Donkey Punch (film)

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Donkey Punch
Donkey punch poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Oliver Blackburn
Produced by Mark Herbert
Angus Lamont
Written by David Bloom
Oliver Blackburn
Starring Robert Boulter
Sian Breckin
Nichola Burley
Tom Burke
Julian Morris
Jaime Winstone
Music by François Eudes
Cinematography Nanu Segal
Edited by Kate Evans
Production
company
Distributed by Crown International Pictures
Magnolia Pictures
Release dates 18 July 2008 (UK)
Running time 99 minutes
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Budget £1 million.[1][2]
Box office £486,095[3]

Donkey Punch is a 2008 British horror thriller film about a group of English people on holiday in Spain who end up fighting for their lives. The film was written and directed by Oliver Blackburn (as Olly Blackburn) and David Bloom, and stars Nichola Burley, Sian Breckin, Tom Burke, Jaime Winstone and Julian Morris.

Plot[edit]

While on a holiday in Mallorca, Spain, Lisa (Sian Breckin), Kim (Jaime Winstone) and Tammi (Nichola Burley) meet four young men, Bluey (Tom Burke), Josh (Julian Morris), Sean (Robert Boulter) and Marcus (Jay Taylor). After spending the day at the resort together, the girls are invited to the men's yacht where they plan to party out at sea. While aboard the boat, they take drugs and the conversation turns to sex, and in particular, types of sexual acts. Bluey describes a sex act called a "donkey punch" which involves punching the female in the back of the head while having doggy style sex in order to increase the sexual pleasure for the man.

Marcus, Bluey, Kim and Lisa go to the master bedrooms where they begin having drug-fuelled sex, watched by Josh who, in the knowledge of all involved, lingers furtively in the darkness, recording the action with a camera. Bluey, who is copulating with Lisa, asks Josh to film the action and then decides to let Josh take a turn. Josh and Lisa then have anal sex. Immediately prior to ejaculation and with Bluey's encouragement, Josh donkey punches Lisa but uses excessive force, breaking her neck and killing her instantly. To cover up the incident, the men decide to throw the body overboard while the women want to report it to the authorities, and argument ensues about what to do with the tape. Bluey continually insults Tammi and in a fit of rage, she stabs him in the chest with a penknife, and the women escape in the yacht's tender. However, the girls soon realise that the tender's outboard motor is missing (a cut scene shows it still attached to the yacht). In a fit of despair, Tammi fires a flare, attracting the attention of the men. They quickly locate and pick up the women.

As the men attempt to get the women aboard, threatening them with a shotgun, Kim shoots a second flare directly at Marcus. The flare explodes into Marcus's torso and slowly burns him to death. Josh locks the recaptured women in one of the rooms below. Sean asks Josh to "call in" and request medical assistance for Bluey. However, knowing that Bluey still has the tape that contains footage of him dealing the earlier fatal blow, Josh instead decides to discover its whereabouts by torturing Bluey. He does this by withholding pain numbing drugs from him. Bluey reveals the location of the tape, beneath the bed in the state room. Tammi escapes the room by smashing through the glass door and cutting herself, and overhears Bluey mention where the tape is. She frantically roams the boat trying to locate it. She does this just moments before Josh attempts to retrieve it. Unable to find the tape, Josh returns to Bluey, stepping up the torture by turning his attention to the knife which still protrudes from the wound. Josh ultimately takes this too far and, following Bluey's pained protestations that he has already revealed the location, he twists the knife further into the wound before pulling it out, causing Bluey to die.

Sean tries to bring the situation under control by retrieving a shotgun from Josh. He then tries to calm both Josh and Tammi from a frantic argument about the whereabouts of the tape. Kim notices Sean holding a shotgun with Josh and Tammi visibly upset from an adjacent room. She misinterprets his intentions towards Tammi and Josh and brutally kills Sean with the propeller of an outboard motor. After realizing her mistake, she manically commits suicide by jumping overboard, leaving Josh and Tammi as the only ones left. A distraught Tammi decides that she cannot remain on the boat any longer. Josh agrees, and readies the tender. His plan is to leave the yacht, get back to shore and claim that there was an accident. As Josh pushes the tender away from the yacht, Tammi quietly takes hold of the end of the mooring rope at the stern.

