Mark Duplass is getting his Baghead back on, tapping into his horror know-how for Black Rock. Duplass wrote the script for his wife, Katie Aselton, to direct. Aselton also stars in the film with Lake Bell and Kate Bosworth as a trio of childhood friends who decide it’s time to reconnect with a trip to a pastime favorite – a remote island. Turns out, their precious island isn’t as isolated as they thought, and they’re joined by Henry, Derek and Alex (Will Bouvier, Jay Paulson, Anslem Richardson). What begins as an innocent meet and greet and late night bonfire turns violent when the ladies rub the guys the wrong way, turning their fun getaway into a desperate fight for survival.
Black Rock has been floating around since Sundance where it premiered to less than ideal reviews. Variety pointed out, “The short pic overstays its welcome through inauthentic chick-flick banter and survivalist action so ineptly staged as to appear laughable,” while Shock Till You Drop notes, “nothing really happens in the film that hasn’t already been done in dozens of slasher movies, rendering its suspense nominal at best.”
Variety’s criticism of the dialogue is certainly justified by the new trailer, which gives one too many seconds of precious running time away to hearing the ladies repeat how great their island escape will be... over and over again. The same is true of the faults Shock Till You Drop highlights, because as far as this promo goes, nothing about the Black Rock plot seems to push the limits to deliver something fresh.
Then again, sometimes more of the same can work. Isn’t that why we tend to get more of the same in the first place? The dialogue may be trite, but the cast seems to know what to do with it. In just a minute and 43 seconds, Aselton, Bell and Bosworth sell the friendship and suggest that they deliver natural performances throughout. Plus this is Mark Duplass (Baghead, Jeff, Who Lives At Home, Cyrus) we’re talking about, here - how bad could this be? Aselton is the bigger toss-up of the two. Her sole other directorial credit, The Freebie, doesn’t necessarily prove she’s got what it takes to handle violent and action-packed material - let alone direct.
Early reactions certainly don’t serve the film well, but this trailer does have just enough bite to entice you to hold on until Black Rock's May 17, 2013 release.
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