Sometimes a simple premise is all that is needed for a film to truly work and be effective. "Black Rock" is a story of three old friends who reunite after years on a remote island to reconnect only to stumble into a terrifying fight their lives.
Three childhood friends (Katie Aselton, Lake Bell and Kate Bosworth) set aside their personal issues and reunite for a girls' weekend on a remote island off the coast of Maine. One wrong move turns their weekend getaway into a deadly fight for survival.
While the setup for "Black Rock" is notoriously thin, there is some surprisingly genuine tension in this little thriller that transcends a little farther than just the standard revenge setup or any gender issues with a cast spearheaded by women. Director Katie Aselton in her second feature effort spins a solid yarn as a good natured girls weekend spirals completely out of control. When shooting on a budget it's always better to keep it simple, and the setting of the remote island was the perfect place for this story to unfold. While the male or nemesis characters of the story weren't very well fleshed out, Aselton with the help of Mark Duplass who wrote the script and served as an executive producer got this simple yet effective story from point A to point B without too much fuss in spite of Duplass' mumble core style not necessarily working wonders in the thriller/horror genre. And while it is a film that doesn't reinvent the wheel it gives the story enough clever little variations to keep our attention and have it rise above the standard fare.
The trio of Aselton, Kate Bosworth and Lake Bell make for a decent pairing as we get a little bit of their back story in the lead up to going to the island. They have a solid rapport with one another and their back and forth banter is effective and believable as they spar back and forth as friends, and when the stakes reach life or death levels as a unit trying to survive by any means necessary. It's the set up in the script that is scary as the remoteness of the island plays as more of a character then the male protagonists in the film, but it all works as it should and reasonably damn well as everyone involved buys into the naturalistic setting and it doesn't lean on any over the top horror tropes. It was simply just a case of wrong place, wrong time.
At the end of the day, "Black Rock" isn't going to light the world on fire but it is an effective little thriller from some talents that you wouldn't necessarily see this type of film from.
3 out of 5 stars.