Once the tender has floated some distance from the yacht, Josh pulls his hunting knife from his shorts and points it at Tammi. He demands the incriminating tape from Tammi and, fearing for her life, she obliges, throwing it on the floor of the tender. As a distracted Josh reaches for the tape, Tammi quickly throws the looped end of the mooring rope around his neck. The rope immediately reaches the end of its tether and Josh is wrenched into the sea, snapping his neck and killing him. Tammi, now the sole survivor, fires a distress flare in the hope of being rescued. She then lies down on the tender and morbidly stares up at the night sky, as the raft drifts away into the ocean.

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

Olly Blackburn, Donkey Punch film director (2012)

Influences[edit]

Blackburn commented that films including those by Nick Love, and The Descent, helped pave the way for Donkey Punch.[4] He stated he was inspired by Sam Peckinpah, Roman Polanski, Straw Dogs, Rosemary's Baby, George Romero's Dawn of the Dead and John Carpenter.[4]

The Philadelphia Inquirer compared Blackburn’s work to films including filmmaker Peter Berg’s Very Bad Things and director Phillip Noyce’s Dead Calm.[5] The Los Angeles Times additionally compared Blackburn’s work to Dead Calm as well as director Roman Polanski’s Knife in the Water.[6] The A.V. Club observed that the movie appeared similar to Knife In The Water and Dead Calm, but with actors similar to those from The Real World.[7] The San Diego Union-Tribune characterized it as a slasher film.[8] Rex Reed of The New York Observer likened the plot of the film to And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie.[9]

Development[edit]

Filmmaker Olly Blackburn directed Donkey Punch, which he co-wrote with David Bloom.[10] He explained that he was in the offices of production company Warp X discussing television options with company co-founder Robin Gutch when he first thought to make a movie about the topic.[4] He and David Bloom discussed the idea and concept with Warp X management and successfully convinced them to go ahead with the film.[4]

His total budget for the film was £1 million.[1][2]

In an interview with Total Film, Blackburn commented, “I think Donkey Punch is an extreme thriller or an extreme reality-based thriller. The whole point of the film is it’s grounded in reality.”[11] Blackburn wrote that he made Donkey Punch, “to try to push the genre.”[12]

Filming[edit]

Blackburn's production team went through a casting process which took seven months;[11] the film stars Nichola Burley, Tom Burke, Jaime Winstone and Julian Morris.[13][14]

Donkey Punch was greenlit by Warp X in February 2007.[4] Blackburn chose to look at filming locations in the Southern Hemisphere owing to greater availability of sunlight that time of year.[4] Film shooting for Donkey Punch began in March 2007.[15] Blackburn shot the film in South Africa,[11] over 24 days.[4][16] Blackburn decided upon South Africa because of its cost benefit, its support for the movie production, and the availability of skilled film technicians.[4] Cinematography was handled by Nanu Segal.[17]

During production Blackburn had to deal with actors afflicted by hypothermia and tidal surges on location.[12][18]

Donkey Punch was given an R rating by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) for "a scene of strong sexual content" described as "an aberrant violent act".[19] A different version of the film was unrated by the MPAA; no one under the age of 18 was allowed in by theaters to see this version.[6][19]

Release[edit]

Donkey Punch had its world premiere at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival.[20] It was featured among the non-competition titles.[21] The film was Blackburn’s first work to be shown at the Sundance Film Festival,[22] where it received a positive reception from the audience in attendance.[18]

It was subsequently shown at film festivals in Seattle, Washington,[23] and Austin, Texas.[24] The Austin American-Statesman recommended it among the "10 Must-See Movies" at Fantastic Fest.[24] It was promoted at Fantastic Fest with a "'Donkey Punch' Boat Party" in honor of the film featuring a screening followed by festivities aboard a ship at Lady Bird Lake.[24]

Donkey Punch was featured in 2008 at the 62nd Edinburgh International Film Festival, where it competed for the Michael Powell Award.[25] It was a featured selection at the Sitges Film Festival,[26] and the Melbourne International Film Festival.[27]

Donkey Punch was released on DVD on 10 November 2008.[4] It was shown on British TV on the Film 4 channel on 14 December 2013.[28]

Reception[edit]

