A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Black Rock is a horrific thriller about men stalking and trying to kill three female campers -- and the women turning the tables. It's exceedingly violent, with attempted rape, brutal treatment of women, various attacks and murders, and tons of blood. Two of the women appear fully naked for a long scene (breasts and behinds are seen), and there's some flirting and sexual innuendo. Language is very strong, with "f--k" used in virtually every sentence spoken. "C--t," "p---y," and "a--hole," are also said. And there are scenes in which characters intentionally drink to get drunk. While there are interesting ideas about prey becoming predator and women empowering themselves, Black Rock is so brutal that these messages aren't likely to be the primary thing that viewers take away from the movie.
What's the story?
Sarah (Kate Bosworth) invites two of her old friends, Abby (Katie Aselton) and Lou (Lake Bell) -- who aren't speaking to each other -- for a weekend camping trip on an island off the coast of Maine. Apparently, they used to play there as kids, and Sarah is hoping to resurrect their friendship. But things change when they meet a group of local men, all ex-military, doing some hunting. Abby drinks too much and starts flirting with one of the guys, Henry (Will Bouvier), which leads to horrifying results. The women quickly find themselves torn between running for their lives and fighting for them.
Is it any good?
This peculiar package comes from Mark Duplass and his wife, director/co-star Aselton, who co-wrote the BLACK ROCK screenplay together. It would be interesting to ask just what they had in mind for this story, because it's not apparent on the screen.
One idea is that they wanted to do a female revenge/empowerment story like the brutal drive-in classic I Spit on Your Grave, but with more realism. However, this approach eliminates the spectacle, as well as any kind of character development. (The brief 79-minute running time doesn't help either.) There are some primal jolts to be had and possibly some interesting ideas underlying the action, but overall Black Rock feels like a failed experiment.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about Black Rock's intense violence. Could the story have been told with less violence? How does its impact compare to what you might see in a big-budget action movie?
What role does drinking play in this movie? What might have happened if the characters had stayed sober?
Do you think this movie has -- or intends to have -- a feminist message? How does the extreme violence impact that message?
- In theaters: May 17, 2013
- On DVD or streaming: July 30, 2013
- Cast: Kate Bosworth, Katie Aselton, Lake Bell
- Director: Katie Aselton
- Studio: LD Entertainment
- Genre: Thriller
- Run time: 79 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: some strong violence, pervasive language, sexual references and brief graphic nudity
For kids who love thrills
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.