A Punch in the Face of Decency; A Real Horror: Donkey Punch Is a Tale of Teenage Group Sex, Violence, Drugs and Sadism

Daily Mail (London), July 17, 2008 | Go to article overview

A Punch in the Face of Decency; A Real Horror: Donkey Punch Is a Tale of Teenage Group Sex, Violence, Drugs and Sadism


Byline: Amanda Platell

ALREADY the buzz around Donkey Punch is building. After a rave reception at the Sundance film festival earlier this year, it's rapidly emerging as the must-see movie of the summer 'a gravely serious psychological horror thriller' according to one critic, 'frighteningly plausible' says another.

British director and co-writer Oliver Blackburn describes this, his debut feature film, as 'provocative'. Well, I suppose that's one way to describe a morallybankrupt tale of teenage group sex, violence, drugs and sadism which left me sickened to the core.

But Donkey Punch is no ordinary softporn slasher flick. Blackburn claims the characters in his tale are 'socially realistic' typical of many young men and women of his generation. 'Everything in the film is rooted in reality,' says the 36- year-old director. 'We just took the stuff that's out there and made it into a story.' In which case, I despair for the future of Britain.

The key thing to know about Donkey Punch is that the film takes its name from a potentially lethal and possibly mythical sado-masochistic act involving anal sex.

I apologise for being so explicit, but unless you understand the central premise of the film you cannot comprehend what a vile production it is.

The plot, if it can be dignified as such, goes as follows: three girls from Leeds travel to Majorca for a weekend's fun as an antidote to a cheating boyfriend. They meet four posh British boys who are crewing a 76-foot yacht during their summer holidays. And while the owner is away, they decide to play. And play hard.

Within hours of meeting, they all sail off into the sunset and are soon so out of it on a cocktail of drink and drugs they lose all inhibitions and start having group sex, taking it in turns to film the assorted couplings.

EGGED on by his friends, one of the men then attempts to perform the notorious 'Donkey Punch' on a girl, with fatal consequences.

What follows is as absurd as it is disturbing, with the remaining characters subjecting one another to increasingly vile acts of cruelty until there's no one left to maim or murder.

It is, quite simply, the most distasteful, depraved and nihilistic film I have ever had the misfortune to sit through. I freely confess that there were times I felt physically ill simply watching it. Certainly, I would have walked out long before the end had I not had to write about it.

It's not that I can't stomach any horror movie. Gory as it was, I adored Silence Of The Lambs for the psychological brilliance of its storyline and the Oscar-winning acting of Anthony Hopkins.

The Blair Witch Project showed how the horror genre can still reinvent itself, even on a shoestring budget.

But Donkey Punch has no such merits.

Indeed, it has no redeeming features whatsoever. There is not a single shred of humanity, imagination or creativity detectable anywhere among its 99 long minutes.

Its sole purpose seems to be to suggest that, as far as British youth is concerned, all women are sluts, all men are sadists, everyone takes drugs, group sex with strangers is par for the course and sado-masochism's the norm.

But that's not the worst of it. No, the most depressing thing about Donkey Punch is that we paid for it. It received half of its [pounds sterling]1million funding from the governmentbacked UK Film Council and could not have been made without National Lottery funding.

What possible justification can there be for almost half a million pounds of lottery money being spent on this tripe? Lottery money is supposed to help create a better Britain not coarsen it.

Because that's what Donkey Punch is all about the coarsening of society to the point where films that revel in sadism, savagery and deviant sex are somehow hailed as authentic social commentary deserving of public funding. …

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