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Case Number 16117

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Donkey Punch

Magnolia Pictures // 2009 // 99 Minutes // Unrated
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // April 10th, 2009

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All Rise...

Judge David Johnson prefers the Llama Forearm.

The Charge

This party is going overboard.

Opening Statement

From across the pond, a harsh thriller about an orgy on the high seas gone wrong and the violent fallout that results. Think Very Bad Things meets Gilligan's Island.

Facts of the Case

Three girlfriends are gearing up for a fun-filled weekend. They fall in with four guys who crew a yacht, and end up on their ship, drugs and drinking and casual sex with strangers to follow. Everything's hunky-dory, what with the wanton debauchery and all. That is, until one of the guys succumbs to a deadly combination of stupidity and horniness, and someone dies.

Nothing kills a party like a felony murder, and the scheming begins. What do you do with the body? How do you cover up the crime? Is there anyway to elude responsibility? And how about the dead girl's friends? Can they be controlled? It should come as no shock to anyone that things go from bad to worse real quick.

The Evidence

If you like your thrillers dark and nasty and loaded with shocking amounts sex and drug use, I don't see how Donkey Punch will let you down. In case you're not fluent in the vernacular of depraved sex acts, a "donkey punch" is a punch to the neck of one's sexual partner at the height of pleasure. It's not a spoiler to determine why this is the title of the movie and how exactly it fits into the zaniness that ensues on board the ship.

While you might be able to predict the kick-off, how Donkey Punch plays out is where the fun lies. These characters are placed into situation that easily preys upon their own insecurities and selfishness and though the "right thing" might be obvious, the filmmakers have realistically built their personalities and situations so their choices make sense. Of course every one of them has to choose the most self-absorbed, consequence-deaf avenue, but if they all opted to go to the authorities and fess up, well, that wouldn't make a very good thriller.

Thankfully, it's a "me-first" attitude for pretty much everyone and that means paranoia and screaming and crying and plotting and violence. As each character makes his or her own power play, the stakes rise exponentially and anyone you had at first thought was harmless or decent morphs into a roid-raging psycho. It's the typical "good(ish) people turned really, really bad because of a stupid decision" angle and very similar to Very Bad Things but executed extremely well.

The boat setting adds even more tension. All this insanity taking place on a yacht floating way off in the middle of the ocean lends a claustrophobic feel to the events, significantly jacking up the stir-craziness. And since I'm on the subject, I have to give a shout-out to Francois-Eudes Chanfrault's atmospheric score; it's a simple, driving soundtrack, and augments the suspense considerably.

One last note: this is a "hard unrated" movie. The violence is raw and bloody, the thematic material is pitch black and there is a lot of sex and nudity. A lot.

Magnolia's DVD is a winner. The film looks great in its 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer and the 5.1 audio mix is clean. At the top of the extras, director Olly Blackburn delivers an insightful commentary (and sort of bizarre; he defends his gratuitous orgy sequence by saying he just wanted to show the frivolity of 20-somethings at the height of their sexual peak, but, um, isn't that precisely what gets everyone in the film into hot water?). Additionally: deleted scenes, cast and director interviews and decent making-of featurette.

Closing Statement

For anyone craving a twisted, nasty, guilty pleasure thriller, Donkey Punch will sock it to you.

The Verdict

Ahoy! Not guilty.

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Scales of Justice

Video: 90
Audio: 90
Extras: 85
Acting: 85
Story: 85
Judgment: 86

Perp Profile

Studio: Magnolia Pictures
Video Formats:
• 1.85:1 Anamorphic
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
• Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Subtitles:
• Spanish
Running Time: 99 Minutes
Release Year: 2009
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Genre:
• Thriller

Distinguishing Marks

• Commentary
• Deleted Scenes
• Featurette
• Interviews

Accomplices

• IMDb








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