Donkey Punch (2008)
By: Devon B. on April 27, 2009  | 
DVD
Madman (Australia). Region 4, PAL. 1.85:1 (16:9 enhanced). English DD 5.1, English DD 2.0. English Subtitles. 95 minutes
The Movie
Cover Art
Credits
Director: Oliver Blackburn
Starring: Robert Boutler, Sian Breckin, Julian Morris, Tom Burke
Screenplay: Oliver Blackburn, David Bloom
Country: UK
External Links
Purchase IMDB YouTube
Donkey punch: a strike to the back of a sexual partner's head or neck during the climax of anal sex that knocks said partner out to cause sphincteral tightening that should heighten orgasm. There are variants, like the Tony Danza, but for common usage that's the definition. Except in the movie Donkey Punch the punch has been slightly sanitised to be used in vaginal intercourse. Cleaning up urban legends is not necessarily a good move for a film trying to be edgy and boundary pushing…

Three female friends are holidaying in Spain. They meet up with three dudes who are crewing a yacht, and the guys invite them back to the boat. At the boat they meet one other crew member, and begin to have a little party. When the volume gets too high, the guys decide to set sail so as not to disturb the neighbours and get themselves in trouble. After some substance abuse, most of the cast decide to get jiggy with it, but unfortunately one of the guy's decides to go for the titular manoeuvre which has lethal consequences. The rest of the movie is the characters trying to sort out their various levels of predicament. Only the surviving women making any sort of sense, and sometimes even they don't.

For a film trying to promote terror through the realism of the situation, Donkey Punch asks for a lot of suspension of disbelief. The character that triggers the sexual chaos is so unlikeable it's hard to believe anyone would talk to him, let alone mate with him. The situation is often implausible, like when the guys decide they are all in life-ruining trouble when only one of them actually would be. There are other moments where characters do things to move the story along that don't ring true, which maybe could've been helped if the story was fleshed out. But the problem there is that Donkey Punch is already moving at a donkey pace. It's nearly a third of the way into the movie before the donkey punch happens, which is stupid 'cause it's the movie's title. Maybe unjaded audiences will be in suspense about when the punch is coming, but I can't imagine anyone would be that easy to manipulate. I wouldn't mind the film taking awhile to set up, but this is essentially a character piece, and none of the characters are noteworthy, forget about engaging or likeable. This could've been a claustrophobic thriller if done right, but the film really needed some tightening or expansion. As fast paced exploitation, it doesn't quite work, and as an arty film it's even worse. Mainstream cinema goers may have been entirely shocked by the film, but those of us that have been watching exploitation for years won't be caught off guard by much here.

It's not all bad, though. The film looks good, and is mostly competent once you look past scripting laziness. There's some nice foreshadowing, and a few grisly surprises are in store. The best action focused scenes may seem familiar to anyone that's seen Visitors or Zombie Holocaust, but there're a few genuine wince inducing gore moments.

Donkey Punch is okay, but comes off as pretentious exploitation and is not a patch on a real thriller like Shallow Grave.
Video
The print is sharp and clear, but there is some distracting video grain in darker scenes.
Audio
When is a 5.1 mix unnecessary? When you can't listen to it! While listening to the 5.1 my wife and I often couldn't hear what was being said, but would be deafened by sudden loud sound FX or music. Swapping to the 2.0 improved things and given there had been very little use the surround sound, I didn't think I was missing out on much. The 2.0 track still suffered from the unevenness of the sounds/music compared to the dialogue, but at least I could hear what was being said and wasn't deafened when a song came on. Speaking of which, some of the music is really annoying.
Extra Features
The DVD comes with the film's trailer, TV spots, a small stills gallery, Madman trailers, a commentary, interviews with the director/writer and most of the cast, a storyboard comparison for one scene, and a 17 minute making of. The making of starts asking people involved what a donkey punch is, which could've been funny, but it lost my attention when those interviewed started discussing what the movie was about because I'd just watched the fuckin' thing. The commentary is with director Oliver Blackburn and producer Angus Lamont. Some info from the interviews and making of repeats here, but you do get to hear about the origins of the story, the attempts at realism, and shooting in Africa. I hadn't noticed the film was shot in Africa as the entire cast is British, but then most of the time they're on a boat in the ocean so it could've been shot anywhere with lots of water.
The Verdict
Movie Score
Disc Score
Overall Score
Donkey Punch is a tough film to rate. While my review sounds fairly negative, it's not actually that bad and would be a tough film to pull off, it's just that it isn't pulled off completely and for any satisfaction one must be pulled off all the way. It's better than a lot of the absolute drivel that's out there, but doesn't offer a lot that's new.

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