Donkey Punch (2009)
Directed by Olly Blackburn

Starring Julian Morris Nichola Burley Robert Boulter Sian Breckin Tom Burke

A smart British horror/thriller in the vein of "Shallow Grave", Danny Boyle's thriller from way back in 1995. This film just has a stronger element of splatter to it. As in "Shallow Grave," this film features a group of working class Brits who get into a situation way over their heads and become violently pitted against one another. It has the best boat propeller killing since "Dr. Butcher M.D."

The film opens with three vacationing, hard partying British hotties looking for kicks along the Mediterranean. They run across four cockney-accented British blokes on the beach who brag about the yacht they're in charge of. The guys invite the girls aboard the yacht -- which they don't actually own -- and the group goes out on the high seas for some nights of drug induced orgying. One of the girls, of course the lone survivor when things get nasty later on, doesn't participate in all the debauchery.

Things look like they are going straight out any juvenile porno movie fantasy, with videotaped group sex and drugs galore, until a "donkey punch" kills one of the girls (played by gorgeous Sian Breckin). Things go further south from there.

What's a donkey punch? I hadn't heard of such a thing since seeing this movie. But, apparently it's an urban legend of sorts. The idea is if a man hits a woman in the back of the neck during sex, it somehow increases her pleasure, his pleasure or something along those lines. The explanation in the film was explained with such a thick cockney accent that it was difficult to follow.

Needless to say, the partying stops. The guys and surviving gals separate, with the guys determined to throw the body overboard, claimiing she just drowned, with the girls determined to do the right thing -- get back to shore and tell the police. Things continue to get downright criminal from there, with blackmail, murder and, yes, a boat propeller massacre all in the offing. Director Blackburn does a good job of slowly ratcheting up the tension of the story, until the situation devolves into animal warfare between the men and women.

A good low-budget thriller with enough intensity to barely qualify it as a horror movie, "Donkey Punch" may be part of a new wave of British film where a conflict gets out of hand, far away from the confines of society, and things turn to all-out "Lord of the Flies" warfare to survie. I'm thinking "Eden Lake" here. It's certainly edgier than anything coming out of the U.S. these days, with a hard R rating because of tons of gratuitous sex and, of course, boat propeller violence.

The film is well acted by its cockney-speaking British cast, who flesh out believable characters, and very well directed by first-time helmer Blackburn, best known for his rock video work. The film's mostly electronic score by François Eudes is also quite memorable.

All in all, a good trashy thriller.

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-- Review by Lucius Gore


Posted by Michael R. Allen on April 5, 2009
Oh, man really?! "A smart British horror/thriller...," not in my opinion. But, Oliver Blackburn's writing gets strong in "Vinyan," which is one I consider smarter. -Mike

Posted by Lockwood on June 3, 2009
If you can't understand the "thick cockney accents" do what other people do when they''re listening to a language that they don't understand - try subtitles (just hope that you can read all of those substituted U's and Z's

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