Donkey Punch

"Good"

Donkey Punch Review


Despite my predilection for stories of the perverse and profane, I feel it is not my place to describe to any sort of public the act that gives director Oliver Blackburn's scrappy debut its name. For those who have spent any small amount of time in a frathouse, you know what a donkey punch is and have suggested engaging in it after at least three keggers. For the rest of you, these are the sort of things Wikipedia, if not the Internet itself, was made for. For the price of a movie ticket, however, you can now have a rather scummy British DJ explain it to you and then, a few scenes later, witness the event in all its glory.

A lesser filmmaker could have done nothing more than give the film its title and gone home. You'd certainly think that was the case from the film's opening notes: Three scantily-clad Brit birds (Nichola Burley, Jaime Winstone, Sian Breckin), on vacation in Spain, decide to take a spin on a yacht with a pack of tanned Aeropostale-types (Robert Boulter, Tom Burke, Julian Morris, Jay Taylor) with hits of ecstasy, a few Heinekens, and a DJ setup in tow.

While the more soulful pair (Burley and Boulter) spend some personal time on the stern, the rest of the group head downstairs for a wholesome orgy that crescendos with the youngest member (Morris) attempting the titular move, with fatal results. The body is then thrown to sea and the brood is sent into hysteria as they decide what to do with videotaped evidence of what happened. The law of the land being bros-before-hoes, the men band together while the surviving women employ knives, flare guns, and (why not?) a small boat engine to rid themselves of these hyper-masculine horndogs.

Like The Signal and All the Boys Love Mandy Lane, Donkey Punch is endemic of an inventive sect of the indie horror/thriller genre that, while often embedded in conventional scenarios, finds ways to minutely upend certain archetypes, reconsider mood and tone, and conjure suspense through crafty visuals and character development rather than piercing sound design and crass editing schemes. As the film transitions from the blissed-out daylight to the harrowing night, Blackburn carefully transitions his camera from shots taking in the entire bodies of the bikini-clad cohorts to close-ups of their panicked faces and wounds, including an agonizing shot of a piece of glass being pulled out of a knee and a flare burrowing into and shooting sparks out of a man's chest.

The fourth film in Magnet's ongoing Six Shooter series (which includes one of last year's best films, Let the Right One In, and the immensely entertaining Timecrimes), Donkey Punch is ultimately too minor and inconsequential a work to be taken seriously, too constricted by its own premise and unwilling to do away with certain totems. It does, however, serve as a thankful reprieve to the junkyard of Christmas season holdovers and studio mistake-purging that January so often affords the audience. Since nothing could be as good as the film's title, that's at least a small surprise.

Needs more Eeyore.



Donkey Punch

Facts and Figures

Run time: 99 mins

In Theaters: Friday 18th July 2008

Distributed by: Magnolia Pictures

Production compaines: Madman Entertainment, Warp X

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 49%
Fresh: 25 Rotten: 26

IMDB: 5.2 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Oliver Blackburn

Producer: Robin Gutch, Mark Herbert,

Starring: as Tammi, Sian Breckin as Lisa, as Kim, Robert Boulter as Sean, as Bluey, as Josh, Jay Taylor as Marcus

Also starring:

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