Turning the besieged male campers of Deliverance into a trio of yoga-toned gal pals—they take to grungy survivalist chic well—would seem to be missing the point of that 1972 classic. But such analysis doesn’t suit this lame, phony-feminist thriller, devoid of a larger context save the predictable payback of a woman scorned. Sarah (Kate Bosworth) has a restorative vacation in mind, clomping around the woods with childhood friends Lou (Lake Bell) and Abby (director Katie Aselton) in the hopes of burying tensions involving an old boyfriend. But just as you’re getting acclimated to their uptight bickering, three armed hunters emerge from the treeline, and a wary fireside drinking session quickly goes south.
Even given the spectacle of fully nude females scampering through the underbrush, certain questions arise, like: Is this the best time to continue arguing about that old boyfriend? Or: What kind of soldier-turned-killer-creep takes a nap on the beach next to his loaded shotgun? The ineptly staged climax of Black Rock betrays a distinct lack of dramatic chops; screenwriter Mark Duplass (working from wife Aselton’s concept) is clearly more accomplished as a soft, likable onscreen bear in films such as Your Sister’s Sister than as a femme-revenge scenarist. A soundtrack of churning rock songs by the Kills is as close as this misfire gets to authentic grrrl power, borrowed as it is.
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