Bad Trip: Donkey Punch

by robbiefreeling
January 23, 2009 7:47 AM
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The trend may have originated with Danny Boyle’s Shallow Grave, but there’s been a distinct thematic shift in horror films over the past decade or so, from the struggle between good and evil to the revelation of the evil that apparently resides in all of us. Evidently, filmmakers think the latter brings with it more inherent profundity; often, though, it’s just an underhanded way of pumping up tired genre tactics with supposedly philosophical, but often paltry and merely cynical, ruminations about human nature. It’s usually a sign of banality: Eli Roth, for example, goes this route, implying with the Hostel films’ ridiculous final-act turnarounds, that we all have the tendency to turn bloody butcher should the opportunity arise. The result is that these films chastise their audience more than entertain, reveling in jaw-dropping, squalid moments of their characters’ desperate self-preservation and thoughtless decision-making.

The latest of this type to come down the pike, British director Olly Blackburn’s Donkey Punch, is a particularly nasty piece of work. The plot set-up doesn’t merit much more than Variety-esque dash-off, so: Three cute girls from Leeds vacationing in Spain hook up with four fit Brit boys they meet at a random party, and they all agree to share a weekend on one of the guys’ luxury yacht. Sex and drug fueled chaos ensues. The early scenes of the film are particularly tough-going—seemingly uninterested in individual character traits, Blackburn would rather drop us in the midst of debauchery with a cross-section of interchangeable young studs and slags. Initially, this seems like another “state of our youth” cri de coeur, a British Alpha Dog, if you must. But then, after a cool dip in the serene, impossibly blue Mediterranean, the conversation turns to unorthodox sex acts, and Guy with Harelip creases his eyes and glowers, “Ever done a donkey punch?”

Click here to read the rest of Michael Koresky's review of Donkey Punch.

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