The plot is vintage teen slasher: Tammi (Nichola Burley), Kim (Jaime Winstone) and Lisa (Sian Breckin) are vacationing in Spain, trying to help Tammi get over a broken relationship while having a bit of risque fun. At the very first bar, they meet Marcus (Jay Taylor), Josh (Julian Morris) and Bluey (Tom Burke), who suggest that the whole group return to their yacht for a few drinks. Like screenwriter clockwork, Tammi is reluctant, but the other girls talk her into it, and they quickly find themselves drinking, drugging, and getting intimate, until something terrible and unexpected occurs.
Anyone who's seen a slasher movie in the past twenty years will know that the nice girl is meant to be the hero while anyone who does anything R-rated gets the axe, and the big question is whether this tried and true template is meant to empower or exploit women. It's clear that the intense sexuality behind Donkey Punch is meant to bring another element to the debate, but the characterizations kill any chance at subtext. Tammi's nice-girl arc thuds loudly whenever co-writer/director Olly Blackburn or co-writer David Bloom try to hint at her reluctance, and Kim and Lisa are such unlikable, annoying people that you just don't care whether they live or die. Tammi has an equally ineffective counterpart in Sean (Robert Boulter), who is on the ship when the group arrives, whose presence as the Nice Guy to Tammi's Nice Girl thuds with hers in unison. Frankly, with these two characters and the plot I've already provided, I'd be surprised if you couldn't accurately determine what happens in the entire movie with a little bit of effort.
Much like Shuttle, another recent horror film I reviewed, Donkey Punch contains several bouts of idiocy from the characters that snaps my suspension of disbelief. In the same way that it seems ridiculous that several adult humans can't escape an airport shuttle, I have an equally hard time accepting that nobody tries to simply leap overboard and swim to the closest shore. Sure, they're pretty far out in the middle of nowhere (and I probably missed some sort of exposition about sharks or something), but if the alternative is death, it seems like there's nothing to lose. Poor decisions aren't limited to the heroines either, as Julian Morris's character beocmes increasingly less believable as the movie progresses. Tom Burke's Bluey is far more interesting: he doesn't seem to have as clearly defined a side in the movie's central conflict, and you feel like he could change loyalties at any moment.
Of course, I could have forgiven the movie's flaws if it was any fun, but it mostly isn't. I've already mentioned my dislike for the term "torture porn" in a review, but I can agree that the modern horror movie is less like the haunted-house rollercoasters of the 80's and is instead brutal and cold-blooded. Donkey Punch is no different, delivering reel after reel of depressing twists. As for that style, the movie certainly is slick, with a sun-drenched look that accurately accentuates the movie's indulgent fantasy concept. Horror fans will also appreciate that the movie is both bloody and revealing; moments involving a butterfly knife and a flare gun will satisfy the audience's craving for violence and Donkey Punch's unrated cut contains some of the most graphic nudity I can remember seeing in a modern movie.
All in all, I'm willing to accept that the movie is fairly well made, and anyone who doesn't mind the downer tone and the familiar genre tropes will probably enjoy Donkey Punch on a certain level, but I saw the poster (specifically, a UK poster with a bloody boat motor) and the title and I expected something else. I appreciate the value of a good, shocking title, but a little more of the outrageousness promised by a movie called Donkey Punch would have gone a long way in my book.
Cast Interviews (28:19) are okay. I've seen worse interview reels (the clips included on the US DVD of Big Nothing were excruciating) but the questions asked aren't very interesting. Whether or not you find these engaging will probably be determined by how much you like the actors. Interview With Director Olly Blackburn (13:56) is from the same press junket, and is equally interesting (or not interesting, depending on how you feel). "The Making of Donkey Punch" (17:09) is your standard EPK-style clip reel, and it covers pretty much the same ground as the interviews. Lastly, a reel of deleted scenes (12:42) round out the special features. No commentary is provided, but on-screen text with little tidbits serve as introductions to each scene. Nothing earth-shattering occurs, but it's easily the most interesting video extra on the disc.
Hitting the "6-Shooter Film Series" logo on the Special Features menu takes you to a gallery of trailers for all six films, including Let the Right One In, Special, Timecrimes, Eden Log, Big Man Japan and the theatrical trailer for Donkey Punch. No subtitles are provided for the bonus features.