Black Rock

Movie review by
Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media
Black Rock Movie Poster Image
Extreme, gory predator-prey thriller has a feminist slant.
  • R
  • 2013
  • 79 minutes

Parents say

age 17+
Based on 3 reviews

Kids say

age 18+
Based on 1 review

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

The movie has some interesting ideas -- mainly about prey becoming predator and about women empowering themselves -- but it's so brutal that these messages aren't likely to be the primary thing that viewers take away from the movie. Plus, another message is that of revenge and killing to solve problems.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The only characters who survive are the ones who resort to brutal violence, revenge, and murder to "settle" things.

Violence

Very strong, primal violence against women (and men), with lots of blood and several dead bodies. Women are punched, dragged, tied up, and then stalked through the woods. There's an attempted rape scene, which is stopped when the would-be rapist is bashed in the head with a rock. Characters are shot in the head, stabbed with knives and sharp sticks, and throats are slashed. There's even biting, with great streams of blood.

Sex

Two female characters strip off their clothes after swimming in freezing water. They're fully naked onscreen for several minutes, though they're shown huddled together, covering up certain body parts, as well as in the darkness of the woods. But naked breasts and behinds can clearly be seen. A female character also flirts very heavily with a male one, and there's some general sex talk.

Language

Almost constant use of "f--k," in nearly every context and in virtually every sentence spoken. Other words include "c--t," "p---y," "a--hole," "bitch," "ass," "oh my God," "Jesus Christ," "douchebag," and "blow job."

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Characters drink whisky while camping on an island and are shown overindulging, drinking with the intention to get drunk. But all drinking ends and is no longer an issue after the first 30 minutes.

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.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 12 year old Written byVlad22 August 11, 2013
Adult Written bywonder dove August 10, 2013

Enjoyable thriller.

This movie was quite good, better than I expected it to be. I like Kate Bosworth which is one of the reasons I viewed it. All of the characters were likable and... Continue reading
Teen, 17 years old Written bykenwi December 11, 2013

TOO MUCH VIOLENT, SEX, LANGUAGE, AND OTHER BAD THINGS!

Very angry at violent movie. This is not acceptable! RESULT: For Ages 18 and older! Not for kids 0-12 and not for teens 13-17!

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?

Movie details

For kids who love thrills

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