The review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reported a 49% approval rating with an average rating of 5.5/10 based on 51 reviews. The website's consensus reads, "Donkey Punch begins as a promising thriller, but loses credibility while adhering too closely to genre conventions."[29] It received a score of 43 out of 100 at Metacritic.[30]

The Guardian described it as "expertly made and painfully tense; a bracing cold snap blowing in off the ocean."[31] The film failed to stir up much controversy in the British press.[32] Amanda Platell described the film, in The Daily Mail, as "a morally bankrupt tale of teenage group sex, violence, drugs and sadism which left me sickened to the core" concluding that it was "quite simply, the most distasteful, depraved and nihilistic film I have ever had the misfortune to sit through. I freely confess that there were times I felt physically ill simply watching it."[33] Elsewhere in the British press The Times called the film "a notable achievement in all departments, handled superbly by its first-time director and largely unknown cast, with a tight, frighteningly plausible script. ... Donkey Punch has a respect for formula but, more importantly, a commitment to doing things differently, and properly. A scary, truly edgy film."[34] Writing in The Daily Mail Baz Bamigboye said "It's a violent, cracking shocker. In fact, I was so stunned by several scenes that I sat frozen in my seat."[35] Jason Solomons wrote in The Mail on Sunday "A stylish mix of Ibiza Uncovered, Lord of the Flies and Dead Calm ... I liked Blackburn’s energy and tension and was taken by the ensemble performances – the film has an eye on cult audiences and late night thrills, all of which it delivers with unsavory relish."[36]

Stephen Holden's review in The New York Times said "There is no transcendent agent of evil; the enemy is within ... the movie remains above the typical splatter ’n’ scream fest. These careless hedonists are convincing, and the ensemble acting feels believable."[37] Aintitcool's Harry Knowles said "Damn I fucking loved it."[38] Rex Reed wrote a review of Donkey Punch for The New York Observer and called it a "slaughterfest" and "the newest footnote in the history of pretty-girls-in-peril pictures".[9] Wesley Morris reviewed the film for The Boston Globe, and commented, "The naughtiness turns nasty, the nastiness turns fatal, and the kids gradually turn against each other. ... And the alive-to-dead pecking order is strictly a horror film convention: The soberer and more virginal you are the better your chances."[39] Lou Lumenick gave the film two stars in a review for the New York Post and observed, "You could call Donkey Punch, ... a female revenge movie. But you could just as easily characterize it as fairly well-executed exploitation."[40]

Writing in the New York Press, Eric Kohn said "Such a unique thrill. Director Blackburn develops the scenario with remarkably shrewd finesse and builds to a satisfying spectacle."[41] The Village Voice called it "A Knife in the Water for the era of Ugly Briton, package tour imperialism."[42] In a review which graded Donkey Punch a "B", the Boston Herald called the film "dirty, nasty fun", while criticising its lack of originality.[17] The Philadelphia Inquirer wrote, "Donkey Punch offers a gripping mix of sexual heat and nasty menace."[5] The Los Angeles Times concluded, Donkey Punch isn't without a certain power as it gleefully turns its careless hedonists into caged, paranoid rats.”[6] The A.V. Club gave the film a grade of C+ and wrote that the director, "sustains a tense mood of mistrust, sexual rivalry, and shifting alliances", but lamented that "the film goes off the rails in the final third, sacrificing subtle character work at the altar of blood-and-guts survival horror. As mood-killers go, it's like a jab to the back of the neck."[7]

