BLACK ROCK – In UK Cinemas Now

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Written by: ,
Starring: , , , , ,

black rock

Directed and co-written by Katie Aselton

Two former childhood friends, Abby (Aselton) and Lou (Bell), set aside their differences to join fellow childhood friend Sarah (Bosworth) on a girls’ weekend on a remote island off the coast of Maine. Whilst relaxing on the beach, the girls find they’re not alone… a group of army veterans are out hunting in the islands woods. After realising one of the soldiers is the younger brother of a school friend, the girls invite the three men to join them for drinks. As the sun goes down and alcohol is consumed around the campfire, the two groups are enjoying reminiscing about the past but soon their happiness turns to fear as an unexpected event finds them fighting for their lives.

Black Rock is one of those thrillers that you know where it is leading from the start, and unfortunately, it offers little other than what we expect. Katie Aselton directs, co-writes (with Mark Duplass) and stars in this cat-and-mouse indie flick, and whilst the direction is good, the script and performance on-screen are quite weak. It’s hard to perform numerous tasks in filmmaking and only very few people pull manage to pull it off successfully (Mel Gibson with Braveheart, Ben Affleck with The Town spring to mind). Performances by the other cast are also quite poor with the exception of Lake Bell who seems to be believable in the role of Lou. Even Kate Bosworth struggled to convince in her role as Sarah and came off rather annoying to watch rather than the sweet, endearing friend she was meant to be.

The script of Black Rock, for a large part, seems to focus on idle chit chat and let me put it this way, it’s no Tarantino. After some dull conversation on the island and a distasteful opening dialogue of Kate Bosworth’s character Sarah pretending she has cancer, the film regains control on the storyline and begins to pick up some pace. Once we hit the turning point, the action intensifies though not enough tension is created to generate a sense of true panic in the heart of the viewer. A prolonged scene between Abby and Lou getting their wet clothes off and shivering together nude starts off realistic but then quickly becomes questionable if not slightly gratuitous. Even the villains of the piece verge on the stereotypical and come across as dumb rather than clever, with little in the way of added value nor menace.

I did, however, enjoy the pieces of music chosen for the film and thought they fit quite well. Likewise, the cinematography captured the beauty of the location quite well and didn’t resort to the dreaded shakey cam we at HCF fear so much. The vast woodland leading onto the beach is the perfect setting for a tale like this, with the isolated island becoming the second enemy for our protagonists. Trapping them in this nightmare, the island offers no mobile phone service, no rescue point and no other people to alert. All they have is their brains and their brawn to outwit their rivals to stay alive long enough to reach help.

Despite the stunning scenary on show, Black Rock is rather predictable and lacks inspiring plot threads or performances. Though effort has clearly been made, I’m afraid its just not enough to capture this viewer.

Rating: ★★★★½☆☆☆☆☆

About Bat 7554 Articles
I love prosthetic effects, stop-motion animation and gore, but most of all I love a good story! I adore B-movies and exploitation films in many of their guises and also have a soft spot for creature features. I review a wide range of media including movies, TV series, books and videogames. I'm a massive fan of author Hunter S. Thompson and I enjoy various genre of videogames with Kingdom Hearts and Harvest Moon two of my all time favs. Currently playing: The Witcher 2, Yakuza Zero and Alien: Isolation

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