Black Rock (2012 film)

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Black Rock
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Katie Aselton
Produced by Adele Romanski
Written by Mark Duplass
Starring Katie Aselton
Lake Bell
Kate Bosworth
Music by Ben Lovett
Cinematography Hillary Spera
Edited by Jacob Vaughan
Submarine Entertainment
Distributed by LD Entertainment
Release dates
  • January 21, 2012 (2012-01-21) (Sundance)
  • May 17, 2013 (2013-05-17) (United States)[1]
Running time
80 minutes[2]
Country United States
Language English

Black Rock is a 2012 American horror-thriller film directed by Katie Aselton, based on a screenplay by her husband Mark Duplass. The film premiered on January 21, 2012, at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival and was released theatrically on May 17, 2013. Black Rock stars Katie Aselton, Lake Bell, and Kate Bosworth as three friends that reunite after years apart on a remote island, only for them to have to fight for their lives.[3]


Sarah has invited her childhood friends Lou and Abby to return to a remote island that they once spent time at in their youth, in the hopes of drawing the now distant group back together. Lou, six years ago, slept with Abby's boyfriend of two years, and Abby is still sore about it, even though she has since moved on and remarried. On the island they run into Henry, Derek, and Alex, three hunters and veteran soldiers. The two groups are initially friendly, but things grow tense after the three men mention that they had been dishonorably discharged from the military while serving in the Middle East. Abby, in a momentary attraction to Henry, takes a walk with him and the two end up kissing. Henry initiates a sexual overture with her. Abby does not want to have sex, and when she struggles to free herself Henry becomes more aggressive and begins to rape her. In her desperate attempt to escape, Abby accidentally kills Henry with a rock to the head.

The other two hunters, as well as Lou and Sarah, come running at the sound of Abby's scream, and when Derek and Alex become enraged at the thought of losing the man who "saved their lives" while serving together, the three women are mercilessly beaten and knocked unconscious. When they wake, they are tied together by the wrists, and Derek, the more aggressive of the two remaining hunters, is about to shoot Abby in the head for killing Henry. In a stroke of brilliance, Abby repeatedly insults his manhood, convincing him to let her go so they can fight hand-to-hand. When he does, Lou rises up and tackles him as Sarah throws sand into Alex's face. The three women separately escape and hide, and the two men vow to kill them one-by-one as a means of revenge.

Eventually the three women meet up again at their childhood meeting place. They decide to wait until night and go for their boat; however, this goes awry when they discover the two hunters have cut the rope attaching their boat to the shore, sending it floating out to sea. They try to swim for the boat despite the possibility of hypothermia; when Sarah has second thoughts and begins to sprint back to the tree line, she is shot in the head and killed by one of the hunters. Lou and Abby continue to swim, but Lou, being the least athletic, develops hypothermia and must be hauled back to shore by Abby while gunfire rains down on them. As they swim to safety, Alex tumbles down a hill and breaks his leg, distracting Derek. The two women manage to hide. When morning breaks, they decide to "stop being stalked, and start stalking". They find a time capsule they placed underground years ago, containing a Swiss army knife, and proceed to sharpen a stick into a spear. As they do, Abby reveals she left her husband, and she and Lou come to terms with their disagreements.

They search the island and find the hunters' camp on the shore, along with the hunters' boat and an injured Alex sleeping nearby. Abby attempts to slit his throat with the knife as he sleeps, but accidentally wakes him before even reaching him, prompting him to yell for Derek and knock the knife away. Lou runs from the woods to distract Derek as he fires. Abby eventually gains control of Alex's gun by kicking him in his broken leg, and shoots him dead before turning the gun on Derek, who flees. In the woods, Derek encounters Lou, and chases her with his rifle, before cornering her unarmed on the opposite shore. She screams at him to kill her, and he prepares to, but then Abby arrives and dives in front of Lou to save her. Derek fires but his gun is revealed to be out of bullets, and he tosses it aside, drawing a hunting knife. The three of them face off, and the women suggest simply walking away from the fight, but Derek disagrees, stating that the day is going to end with Lou and Abby dead for killing his two best friends.

In a gruesome climax, the two women cry out and dive angrily at Derek. Both sustain brutal injuries, with Lou getting stabbed in the stomach with her own wooden spear and Abby nearly being strangled to death, but in the end Lou manages to slit Derek's throat. Lou and Abby climb on the hunter's boat and sail back to civilization, traumatized but alive. [4]



Katie Aselton began developing the film in 2011, expressing her interest in directing a thriller that audiences would see as realistic.[5] Mark Duplass was confirmed as writing the screenplay and the couple sought to raise funds for the film through crowdsourcing on KickStarter.[5] Kate Bosworth and Lake Bell were signed to Black Rock to play Sarah and Lou, with Submarine Entertainment handling sales.[6]


Critical reception for the film has been mixed to negative,[7] with the film holding a rating of 48% rotten at film aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes based on 54 reviews.[8] A reviewer for Bloody Disgusting gave the film three out of five stars, questioning the intelligence of the female characters over what he saw as "stupid choices" and "lack of character logic".[9] The Hollywood Reporter gave a mixed review, commenting that although the film was "satisfying", the film's female characters "hew perhaps too closely to genre stereotypes".[10]

Alyssa Rosenberg of Think Progress praised the film, saying "There’s something really powerful about the promise of a piece of popular culture that insists that a woman has the right to say no at any point in a sexual encounter, no matter how flirtatious she’s been or how willing she’s seemed up until that point, and that she has the right to say no without being judged or attacked."[11] The film has also been noted by the conservatives at Breitbart for its selection of Iraq war veterans as antagonists.[12]


  1. ^ "Movie Database Black Rock". ComingSoon. Retrieved 2013-03-25. 
  2. ^ "BLACK ROCK (15)". British Board of Film Classification. 2013-05-21. Retrieved 2013-05-21. 
  3. ^ "SUNDANCE 2012: KATIE ASELTON ON "BLACK ROCK"". Fangoria. Retrieved 2013-03-03. 
  4. ^ Heritage, Stuart (2012-12-05). "Black Rock: the horror of it all". London: Guardian. Retrieved 2013-03-03. 
  5. ^ a b Fernandez, Jay A. (2011-05-11). "Katie Aselton to Star in and Direct Thriller 'Black Rock' (Cannes)". Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2013-03-03. 
  6. ^ "Katie Aselton to Direct and Star in Black Rock". Retrieved 2013-03-03. 
  7. ^ "Does This ‘Black Rock’ Trailer Insult The Very Institution Of Horror*?". Bloody Disgusting. Retrieved 2013-03-03. 
  8. ^ "Black Rock". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2013-03-03. 
  9. ^ "Review: Black Rock". Bloody Disgusting. Retrieved 2013-03-03. 
  10. ^ Lowe, Justin. "Black Rock: Sundance Film Review". Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2013-03-03. 
  11. ^ "Black Rock And Feminism As Horror Movie". Think Progress. Retrieved 2013-03-03. 
  12. ^

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