The Philadelphia Weekly review called the film "an odious little potboiler".[43] Long Beach Press-Telegram called the film a predictable thriller.[44] A review in The San Diego Union-Tribune concluded, "What began as a fairly interesting girls-gone-wild picture becomes just another gorefest with lingering close-ups of wounds and knives being extracted."[45] Though the San Francisco Chronicle called Donkey Punch an "interesting but flawed indie thriller", it determined the final act was "annoyingly routine".[46] Contra Costa Times gave the film a grade of "C" and described it as unoriginal suspense.[47] The Seattle Times called Donkey Punch a "lurid thriller", and was critical of its plot progression towards the middle of the film.[19] The Kitsap Sun described the film as "a nasty, dirty little movie".[48] Though lamenting the predictability of the film's plot, the review offered an instruction for potential viewers, "Prediction isn’t the point, because you know the final score’s going to be 1. The point is to just sit back, if you’re so disposed and not easily offended, and gleefully watch all the nasty, dirty little business go down."[48]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Olszewski, Tricia (13 February 2009). "Interview With Donkey Punch Director Olly Blackburn". Washington City Paper (Creative Loafing Inc.). Retrieved 23 February 2012. 
  2. ^ a b Wilkinson, Amber (18 July 2008). "Giving British films some Punch". Eye for Film (www.eyeforfilm.co.uk). Retrieved 23 February 2012. 
  3. ^ "Donkey Punch (2009)". Box Office Mojo (IMDb.com, Inc.). 2009. Retrieved 2014-06-29. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i Gillespie, Michael (10 November 2008). "Director Olly Blackburn talks Donkey Punch". The Skinny (Scotland: Radge Media). Retrieved 23 February 2012. 
  5. ^ a b Rea, Steven (6 February 2009). "Donkey Punch". The Philadelphia Inquirer (Philadelphia Media Network). Retrieved 23 February 2012. 
  6. ^ a b c Abele, Robert (23 January 2009). "’Donkey Punch’ is a cautionary tale for wild girls set". Los Angeles Times (Tribune Company). Retrieved 23 February 2012. 
  7. ^ a b Tobias, Scott (22 January 2009). "Donkey Punch". The A.V. Club (Onion Inc.). Retrieved 30 April 2013. 
  8. ^ Kendricks, Neil (1 February 2008). "Count on Sundance for startling, thought-provoking indie visions". The San Diego Union-Tribune (Union-Tribune Publishing Co.). p. E-3. 
  9. ^ a b Reed, Rex (3 February 2009). "Punch Drunk Love". The New York Observer. 
  10. ^ Maher, Kevin (15 July 2008). "Murder most torrid". The Times (Times Newspapers Limited). p. 15. 
  11. ^ a b c "Exclusive interview with Oliver Blackburn". Total Film (Future Publishing Limited). 2011. Retrieved 23 February 2012. [dead link]
  12. ^ a b Olly Blackburn (9 July 2008). "Olly Blackburn meets Nic Roeg". TimeOut London (Time Out Group Ltd and Time Out Digital Ltd.). 
  13. ^ Oliver Blackburn (2008). Donkey Punch (Film production). United Kingdom: Warp X. 
  14. ^ "Donkey punch (DVD video, 2009)". WorldCat (Online Computer Library Center; OCLC 317504366). 2009. Retrieved 23 February 2012. 
  15. ^ Olly Blackburn (20 June 2008). "News - Self portrait: Olly Blackburn". Edinburgh International Film Festival (www.edfilmfest.org.uk). Retrieved 23 February 2012. 
  16. ^ Guerrasio, Jason (15 January 2008). ""Donkey Punch" co-writer-director, Olly Blackburn". Filmmaker Magazine (Independent Feature Project). Retrieved 23 February 2012. 
  17. ^ a b Verniere, James (30 January 2009). "Movie Review: Juicy 'Punch' is spiked with violence". Boston Herald. p. B13; Section: The Edge; Edition: All. 
  18. ^ a b "Donkey Punch - Olly Blackburn interview". IndieLondon (www.indielondon.co.uk). 2008. Retrieved 23 February 2012. 
  19. ^ a b c Fry, Ted (13 February 2009). "A smart "Donkey" takes a ride on the dark side". The Seattle Times (Seattle, Washington: Seattle Times Company). p. E14; Section: Movie Times; Edition: Fourth. 
  20. ^ "Sundance announces out-of-competition films". Park Record (Park City, Utah). 29 November 2007. 
