Review

Review

FEARNET Movie Review - Donkey Punch

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OK, let's start out with the obvious: A 'donkey punch' is supposed to be when a man punches a woman (or another man, I suppose) on the back of the neck during the act of sex. According to some reports on Wikipedia, it's a completely fictional "act" that was probably dreamed up by some sexually-frustrated frat-boys. But it's a central act of crucial importance in a new UK thriller from first-time director Olly Blackburn. So central, in fact, that he (unfortunately) named his whole movie after it.

The setting is a mega-swanky super-yacht on which we find seven young adults: four guys and three girls who are down for one serious night of drugs, dalliances, and downright debauchery. But after one of the (seriously stupid) guys decides to apply a "donkey punch" during intercourse -- and breaks his partner's neck in the process -- the joyously juicy boat trip turns into an ever-escalating showcase of mistrust, betrayal, and downright bedlam.

See, none of these people really knows, trusts, or likes one another. Oh sure, there are a few tenuous allegiances here and there, but when selfish folks are faced with an airtight murder rap, they'll resort to all sorts of nasty behavior to keep their hides clean. And so Blackburn's sltylish-but-fairly obvious Donkey Punch turns out to be little more than a slick and diverting combination of Dead Calm, Very Bad Things, and Shallow Grave. (Hey, at least Olly is borrowing from some solid enough thrillers, right?)

Once we're past the "sexy hedonism" phase of the flick, Blackburn and co-writer David Bloom are able to keep the tension humming, even in the face of such potentially familiar trappings. The seven young Brits on board the boat make for a suitably varied group, although none of them really stand out as, well, a standout. Most of the actors are required to do little more than switch between scared, angry, desperate, and / or outrageously aggressive, but the newcomer cast does a pretty fine job.

As Donkey Punch floats briskly towards its ferocious finale, Blackburn and company do a fair job of keeping the tensions percolating, and you gorehounds will find a few nasty moments worth seeing. Overall it's a perfectly watchable, unexpectedly stylish, and ultimately pretty familiar story of accidents, anger, and agony. Despite its unnecessary (and frankly kinda stupid) title, Donkey Punch is a suitably impressive debut from a new British scare-maker, and one that's probably a predecessor to even better (and perhaps slightly more original) horror flicks.

READ FEARnet's PARNTER REVIEWS OF DONKEY PUNCH

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