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Donkey Punch

January 23, 2009  |  2:56pm
Donkey Punch

Release Date: Jan. 23

Director: Oliver Blackburn

Writers: Oliver Blackburn and David Bloom

Cinematographer: Nanu Segal

Starring: Robert Boulter, Sian Breckin, Tom Burke, Nichola Burley, Julian Morris, Jay Taylor, Jaime Winstone

Studio/Run Time: Magnolia Pictures, 99 mins.


The phrase from which this film takes its name is likely familiar to many who have been to college in the past decade or who know someone from a fraternity. The film, in fact, broaches the subject in much the way I imagine most of us originally heard it: via flirtatious talk about over-the-top and almost certainly unreal sexual maneuvers. Donkey Punch takes this and turns it into a reality that conforms with what doctors would tell you about the move, which is that not only does it have no basis in reality, but it’s also potentially lethal. In the film, it most certainly is the latter.

Donkey Punch begins with a trio of girls out looking to party who meet up with a group of guys looking for the same. One thing leads to another, and after the men reveal they’re deckhands on a yacht, the party heads to the open seas where it culminates in a wild, ecstasy-fueled night. During the midst of this, the titular move takes place and suddenly things aren’t so fun.

This begins the film’s strongest point, a tension-filled middle third where the characters are reacting to the situation in a truly realistic manner. Gone is the party, and in its place are six near-strangers trying to grapple with what they should do. The suspense of this section is heightened because most of the characters are acquaintances, with no reason to do anything more than protect their own skin. Unfortunately, this only lasts for around 20 minutes before Donkey Punch begins its tiresome third act as a slasher film.

At that point, it’s just a matter of watching who falls first and what weapon was used. Time spent in the rest of the film building up the situation and characters to a fever pitch results in a series of clichés so jarringly different that if it weren’t for the same actors and boat, it wouldn’t look like the same film. It’s a pity, because for a while it seems like the most sophomoric thing about Donkey Punch is its sexploitative name. But with its awful ending, the whole film ends up as embarrassing as telling someone what it is you’ve just watched.

Watch the trailer for Donkey Punch:

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