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  Donkey Punch Yaffayat? Whityatyaffa?
Year: 2008
Director: Oliver Blackburn
Stars: Robert Boulter, Sian Breckin, Tom Burke, Nichola Burley, Julian Morris, Jay Taylor, Jaime Winstone
Genre: Horror, ThrillerBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: Tammi (Nichola Burley) has been having a hard time of it recently after breaking up with her cheating boyfriend, so to cheer her up her two friends, Lisa (Sian Breckin) and Kim (Jaime Winstone), have taken her out to Mallorca for a spot of rest, relaxation and, of course, partying. The evening doesn't start well when Tammi cuts herself shaving under her arms, but from then on it seems fine as the girls visit a club and meet four lads who are keen to show them a good time. After running out of the place without paying for their drinks, Tammi and her mates are persuaded to go back to the boys' yacht, but as she suspects, this might not be such a great idea...

Donkey Punch made waves in its native Britain for being brazen enough to include the name of a possibly urban legendary sexual act in its title, and not only that but live up to its name by including it in the plot of the film as well. The signs were not good: was this to be yet another sleazy Brit-flick desperately trying to stir up controversy by how demeaning it could be to its characters? It wasn't even supposed to be a comedy. But for those who actually watched it, many found an intriguing drama with well drawn personalities - just a pity about how their predicament was resolved.

Although this was a low budget film, with most of the action taking place on that luxury yacht, it was given a surface gloss by cinematographer Nanu Segal who made this modest effort look a million dollars. OK, that's not a lot in film terms, but Donkey Punch does appear far slicker than its synopsis might indicate. On reaching the yacht, the boys mutter something to each other about it all going to plan, something Tammi overhears and which gives her reservations about spending the next few hours there, but Lisa and Kim change her mind.

Tammi is the sensitive one, and if this were a slasher movie she would be our final girl, but with Oliver Blackburn and David Bloom's script there are strenuous attempts to catch the viewer off guard in what is a fairly straightforward narrative, so that the most macho of the boys is not necessarily the one who will cause the most trouble, and the toughest of the girls crumbles at the moment she is needed by Tammi the most. There's a battle of the sexes occuring here, with the two sides reaching an initial truce for the first half hour or so up until the sex scene, and after that their animosity is unleashed, as if the girls are saying, "You wanted to do WHAT to me?!"

Up to that stage Donkey Punch is a hazy and deceptively placid journey as the yacht is taken out into the sea, ostensibly so they can play loud music without disturbing the other seafarers, but what the boys have in mind is shooting their own private porno video. They get the girls in the mood with some recreational drugs, but there's a bit of talk about extreme sexual practices that looks like bluffing, though actually puts an idea in the boys' minds. After the tragedy that results from this, a tense stand-off arises, but too quickly the narrative resorts to horror movie clichés, despite the best efforts to avoid them. Not that it's poorly handled, it simply doesn't convince you that all this violence would be the consequence of what happens before. It's a pity, because with a little more confidence in the excellent set up the film might have given us a finale worth remembering. Music by François Eudes, also of a high standard.

[Optimum's DVD has loads of special features, including interviews, deleted scenes and a trailer.]
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


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