Sundance Journal: ‘Black Rock’

I let myself get my hopes up really high for ‘Black Rock’. I mean, tremendously high. I love Mark Duplass, who wrote the movie. I love Katie Aselton, who directs and stars in it. My high expectations for the film were definitely factored into my final thought: This movie sucks.

This is quite possibly one of the worst horror movies I’ve ever watched. The production notes that I was handed at my screening bragged that Duplass had written the movie in 18 hours during a weather-induced layover. This isn’t something to brag about. It’s painfully obvious that this movie was written in a short amount of time.

It’s a survival movie – hunters versus the hunted. Here, three women played by Katie Aselton, Kate Bosworth, and Lake Bell go camping for a weekend on an island. They meet up with some ex-soliders who’ve been dishonorably discharged for reasons unclear. The soldiers soon turn murderous after one of the girls, defending herself from rape, kills one of the guys. Now the guys are hunting the girls.

The movie made me more and more angry as it went on. It’s so ineptly acted and directed that it honestly made me sad. The movie plays out like a horror movie made by people that have never seen a horror movie before.

A movie like this is only as good as its villain(s). That’s why ‘Deliverance’ is great, and this is not. The villains here are idiotic. There’s no real danger because these guys are completely inept at killing anything. One wonders if this is the reason they were kicked out of the army in the first place. The main bad guy gives one of the worst acting performances I’ve seen in a long time. If he were hunting you, you’d have a hard time not laughing at his inane dialogue and terrible overacting.

I had high hopes for ‘Black Rock’, but they were dashed as soon as I sat down in the theater chair. Ugh. What a terrible horror movie experience.

Rating: ★☆☆☆☆

3 comments

  1. EM

    I give this review five stars. Not having seen the film, I don’t know if I would agree with Aaron; but the review is the feel-good must-read of the year (thus far)!

  2. JM

    Writing a bullshit script for your wife to direct and star in is not cool.

    If Hollywood asks for shit, you give them shit.

    But if the hottie who fucks you nightly asks for a script that she’s going to put her face and name on… You man up and give her fucking brilliance.

    It sounds like ‘Jeff, Who Lives At Home’ is going to be based on a true story.

  3. Luke Hickman

    I actually liked ‘Black Rock’ quite a bit. I found it dark and funny, despite featuring the flaw Aaron mentions of having stoopid villains. The ending got silly – like ‘Club Dread’ silly – but it was still pretty fun.

    This coming from a horror fan.

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