Three best friends decide to return to their childhood getaway, an island away from the rest of the world when unexpected visitors cause a simply vacation to turn into a nightmare of survival. This is the basic premise for director Kate Aselton’s Black Rock (2012). Aselton also came up with the story (with the actual screenplay by Mark Duplass) and stars in this tense survival thriller.
Abby, Lou, and Sarah (Aselton, Lake Bell, and Kate Bosworth, respectfully) have been distant over the last few years but Lou has brought them altogether in order to mend their personal grudges by going back to childhood island getaway and reliving the “glory” days. Unbeknownst to them three war buddies are also on the island doing a little hunting. The six of them decide to camp together and party the night away but when Abby gets a little too drunk one of the men takes advantage of her and she accidentally kills him. Now the remaining soldiers decide that they must all three women must pay for what Abby has done even if it means none of them getting off the island alive. Now the three women must learn to put away their differences if they are to survive who are armed with guns while they have nothing but their wits and nature to help them.
As a director Aselton has crafted a tense thriller from beginning to end by starting off the film with the personal tension between the three women which then morphs into physical tension when they have to survive on the island at any cost. Another great added addition to the film is the island itself which is both a paradise and a prison for the women. The film could have easily become a run of the mill chase thriller but the island adds so much atmosphere and production value to the film as does the great performances by all three stars who each have their own agendas and personal journey throughout the film.
This is a better than expected thriller from an actress turned director who I hope continues to create such character driven films.