by not having to build sets.

Before long they encounter a trio of trigger-happy servicemen who are on the island to hunt. The meeting sours and the soldiers decide hunting human targets would be more fun, which leaves the women having to fight for their lives…

It’s hard to decide which is worse – the screenplay or the direction or the performances. Together they amount to a slack shocker with nothing to recommend it except the end credits, which come far too late to save the movie.

(Mind you, should you be seeking a subtext, female empowerment should fit the bill very nicely).

Aselton’s husband Mark Duplass takes the credit (or should that be blame?) for the cliché-ridden script, Aselton stands accused of the dull direction while she and her fellow actors try hard but only succeed in being trying, like Black Rock itself. Add dreary cinematography (Hillary Spera) and you have the ideal excuse to catch up with your sleep.

Alan Frank

USA 2012. UK Distributor: Metrodome. Colour.
79 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: 12A.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 2, Violence/Horror 2, Drugs 0, Swearing 2.

Review date: 17 Jun 2013