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With: Kate Bosworth, Lake Bell, Katie Aselton, Will Bouvier, Jay Paulson, Anslem Richardson
Written by: Mark Duplass, Katie Aselton
Directed by: Katie Aselton
MPAA Rating: R for some strong violence, pervasive language, sexual references and brief graphic nudity
Running Time: 79
Date: 17/05/2013

Black Rock (2013)

2 Stars (out of 4)

Stalk Down

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

This peculiar package comes from Mark Duplass and his wife Katie Aselton; they're both actors on the TV series "The League," though they both perform other duties in movies. Duplass and Aselton co-wrote the screenplay for Black Rock, while Aselton directs and plays one of the three women.

Sarah (Kate Bosworth) invites two of her old friends, Abby (Katie Aselton) and Lou (Lake Bell), who are not speaking to each other, for a weekend camping trip on an island off the coast of Maine. Apparently, they used to play there as kids, and Sarah is hoping to resurrect their friendships. Things change when they meet a group of local boys, all ex-military, doing some hunting. Abby drinks too much and begins flirting with one of the young men, Henry (Will Bouvier), which leads to horrifying results. The women find themselves torn between running for their lives and fighting for their lives.

It would be interesting to ask just what Aselton and Duplass had in mind for this, because it's not apparent on the screen. One idea is that they wanted to do a female revenge/empowerment story like the brutal drive-in classic I Spit on Your Grave, but with more realism. However, this approach eliminates the spectacle as well as any kind of character development. (The short 79-minute running time doesn't help either.) There are some primal jolts to be had, and possibly some interesting ideas, but overall, Black Rock feels like a failed experiment.

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