Customer Reviews: Black Rock [DVD + Digital]
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on August 25, 2013
Three attractive young women go camping on a heavily forested island, where they find themselves playing cat and mouse with some psychos.

BLACK ROCK is promising at first due to its immediately real acting and cinematography. Though the constant repetition of "f***ing" in about 75% of the sentences spoken here gets a bit tiresome after a while, the script is also very believable. These stronger elements, however, only serve to exacerbate the totally formulaic, predictable, and lackluster plot. I kept hoping for some sort of surprise or turnabout, but BLACK ROCK pretty much developed and ended exactly the way I thought it would. More development of character and settings would also have been helpful: If we could know the girls, guys, and the island itself a little bit better, BLACK ROCK might have been at least an average film.
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on July 8, 2013
I see this film getting a lot of bad reviews and I'm not really understanding why. The three leads are likable enough where I would have watched a non-thriller about them reuniting during a vacation and settling their issues. However, once the plot kicked in the film got even better. It's not too often you get a film like this where you genuinely care enough about each character to not want to see anything happen to them, and that's what made this film suspenseful. The low budget definitely helped here too, because the fight scenes come off much more brutal and realistic, I was reminded of some of the grittiest survival thrillers of the 70's during the film's conclusion. If it wasn't for the three ladies (and I think Katie Aselton directing definitely helped) and their relationships, perhaps I wouldn't have cared for this movie so much. But they were definitely enough to keep my eyes glued to the screen from beginning to end and I felt satisfied when the film ended.
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on July 23, 2015
I probably would have given this movie 4 stars but 5 to balance out the ratings a bit. Still this is much better than I expected based on the ton of other 3 star rated movies I've seen lately.
The soldiers act like actual soldiers in a few ways... soldiers don't openly and easily talk about their experiences to people who haven't been in the military, and they will talk even less if they did something negative enough to be dishonorably discharged. Soldiers can also be amazing if they train and practice, but they don't magically turn into Rambo when they join, so their lack of skills makes sense considering we know they weren't the best.
The performance of the women was good as well, although there were definitely a few spots where they suddenly forgot to be smart. I would guess the writer/director didn't want to make it seem like they were too extraordinary, or make things too easy for them, but when they were smart it was more realistic.
This movie is a thriller, definitely not a horror, and it did have a good edge of your seat feel. The kills were bloody but only as much as they had to be with close fighting, no random stupid accidental chainsaw deaths or elaborate traps. That also kept the movie realistic. This isn't a movie that'll win awards, but it's definitely higher up in my list of thrillers that I'll watch once.
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on June 25, 2013
"What happened was an accident. Abby is sorry." Three friends set out for a getaway weekend on an island they used to frequent when they were younger. While they are talking they are surprised when three men who have been hunting show up at their camp site. The two groups begin talking and drinking. When a fatal accident happens the girls relaxing weekend turns into a fight for survival. There are movies that are made that you have to really pay attention to and make you think. While this is very entertaining this is not one of those kind of movies. The movie is really nothing that deep but I did enjoy it. Be prepared for it though, some parts are very gory and a little hard to watch. On the other hand this is a "girl power" type movie so it does have that going for it. If you like movies like the Perfect Getaway then you will like this one as well. It was entertaining and a good watch but nothing that will keep you talking or thinking. Overall, fun and exciting but nothing that original. I liked it though. I give it a B
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on February 9, 2015
I just finished watching director Katie Aselton’s excellent women vs. men wilderness survival thriller Black Rock, and I was mightily impressed. There’s a lot that I could discuss about it; easiest would be to write a “you’ve come a long way, baby” meditation about how the role of women in horror movies has changed and is changing. Compared to a movie such as the original 1970s Toolbox Murders, it’s easy to see that today horror movies are much more about women fighting back against impossible odds, and that this makes for more compelling stories.

But it’s also an excellent example of the fact that horror movies can be far more character driven than they get credit for. The movie starts off with a well observed sketch of three childhood friends in their late 20s/early 30s, Sarah (Kate Bosworth), Lou (Lake Bell) and Abby (Aselton), whose relationship has been poisoned ever since Lou slept with Abby’s now ex-boyfriend. Sarah has lured them on a getaway vacation to Black Rock, and island where as ten-year-olds the three built a fort and buried a time capsule, in hopes that she might reconcile her two friends.

