Viewing your Watchlist and recommended content requires Javascript

  • 15
  • Horror, Thriller
  • 2012
  • 83 mins [S]

Black Rock

Black Rock


Working from a screenplay by mumblecore maverick Mark Duplass, director Katie Aselton pits three women and three men in a regressive struggle for life and death.


Three one-time schoolfriends - Sarah (Kate Bosworth), Abby (Katie Aselton) and Lou (Lake Bell) - revisit Black Rock, an island haunt of their childhood, to mend old rifts (rooted in petty jealousies) and to have what Sarah describes as a "last hurrah" before they surrender entirely to adulthood. Yet as these thirtysomethings start retracing former footsteps, reverting to adolescent idioms ("she started it!") and exhuming time capsules and ancient grievances alike, they run into three similarly aged men (Will Bouvier, Jay Poulson, Anslem Richardson) - all veterans of Afghanistan - who are also out to retrieve their innocence lost, and who will soon transform the island playground into an arena of life and death.

Like the Duplass brothers' Baghead, Adam Wingard's A Horrible Way To Die and You're Next, Joe Swanberg's Silver Bullets and the entire oeuvre of Ti West, Aselton's film, written by her partner Mark Duplass, belongs to the 'mumble-gore' movement, smartly marrying the timeless thrills of genre to the post-millennial sensibilities of mumblecore. As the young women, stripped of all the trappings of their adult lives, are forced to play deadly games of hide and seek with the island's hyperviolent bullies, the survival tropes here offer an engagingly edgy frame for the film's otherwise reflective themes on time's passage, unresolved history and reluctant coming of age.

"Please stop," one of the women will say in the climactic confrontation, but by this stage things have already reached the point of no return. All of these characters may in different ways be arrested, atavistic and infantilised - but the clock, ultimately, cannot be turned back, and these six adults who once enjoyed childhood together must now see things through to their bitter end, without simply being able, as they could in elementary school, to reset the game to start.

Cast & Connections

  • Actor: Kathryn Aselton, Jay Paulson, Kate Bosworth, Lake Bell
  • Director: Kathryn Aselton
  • Writer: Mark Duplass

In a nutshell

Katie Aselton's survival thriller sets its themes of time's passage, unresolved history and reluctant coming of age within a gripping island-set genre frame. It's like Lord Of The Flies for arrested adults.

by Anton Bitel

Latest from Film4...

  • Film4


    Katell Quillévéré's family-based drama follows Suzanne, a teenage mother who falls for a gangster

  • Film4

    The Purge

    Ethan Hawke stars in James DeMonaco's drama about a sanctioned night where all crime is legal

  • Film4

    Me and You on Film4

    Premiere of Bernardo Bertoluccis drama about a boy and his half-sister who run away together.

  • Film4

    Philadelphia on Film4

    Denzel Washington and Oscar-winning Tom Hanks star in Jonathan Demme's powerful drama.

  • Channel 4 Blog

    BIFA brings 2015 nominated films to cinemas

    BIFA-nominated films including the Film4-backed 45 Years, The Lobster, Macbeth, Amy and Ex Machina will be available in cinemas nationwide from 23 November in a special public screenings event. The

  • Channel 4 Blog

    Film4-backed films receive 41 nominations at the BIFAs

    Film4 has received a total of 41 nominations for the films it has backed at this year¿s British Independent Film Awards (BIFAs), with the nomination lists for the Best British Film and Best Director a

Register with

Personalise your Film4 experience

  • Set film reminders
  • Build your watchlist
  • Get film suggestions

or Register

Tweets @Film4

  • "It's 0600 hours. What does the 'O' stand for? O my God, it's early!" Up next at 1.25am, Good Morning, Vietnam.

  • "Love sure is a funny thing." Coming up at 11.35pm, Jim Carrey and Ewan McGregor star in I Love You Phillip Morris.

  • Our late-night highlight at 1.25am is Oscar-nominated black comedy Good Morning, Vietnam, starring Robin Williams.

  • At 11.35pm, Jim Carrey is a swindler who would do anything for love in con-rom-com gem I Love You Phillip Morris.

  • Premiere alert! On 15th December, we're screening The Possibilities Are Endless, a documentary about @edwyncollins.