A weak feminist-driven venture into “Deliverance” territory turns into a “Please-deliver-us” exercise in midnight-cinema formula filmmaking without rhyme or reason other than a few grisly money shots in a bloody climax.
Whether the distinction that a woman directed this crude piece of manipulation will become a selling point is unclear.
When three frisky and quarreling females head to a “deserted” island off the coast of Maine for a weekend get-away, you know no good will come of this. Sure enough, right on cue, three scruffy no-good guys turn up out of nowhere, all carrying serious weapons.
Yep, it’s party time for some in the audience while perhaps for others your heart sinks. Are they really going to dive into all those this-is-survival cliches? Yep, they are.
The “they” here is director-star Katie Aselton and her screenwriter/husband Mark Duplass, who is normally an able filmmaker and scenarist. But production notes reveal he wrote this damn thing in a weather-induced layover at an airport. You can well believe it.
If you’re going to do one of these midnight things yet want to maintain your Sundance bonafides, then how about imbuing the manhunt (or in this case womanhunt) with characters or themes that might elevate the thing above a bloodbath? No such luck.
You instantly dislike these women, played by the director along with Kate Bosworth and Lake Bell, for their frivolous and self-absorbed nature. But once the military-veteran males — all dishonorably discharged following “inappropriate” tactics in a war zone — enter the picture, wouldn’t a self-preservation instinct kick in with them?
Nope. Indeed one woman gets roaring drunk, goes off into the woods to party with one of the guys. When she feebly changes her mind and says “no,” she then wonders why this splendid example of American manhood doesn’t listen.
So what choice does she have but to kill him? Surely, his buddies will understand and escort the women back to the mainland. Surely.
Yes, the movie is that stupid in the construction and makeup of its sketchy characters and scenario. Throw in the fact that the women must at one point strip and huddle together to avoid hypothermia and you’ve got a crass, grade-Z exploitation movie.
Opens: May 17, 2013 (LD Entertainment)
Production company: Black Rock the Movie, LLC
Cast: Kate Bosworth, Lake Bell, Katie Aselton, Will Bouvier, Jay Paulson, Anslem Richardson
Director/story: Katie Aselton
Screenwriter: Mark Duplass
Producer: Adele Romanski
Executive producers: Mark Duplass, Jay Duplass
Director of photography: Hillary Spera
Production designer: Erin Staub
Music: Peter Golub
Editor: Jacob Vaughan
No rating, 80 minutes