Black Rock (2012) Review

Black RockSarah (Kate Bosworth), Abby (Katie Aselton) and Lou (Lake Bell) are childhood friends who have drifted further and further apart as the years have gone by.

Tired of the arguments and silence and determined to reunite the trio Sarah brings them all together again for a private camping trip on a tiny island that they spent many days on in their youth.

Although things are fraught at first soon it seems the friends are beginning to bond however when they come across three ex-servicemen who are hunting on the island the dynamic quickly falls apart.

Things slip further out of control when Abby’s flirtations take a horrific turn and suddenly the women find themselves in an unimaginable scenario hunted by the heavily trained and well armed military men whose intentions are to trap and murder them.

Black Rock

Desperate to survive the friends must overcome all obstacles and do what ever they have to if they ever want to escape and return to the every day world that now seems so very far away from Black Rock.

Offering up a twist on both the survival horror genre and the controversial rape revenge story line massive credit must be paid to Katie Aselton who not only stars in the movie but also directed and wrote the story.Black Rock

Deftly handling both the dialogue heavy character building opening, the tense stalking scenes and the savage and nasty violence Aselton crafts Black Rock into much more than a simple and stereotypical genre movie.

Opening like a quirky mumblecore comedy as the three women meet up on the docks and Sarah reveals her plan to rekindle their childhood connection, Black Rock is a deceptive beast that is designed deliberately to confound your expectations.

With the witty seemingly improvised dialogue, well observed characters and the concentration on developing each of the three leads relationships and histories you could almost ignore the ominous score, isolated barren island landscape and foreboding feeling the film creates nearly as much as Sarah, Abby and Lou do.

All this changes however when the ex-army men show up and the film shifts from subtly implying danger to thrusting the trio into a nightmare situation where they are being hunted like animals.

Black Rock

Unlike many other horror movies however this shift in gear not only works well but is thoroughly organic and believable given the back stories of all the characters especially the male aggressors who reveal round the camp fire a dark tale of their time in the army and the unsanctioned and unhinged things they did to endure the tour of duty they were subsequently dishonorably discharged from.

The second half of the film then is a pure survival horror with a deadly cat and mouse game played between the sexes packed with tension and terror. The pay off of the opening act is that the fear factor is greatly increased and the audience now has firm loyalties and contentions with the characters in peril making watching them face the disturbing and frightening choices they must make to beat their pursuers all the more affecting.

Black RockBlack Rock

Whether you choose to see it as an extreme examination of the gender war raging in the real world, an essay on the stark brutality of nature versus our modern age, an exploration on humanities ability to do whatever it has to do to stay alive or just a brutal and well made horror movie Black Rock is an innovative and interesting film simultaneously as dense and stark as the island it is set on.

Read our interview with Katie Aselton right Here

Movie Rating: ★

★ ★ ½ ☆ 



Alex Humphrey

Alex studied film at the University of Kent and went on to work for Universal Pictures in their Post Room gaining an inside look at the movie industry from the very bottom. Constantly writing reviews in everything from local magazines to Hip Hop sites Alex honed his critical skills even spending a brief period as a restaurant critic. Read more

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