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Horror: Donkey Punch

donkeypunch-mainAt every step of the way, while watching DONKEY PUNCH, i was that idiot who screams at the screen for the characters not to do the thing that they are clearly about to do. And a few minutes after ‘every step of the way’ I was the know-it-all asshole muttering “Told you not to!” under his breath. However, despite the fact that on paper Donkey Punch is a by the book thriller it manages to be entirely engrossing.

While holidaying in Spain Kim (Jaime Winstone, who has since appeared in the fantastic Zombie series DEAD SET) , Tammi (Nichola Burley) and Lisa (Sian Breckin) meet up with three English lads out looking for a good time. The girls accompany Marcus (Jay Taylor), Bluey (Tom Burke) and Josh (Julian Morris) back to the marina, where the boys — along with Josh’s brother Sean — are crewing a luxury yacht. Keen to keep the party going, the group take the yacht out to sea, where a mixture of youthful exuberance, drugs and alcohol fuel the situation to a deadly climax. Things spiral out of control further and further as they turn on each other in an effort to protect themselves (and their closest friends).

In many ways Donkey Punch reminds me of the brilliant 28 DAYS LATER. No, sadly there isn’t any (pseudo) zombie action — not that every movie couldn’t be improved by adding some — but because it manages to be thrilling and disturbing at the same time. After you’ve watched Donkey Punch you’ll be compelled to express just how awful the experience of watching it was, but that’s actually a huge complement to the film. The guys in this movie are portrayed as complete bastards and the girls are foolish, but far from naive. Ultimately every character in this film is weak willed, and doomed by their willingness to cave to peer pressure. But as detestable as the characters are, they are all, every one, played with wonderful dedication by a relatively unknown, and inexperienced, cast of young adults.

Director Oliver Blackburn (also relatively unknown) used an intimate, documentary style in shooting Donkey Punch, which allowed the cast — and the viewer — to submerge themselves in the characters and the moment. As a result the obvious nature of the plot is completely lost in the fact that you are absorbed (or somewhat rattled) by the natural feel of the events transpiring on screen.

The unfortunate thing for this film is the fact that it will probably struggle to find an audience. The name and subject matter of Donkey Punch will probably appeal to those who are attracted to Torture P0rn movies like HOSTEL and SAW, but people with tastes that extreme will probably find little satisfaction in this film. Conversely lovers of more mainstream thrillers will potentially find some scenes far too confronting.

Personally I think Donkey Punch achieved exactly what it intended to. Not being a fan of said Torture P0rn this movie rattled my cage a little. I can’t say I’ll be watching it again in a hurry, nor will I be recommending it to many of my friends. It’s a shame, because I think there’s some real brilliance in this movie it’s just hard to enjoy what you’re seeing. That said, I’ll be watching out to see what Oliver Blackburn does next. [source]

©2008 Warp X Ltd, Channel Four Television Corporation, UK Film Council, Screen Yorkshire Ltd, EM Media
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1 Comment

    Great review Elroy, it comes off as a pseudo recommendation to me – for me, a guy who loves 28 Days Later and doesn’t heart the torture porn genre.

    One of my favourite movies is The Exorcist, I love it how the first half of the movie really grounds things in reality and makes things seem natural – adding to the horror of the last half 10 fold.

    Similar thing here? Anyway theres plenty of movies for me to watch that aren’t this one I suppose – maybe I’ll live without seeing it.