  21. ^ Means, Sean P. (29 November 2007). "Celebrities abound in 2008 Sundance premieres". The Salt Lake Tribune (Utah). 
  22. ^ Mr. Disgusting (2011). "Interview Donkey Punch: Writer/Directory Olly Blackburn". Bloody Disgusting (Bloody-Disgusting LLC). Retrieved 23 February 2012. 
  23. ^ "Find what you're looking for in a film". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. 13 June 2008. p. 8; Section: What's Happening; Edition: Final. 
  24. ^ a b c Garcia, Chris (18 September 2008). "Film Feast". Austin American-Statesman (Austin, Texas). p. T27; Section: XL; Edition: Final. 
  25. ^ "Edinburgh 2008: The films". BBC News (BBC). 23 May 2008. Retrieved 23 January 2014. 
  26. ^ "Sitges - 41ed. Festival Internacional de Catalunya". Sitges Film Festival (sitgesfilmfestival.com). 2 October 2008. Retrieved 23 January 2014. 
  27. ^ "Madman celebrates MIFF madness". if.com.au. 18 July 2008. Retrieved 23 January 2014. 
  28. ^ Watson, Steve (14 December 2013). "Donkey Punch". Film4 (www.film4.com). Retrieved 15 December 2013. "In a nutshell: From tense psychological thriller to slasher fun, Donkey Punch is a thrilling adventure through hedonism gone sour." 
  29. ^ "Donkey Punch (2007)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 8 February 2014. 
  30. ^ "Donkey Punch". Metacritic (CBS Interactive Inc.; http://www.metacritic.com). 2012. Retrieved 2014-06-29. 
  31. ^ Brooks, Xan (18 July 2008). "Review: Donkey Punch". The Guardian. Retrieved 27 August 2011. 
  32. ^ Witcher, Rosamund (18 July 2008). "Donkey Punch: what controversy?". Film Blog. The Guardian. Retrieved 27 August 2011. 
  33. ^ Platell, Amanda (17 July 2008). "'Donkey Punch is the vilest film I've ever seen,' says Amanda Platell". The Daily Mail. Retrieved 27 August 2011. 
  34. ^ Wise, Damon (25 January 2008). "Donkey Punch". The Times. Retrieved 23 January 2014. 
  35. ^ Bamigboye, Baz (25 January 2008). "One Donkey Which Gives a Hell of a Kick; Chill Out". The Daily Mail. Retrieved 23 January 2014. 
  36. ^ Solomon, Jason (20 July 2008). "WALL. E Is Bound to Clean Up". The Mail on Sunday. Retrieved 23 January 2014. 
  37. ^ Holden, Stephen (23 January 2009). "Passion and Pain at Sea, With Fatal Consequences". The New York Times (The New York Times Company). Retrieved 23 January 2014. 
  38. ^ Knowles, Harry (9 April 2009). "Harry's DVD Picks & Peeks - 2nd Wk of April". Aintitcool. Retrieved 23 January 2014. 
  39. ^ Morris, Wesley (30 January 2009). "Movie Review: Donkey Punch - Fun in the sun for rich kids turns into terror afloat". The Boston Globe (Globe Newspaper Company). Retrieved 30 April 2013. 
  40. ^ Lumenick, Lou (23 January 2009). "Rockin' the boat". New York Post. p. 042; Section: New York Pulse. 
  41. ^ Kohn, Eric (21 January 2009). "Donkey Punch". New York Press. Retrieved 23 January 2014. 
  42. ^ Pinkerton, Nick (21 January 2009). "Donkey Punch Exceeds Its Smutty Titling with Workmanlike Thriller". The Village Voice. Retrieved 23 January 2014. 
  43. ^ Burns, Sean (4 February 2009). "Capsules - New releases - Donkey Punch". Philadelphia Weekly (www.philadelphiaweekly.com). Retrieved 5 September 2011. 
  44. ^ Lowman, Rob (23 January 2009). "Too much 'Donkey' and too little punch". Long Beach Press-Telegram. p. 3; Section: U; Edition: Valley. 
  45. ^ Grant, Lee (5 February 2009). "'Donkey Punch' needs a 'Toxic Film' warning". The San Diego Union-Tribune (Union-Tribune Publishing Co.). p. 22; Section: Entertainment: Night & Day; Edition: Final. 
  46. ^ Hartlaub, Peter (6 February 2009). "Donkey Punch". San Francisco Chronicle. p. E6; Section: Datebook; Edition: Advance. 
  47. ^ "'Donkey Punch' comes up short on punch". Contra Costa Times (Walnut Creek, California). 6 February 2009. p. 8T. 
  48. ^ a b Moore, Michael C. (20 March 2009). "‘Donkey Punch’ is Every Bloke and Bird for Themselves". Kitsap Sun (Bremerton, Washington: E. W. Scripps Company). p. W14; Section: Entertainment, Movies. 

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