Donkey Punch
Mates, would you rather be donkey punched or be IN ‘Donkey Punch’?

Theatrical Release Date: 02/06/2009
Director: Oliver Blackburn
Cast: Nichola Burley, Julian Morris, Tom Burke, Jaime Winstone, Robert Boulter, Sian Breckin, Jay Taylor

When I first saw the trailer, I wondered if this was even a real movie and not something a few film students with some extra time cut together as a joke. Well, after sitting through the 95 minute extended trailer, I can tell you it is a “real” film. Of course, it’s also quite generic and terrible but that’s another thing altogether … did I say that too soon?

Whatever.

In true cliché fashion, three British girls have taken a holiday together to help one of them get over a bad break-up. Of course, they end up meeting some boys out on the town. Of course, those boys have a place they can all adjourn to, crank up the tunes in and disappear into dark rooms of (this time around, rather than a house, writer/director Oliver Blackburn went with a yacht). Of course, after enough heavy flirting, alcohol/drug use and sex to get everyone’s favorite hockey masked serial killer in a tizzy, the film’s title rears its ugly head. Of course, that act leads the group into a frenzy of blame, shame, guilt and overacting. Of course, none of this makes the film any good.

It appears that the intention was to create a tense psychological thriller, that explores the frantic thoughts and feelings that a situation like this would engender. However, the film plays out like a more adult version of “I Know What You Did Last Summer” crossed with a less star-studded version of “The Hole” (semi-obscure British film with Keira Knightley and Thora Birch).

The plot unfolds like a cheap paper napkin and all one can really hope for are some good deaths and cheesy lines. While I appreciated a few of the deaths, it’s sad that they were so heavily foreshadowed – never allowing for a moment of surprise. And because the film wasn’t attempting to be terrible (although it was), all of the really good lines that could have been delivered were left out because they would have shown Blackburns’ knowledge that the film was a joke.

The performances are on par with what a film like this deserves … meaning, overhanded and appropriately unrealistic. While I might normally rail against such “work”, had the acting been better, then the film might have lost some of its crappy charm and just made the whole thing boring – rather than somewhat horribly fun. All that matters in a film like this is that the cast look good in (and out of) skimpy swim wear and that they end up killing each other in an attempt to let the audience return to their own lives.

I’m a little surprised to see this get an R rating rather than the NC-17 because of the sex scene that justifies the movie’s title. Usually, simulated sexual acts, thrown in with both male and female frontal nudity, warrant a harsher tone from the MPAA but maybe they didn’t bother to watch the whole thing and went along with the usual equivalent of the UK18 rating it has across the pond where it came from (and maybe should have stayed).

Look, the only reason you should see this film is if you’re planning to mock it from beginning to end since it’s like a mash-up of so many other teen/young adult suspense films – and done poorly at that. “Donkey Punch” will make you laugh if you enjoy ridiculing films but it doesn’t add anything new to the genre, the best deaths are in the trailer and the filmmakers avoided every chance to do something unique with the film other than base the entire project around the premise of a sick and twisted (but funny in a juvenile manner) sexual act. A 1 out of 5, I did add the Craptacular tag because I was laughing through much of it … but I’m a rare bird … others may just wonder how their money escaped their wallets and their brains escaped their heads.

**(One addendum to make is that the film is being theatrically released, in San Diego at least, with the restriction of admitting only those 18 and up. The DVD release will apparently feature both the Unrated and R-rated versions. My apologies for the error.)