If I may coin a term, I would say that this is a movie that “starts quiet.” There’s no adrenaline rush, no kill scene to whet the appetite of the gorehounds in the audience. Rather, we get to spend the whole first act watching these characters in their natural state, facing the same sort of obstacles that most of us face in our everyday lives. If done badly, as in the recent indie effort Playing Hooky, this sort of opening proves very quickly that the creative team behind the movie really has nothing interesting to share about the characters or the world they inhabit. But when done well, as in the story created here by Aselton and developed into a screenplay by Mark Duplass, the viewer really feels that the movie could stand on its own without the horror element. Which does eventually come, mind you, once our three heroes encounter three hunters fresh from Afghanistan and a dishonorable discharge whose frightening details are left to the imagination.

It’s not long before the men are hunting the women, and the women are discovering survival skills they never thought they’d need to use. But even when the focus shifts to stealth and spear making, the tension between the characters continues to be explored and developed upon.

A movie like this underscores the transformations that a fearsome experience can induce in people’s lives. The fact that Aselton and Duplass are savvy to this is brought up in the first few minutes of the movie when Sarah, desperate to get her friends to agree to go on the trip, pretends to have cancer. She can only keep up the pretense for a minute or so, but after she blows her cover she delivers an interesting little spiel about how we could any of us be “hit by a bus” at any time and it would all be over.

I’m not trying to say that all horror movies are actually Steel Magnolias as heart. What I am saying is that there’s a lot more room in the genre than people might expect, room for serious character development, room for laughs, mystery, and most especially what we are and what it is we have to do before that frightening curtain of mortality comes down, as it must for all of us.
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on December 11, 2015
The beginning of the movie is weird. The girl starts out telling her friends that she has cancer in order to get them to go on the trip. Then they met 3 men, 1 of the girls recognize one of the guys she hooked up with when she was in her teens. The movie begins with a feud between 2 of the women from a long time ago which spirals out of control to the rest of the movie. The movie does not start getting good until one of the women accidently kills the guy that is attacking her after she changes her mind about going all the way with him. That is when the action begins and the two guys feel so loyal to the guy that was killed that they start to hunt the women down to kill them. Even though that part is suspenseful it seems like there is no real plot to the movie and the ending just seems to abrupt with no real conclusion. It is not the best movie but it is not the worst I have seen either.
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on March 25, 2015
So despite poor reviews I decided to give this movie a shot and I'm glad I did. While it is far from perfect, I really enjoyed getting to see the women realize that they needed to fight back. I wish more of the movie would have focused on their survival and the grittiness that came with it. There are some cliche parts, but oddly enough once the two ladies strip down after an ill advised swim in cold water, nothing is sexual about it. They are naked and raw and that is when the movie takes a wonderful turn. They realize that they must take matters into their own hands and fight to survive.

While the dialogue is poorly written and you might be tempted to turn it off half way through, stick with it for the showdown.
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on September 6, 2015
Three women on a childhood reunion on remote island try to bury an old hatchet that has divided them. Little do they know that they are not alone and quickly become prey to sadistic hunters.

First and foremost, it is a great ensemble of solid actresses who really give this movie all they've got. And it may seem familiar but those females are fierce and never petty. I find this movie incredibly believable and raw without too many special effects. The lack of Hollywood luster made this watching this movie very worthwhile.
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on August 3, 2013
This movie will take a lot of suspension of disbelief to get through. The story is pretty basic. Two sets of three friends are on a deserted island off the coast of Maine. In the group of women, two of them are estranged, and are basically conned into going camping by the third one. The three men have recently been dishonorably discharged from the military, which is pretty much all the set up they be for being bad guys. One of the guys ends up dead after trying to rape one of the women, and the other two decide to try and hunt down and kill the three women. There is more to it than that, but not a lot more. That is the gist of it.

The fact that the movie is short, just an hour and 20 min, is good and bad. On one hand it gets in and out quickly and does not try to do too much. On the other hand there is little to no character development at all, especially for the male characters. And it is just hard to buy that both of them would decide that instead of going to the police, the better option would be to go "Running Man" (for those of you over 30, for those under "Hunger Games")on the girls.

There are certainly some of the cliche thriller/suspense movie stuff going on. Bad decisions when trying to get away. The moment they decide to stop running and hunt the hunters and about 10 min of gratuitous nudity. It is definitely not a movie that will appeal to everyone, but if you accept it for what it is, and do not expect an academy award winner, it is entertaining enough to kill an hour + when you want to watch TV.
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on October 25, 2014
This was definitely not the vanity piece I was expecting after seeing Aselton's name all over the credits. I was pleasantly surprised to she she avoids most of the self-serving traps that might have presented themselves, however, and gives a great performance in front of the camera as well as a pretty good one behind it.
Call it sexist, but what was most surprising to me was that while this is not really a gory film, it is a very brutal one- virtually everyone takes an upclose, intense beating at some point, and we see it in very close detail. It's a powerful style of direction that, coupled with the female actors, saves the movie from a weak story and some lesser acting on the male side.
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