Listen

Read

Watch

Schedules

Programs

Events

Give

Account

Donation Heart Ribbon

Donkey Punch

Basically, donkey punching involves a man punching his sexual partner in the back of the head during sex prior to orgasm to provoke a contracting of muscles to increase the his sexual pleasure (here's a more explicit definition ). When a group of drunken and drugged twentysomethings find themselves on a plush yacht, one of them tries a donkey punch and ends up killing his partner. This leads to tensions as some want to cover up the crime while others want to call in the authorities. The result is a mix of Shallow Grave and Dead Calm but with more laughs than Scary Movie.

Further proof why you shouldn't drink and drive a boat... Donkey Punch (Magnet Releasing)

The film begins like Virgin Suicides with a blur of young bodies, flowing locks, and exposed flesh. A trio of girls is on the prowl for some men and hook up with some guys who crew for a fancy yacht. The owners of the yacht are away so they have the boat to themselves and they head out to sea for a night of sex, drugs, and drinking. The first part of the film is nothing more than soft-core porn (which I'm sure has a certain appeal just by itself for some people) masquerading as the set-up for an art house thriller in which the characters predictably turn on each other. But in old school Friday the 13th fashion you can tell which girls will die by looking to who's the naughtiest.

I had heard good buzz about the film suggesting that it was a genuinely scary and well-done thriller. But the people saying that must have been as stoned as the characters. Every scene that was built up to be tense or scary came across as ludicrous and induces laughter from the audience. One of the best unintentionally funny lines was when two of the young women are trying to break down a door and the one looks at the other and says, "Babe, you're heavier." Ouch! Even in moments of extreme pressure and tension these women can take the time to be bitchy. And the line didn't even get a response from the other girl who just took the insult and jumped through the door.

You calling me fat, bitch? Donkey Punch (Magnet Releasing)

Directed by Olly Blackburn and co-written by Blackburn and David Bloom, the film wastes an opportunity for a tight, claustrophobic thriller alone the lines of what Dominik Moll's been doing ( With a Friend Like Harry, Lemming ). But Blackburn proves to be as lost at sea as his character. He doesn't know how to maximize the potential of his confined setting or how to scare us with how quickly these people turn on each other. He has no sense of the genre he's working in so he fails to make any knowing references off of past films. Nor is he innovative enough to dazzle us with a new take on genre conventions. As with Cloverfield , he seems to think that his twentysomethings are interesting enough on their own to be compelling and to be people that we care about. I cared more about the cartoonish characters in Scary Movie than I do about anyone here. Three of the guys were so blandly drawn and visually similar that it took me half the movie before I could tell them apart.

Blackburn doesn't shy away from gore but he doesn't know how to use it to really punctuate a scene or to scare us. When characters start to go at each other with more and more unusual weapons, it just becomes silly. Just look at David Cronenberg's Eastern Promises to see how far less blood and graphic imagery proves to be far more disturbing because Cronenberg knows how to be effective with very precisely designed shots. The flood of recent horror films and horror remakes just proves how difficult it is to make a truly good thriller or horror film.

Donkey Punch (R for a scene of strong sexual content involving an aberrant violent act, graphic nudity, violence, language and drug use) seems to have used all its cleverness in coming up with a titillating title and nothing else. But with slight repackaging and a tonal adjustment, this could be re=released as a gross-out comedy and it might fair better.

Companion viewing: Dead Calm, Shallow Grave, With a Friend Like Harry, Cabin Fever

Forgot your password?