An exploitation thriller with feminist overtones — ala “I Spit on Your Grave,” but nowhere nearly as gutsy — “Black Rock” disappoints on various levels. Triple-threat director/co-writer/actor Katie Aselton sets up a fixed battle-of-the-sexes game that is foolhardy at best. Longtime chums Sarah (Kate Bosworth), Lou (Lake Bell), and Abby (Aselton) reunite for a weekend bonding vacation to a remote island off the coast of Maine. The three women once played a game of “Treasure Map” there as girls. Sarah is the cute mediator of the bunch. Lou and Abby need one. They don’t play nice since Abby — an archetypal slut — slept with Lou’s boyfriend some years ago, stealing him away before shedding him like a 24-hour cold. Resentments are cast aside when the trio meets up with three Iraq War vets fresh out of work on dishonorable discharges just 18-days ago. The three men are hunting illegally on the island.
True to her bad reputation married Abby invites the sketchy guys to hang out and share the girls’ plentiful supply of booze. Abby doesn’t just flirt, she launches into a full-press seduction of Henry (Will Bouvier). Once separating Henry from the group so she can make her move, Abby gets down and dirty before attempting to cut her intimate provocation short. Henry isn’t the kind of guy to stop after receiving such a confident invitation to a lay in the grass. Violence erupts. What follows is a thoroughly implausible game of cat and mouse between two grizzled war vets and a couple of glorified sorority chicks who put up a fight with poorly sharpened sticks — yes, really.
The great irony in “Black Rock” is that it fails (purposefully?) as any kind of screed regarding a weird fantasy date-rape scenario. All of the characters are bad animals in need of being put down. Mostly, they get what they deserve; the audience, however, does not.
Not Rated. 83 mins. (D) (One Star - out of five/no halves)
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