"Black Rock slaps you in your horror movie ambivalence and presents you with something new"

Being a horror movie fan is like being in a terrible relationship, when it’s bad it’s really bad and when it’s good it’s great but it ends up disappointing you in the end. It’s a glorious moment when a horror movie can surprise you, challenge your expectations and almost make you feel bad about how you felt before.

Black Rock is a simple story about three friends who travel to an island where they hiked as children. The three women in the story are Abby (Katie Aselton), Lou (Lake Bell) and Sarah (Kate Bosworth) they have had an arduous friendship, like most women who’ve had friendships for many years there are unburied hatchets and fights that haven’t been resolved. Traveling to the titular ‘Black Rock’ is supposed to be a journey to calm and relive childish fantasies of happiness.

The three women get off to a stuttering start as it’s revealed that Abby and Lou have an unresolved issue about Abby’s old boyfriend having drunken sex with Lou. The tension between them is palpable as the peacemaker Sarah tries to remind the stubborn friends of the good times they had as children. Just as Abby and Lou seem that they are going to talk through some of their issues, three men who the girls vaguely know through high school friends show up after hunting on the tiny island.

After what seems like a friendly drink around the campfire things turn tense, as the men reveal they as veterans having just been dishonourably discharged from Iraq. By this point Abby, the most emotional vulnerable and drunk of three has lured one of the men, Henry (Will Bouvier), into the woods. After realising how drunk she is, she pushes away Henry, only to realise that he won’t be stopped, turning sex into rape. Abby defending herself, accidentally kills the man, prompting the other men to defend the man who saved them in Iraq and prompts Derek (Jay Paulson) to utter the terrifying line ‘Get your gun’.

The film spirals into a cat and mouse game as the two men left hunt the women through the woods. Rather then adhering to every horror movie cliché of having women constantly falling over, screaming for men to help them and just being generally pathetic whilst men stand in front of bullets, pure masculinity obviously protecting them from harm, Black Rock slaps you in your horror movie ambivalence and presents you with something new. The story touches on many common threads that are running through society, victim blaming, PTSD, rape and women as things, not people, which need to be protected. Black Rock presents you with a realistic terrifying scenario that challenges gender stereotypes and will keep you guessing even when you wish could stop.