Donkey Punch movie poster
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Donkey Punch movie poster

Donkey Punch Movie Review

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Do you know what a donkey punch is? I didn't as I began to watch the indie movie Donkey Punch, but let's just say it's like a Dirty Sanchez only more violent: it's something you joke about but would never actually do. However, what should be a direct-to-DVD college comedy is actually an erotic thriller.

This low-budget thriller follows three young ladies who find themselves out on the open seas with a group of four guys they just met. They seem harmless enough, and when the drugs start flowing - things get good. Three of the guys go down below to explore two of the girls, and explore they do. But in a moment of miscommunication, one of the guys "donkey punches" the girl he's screwing - and, well, things just spiral out of control from there. With one dead, the two parties - the men and the women - take sides as they attempt to cover-up the accident murder and avoid blame.

Donkey Punch is a disturbing little film, and one that will unlikely ever become a cult classic. Nevertheless, decent acting and fast pacing make this an entertaining picture - as long as you don't mind sex, drugs and donkey punches (to be fair, there's only one donkey punch in the movie). While character development is minimal, Nichola Burley establishes herself well as the protagonist, as much as there can be in a movie like this. Few of the characters survive to see the end credits, and it's never clear exactly who you should root for.

This, as it turns out, is both the movie's failing and what sets it apart. With a story where there are such gray characters, it's hard to cling to any one character - or group of characters - that you can empathize with. None of the characters are villainous by nature, and when all is said and done, it's hard to imagine that a situation like this could truly happen. Nevertheless, writer/director Oliver Blackburn takes his characters from one stage to the next with relatively plausible actions, and so there's rarely a moment where you grimace and think, "(S)he wouldn't have done that in real life." Furthermore, with no clear line as to who will ultimately be good and who won't be, this adds to the intrigue because it's hard to guess who will survive and who will die.

Donkey Punch does work best on a superficial level: it is a thriller where a bunch of guys to have sex with a bunch of girls, something goes wrong, and they start killing each other off. I won't pretend or allude to some false belief that there's something clever going on here; there are drugs, there is nudity and sex and there are lots of murders. Enough said.

A little more character development could have gone a long way, but given the nature of the film, it's understandable why Blackburn keeps the audience at an emotional distance. The movie isn't for everyone, but it is entertaining.

Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.

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