Donkey Punch (2008)

JANUARY 13, 2009

GENRE: THRILLER
SOURCE: THEATRICAL (PRESS SCREENING)

On several occasions I have found myself wondering why there weren’t any horror films that centered on a rather bizarre sexual act. Surely, Dirty Sanchez would make for an excellent slasher movie, and I can guarantee cinema’s all time best “car breaks down and they run afoul of redneck mutants” movie would be unleashed in the form of Country Blumpkin. But then again, you watch a dull bore of a film like Donkey Punch, and it starts to make sense why filmmakers tend to stick to the basics.

For those uninitiated, the "donkey punch" is a sexual act in which you take a girl from behind and then just as you’re about to orgasm, you punch her in the back of the head, which will cause her to involuntary clench the appropriate muscles, resulting in a more pleasurable release for the male, and... well, brownie points for her, I guess. In this film, it goes wrong, and she dies. That’s a half hour into the movie. The following hour and change is about the four guys and two other girls yelling at each other, making their situation worse and worse, and occasionally dying as well. It’s like the unfunny version of Very Bad Things, or just the umpteenth version of the “there’s an accident and the idiots make it worse for themselves” ‘horror’ movie.

See here’s the thing about these movies being billed as horror – they’re not scary, they’re not particularly exciting, and they are completely ludicrous despite the attempts to make it feel grounded in reality. Much effort is made to give the audience a sense of “what if this happened to YOU” type thing, but a. I wouldn’t go around punching a girl that was nice enough to let me take her from behind on a boat two hours after I met her, b. whenever I accidentally kill someone my first thought is to blame it on the nearest bicyclist, and c. I am more or less a likable person, unlike any of the people in this movie, and that includes the girls.

Plus, in filmmaker Olly Blackburn’s attempt to keep the characters relatable (by presenting them all as regular every day sorts with general character traits), it also makes his film incredibly predictable. Will the only nice guy in the group meet his own accidental death? Will the meek male end up being the one that is the most callous? Will the Final Girl eschew the activity that causes all the problems? Will she be the one to kill off the final guy in an alleged “crowd-pleasing” act of retribution? If you answered “of course, duh” to any or all of these questions, then congratulations, there is no reason for you to bother with this movie.

There are two things going for it. One is the score by Fran├žois Eudes, or at least I think it’s his score – the end credits list about 20 licensed songs but I only recall 3 or 4 in the film itself. But even those are good – let’s just say it’s a good musical experience and leave it at that. The other are the kills themselves; even though you know who will die and in what order, Blackburn at least comes up with a few interesting ways to do it. A flare, a lifeboat motor, a Leatherman... and yes, the titular act itself. Maybe he should consider doing a straight up slasher movie next – he’s got the “creative death implements” aspect down pat, not to mention the cardboard characters.

This one is being released as part of Magnolia’s Six Shooter series, which has also given us Let The Right One In and Timecrimes, plus the upcoming Eden Log which has been getting rave reviews from festivals. I love Magnolia (they also distributed Severance and The Host), so I feel kind of bummed that I didn’t like this one more. But just because a movie is foreign doesn’t automatically make it better than its American counterparts, and this type of plot has just been run into the ground.

What say you?

5 comments:

  1. not necessailry a horror movie, but i thought it was totally watchable. *shrugs*

    ReplyDelete
  2. HAHAHAAH "an unfunny version of Very Bad Things"..

    ok..that movie made me sick with anxiety (and loved it of course)...and this one just seems to be ridiculous..

    plus dont these guys know the risk of the donkey punch..very fatal..

    very gay if done on a guy too. in case you were aware of that.

    ReplyDelete
  3. and coming next year: the sequel, Dirty Sanchez
    Plot: a psycological thriller about a woman who keeps smelling shit everywhere she goes ("I keep smelling it, everywhere I go, and it just doesn't leave me, it haunts me even in my sleep")...and the twist ending: a drunken night of sex that she can't remember

    ReplyDelete
  4. If you want to see a real gorey messed up horror movie based on a sex act then get Header. It's based on a story by Edward Lee, the king of gorey messed up splatterpunk horror. I'd love to see your review of Header.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I wouldn’t go around punching a girl that was nice enough to let me take her from behind on a boat two hours after I met her. PRICELESS!!!

    ReplyDelete

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