Jazz, film, and improvised culture.
Black Rock: This Trip is No Fun
goes camping on a remote coastal Maine isle during the off-season? Psycho killers and their made-to-order
victims, that’s who. There is nothing inherently wrong with a traditional
slasher movie set-up, but the execution is decidedly problematic throughout
Katie Aselton’s Black Rock (trailer here), which opens today
in New York.
has tricked her childhood friends Abby and Lou into joining her on a camping trip,
in hopes that they will bury the hatchet.
Years ago, Lou bedded Abby’s boyfriend.
Still nurturing her resentment, the soon-to-be divorced Abby is not
ready to forgive and forget. When they
run into three hunters, the thoroughly annoyed Abby gets sloppy drunk and
flirty with Derek, the alpha male, who rather misconstrues her attentions. This leads to all kinds of trouble.
one of the sullen hunters tells the women what a hero Derek was in Iraq, no
matter what they said at the court martial, we know what kind of movie we’re in
for. Yes, that’s right, they are
unhinged veterans. You might have
thought the sleazy psycho Vietnam Vet exploitation film was an embarrassing
relic of the 1970’s, but evidently Aselton and her husband-screenwriter Mark
Duplass are determined to revive it.
Yes, this is how the Duplass household would like to thank all our men
and women in uniform: by suggesting they are an inch removed from Richard
Speck. Really, you shouldn’t have.
the first ten minutes or so show a flash of promise thanks to some caustically
catty dialogue. That promise is short
lived. By the time the bound women goad
the craziest of the crazies into letting them go so they can hunt them down
like real men, audience emotional detachment should reach one hundred percent. Nor does Rock
have the guts to go all in with its gender-based victimization and retribution
themes, a la I Spit on Your Grave. Instead, Aselton and Duplass basically follow
the Most Dangerous Game template,
chapter and uninspired verse.
be fair, Kate Bosworth has some nice moments as the somewhat likably goofy
Sarah. However, Aselton and Lake Bell
largely blend together as Abby and Lou (or Lou and Abby). As their three antagonists, Jay Poulson, Will
Bouvier, and Anselm Richardson never transcend their characters’ cookie-cutter
stereotypes. Of course, they are not
As a horror film, Black Rock is a bore. Yet,
it has the potential to be something far worse.
It is easy to see unsavory elements repurposing the exploitation flick
to demonize the American servicemen.
After all, we know the Frankfort terror attack was inspired by Brian De Palma’s
Redacted and for weeks the
administration blamed Benghazi on a youtube video. A disappointment on every level, Black Rock is not recommended for anyone
under any circumstances when it opens today (5/17) at the Village East.
Labels: Exploitation films, Kate Bosworth