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Donkey Punch Blu-ray impressions

Blu-ray

Last night, we watched a rental copy of Optimum’s Region B Blu-ray Disc release of Donkey Punch, a British horror movie from 2008. I didn’t really know anything at all about it going in, but I ended up being pleasantly surprised by it. Note that I’m using “pleasantly” in the loosest possible sense of the word, as in actual fact it’s a pretty nasty little movie that rarely pulls any punches and is the absolute antithesis to the PG-13 “horror” movies Hollywood tends to churn out over the summer. (It’s also considerably nastier than many of the so-called “torture porn”* R-rated Hollywood horrors, if only because psychologically it’s a whole lot more unpleasant.) I didn’t actually know what the enonymous “donkey punch” of the film’s title was, and for those who are in the same position as me, I’m not going to spoil it. Instead, I’ll just say that the film is tense, ballsy and unpredictable, and definitely worth a look if you’re tired of your horror movies always coming in one of the two approved configurations (PG-13 horror-lite or R-rated “torture porn”).

So, tarmaccing, huh?

Donkey Punch was shot using some sort of reasonably high-end digital apparatus, and this is readily evident in Optimum’s BD, which alternates between looking very good and not very good at all. The whole image has been slightly filtered, as evinced by the consistent ringing at the top and bottom edges of the 1.85:1 frame. Luckily, there aren’t many high contrast edges in the film, so this is less destructive than it is in, say, Kung Fu Panda, which I watched a couple of days ago and which suffered from exactly the same issue. Compression artefacts do show up on a number of occasions; see, for example, shots 3 and 5. By far the biggest issue, though, is digital noise. Shots which take place in bright light generally look very good indeed, but many of those that take place in the dark are afflicted by a large amount of pronounced interference, which looks nothing like film grain and gives the image a rather cheap, home-made appearance. It’s an unfortunate byproduct of the digital photography, which means that what we find on the disc is pretty much an accurate representation of the source materials (barring the filtering), but it’s not nice to look at. 6/10

Donkey Punch
studio: Optimum; country: UK; region code: B; codec: AVC;
file size: 18.5 GB; average bit rate (including audio): 26.76 Mbit/sec

Donkey Punch Donkey Punch Donkey Punch Donkey Punch Donkey Punch Donkey Punch Donkey Punch Donkey Punch Donkey Punch Donkey Punch Donkey Punch Donkey Punch Donkey Punch Donkey Punch Donkey Punch

* Note: I actually hate the term “torture porn”, but it’s in such wide usage that it seems to be the most straightforward way of conveying the sort of films I’m talking about.

 
Posted: Tuesday, January 27, 2009 at 10:29 AM | Comments: 13
Categories: BD Impressions | Blu-ray | Cinema | Technology

 
Comments

1.

Hey Michael,

I recently watched DONKEY PUNCH as well. I'd agree that it offers some alternative to the binary opposite of bland sanitised horror v. "torture porn" variant currently dominating American output. However, I felt the film was sorely lacking in intelligence and finesse of execution.

The first section of the film plays out like an 'after dark' episode of Hollyoakes set in Ibiza with terrible dialogue and wafer thin characters. Aside from Sian Breckin as Lisa, I thought the cast were universally awful. After the titular event happens (a terribly puerile and moronic 'urban legend' in its own right) the film lurches predictably into an over the top 'who is going to die next' scenario which was only saved by a couple of well shot suspense and death scenes.

For some reason I thought this film was going to represent a bold new entry for British horror. Instead DONKEY PUNCH is a film dreamed up by a director who only had a pathetic sexually deviant anecdote to mind. The rest of the film is simply filling with second rate characters put into a confined space and a motive to kill each other.

I do think the film is nasty and sleazy, just not in a good way. I also watched EDEN LAKE recently and much preferred that flawed but quite enjoyable British horror flick. I have MUM AND DAD to watch next to finish off my Brit horror trilogy and fingers crossed it is also better than this lame and uninspired offering.

A belated Happy New Year to you mate.

Posted by: Count Fosco, January 27, 2009 6:12 PM

2.

Hi Lee,

Good to hear from you again. I actually noticed your low rating for Donkey Punch on your site just after I watched the film myself, and was in fact wondering what caused you to come down so hard on it, so your post above was very interesting to me. I can certainly see where you’re coming from to an extent, but I can’t say I agree. I thought the acting was fine, actually, and, while I can’t say I found any of the characters remotely likeable (they were all completely outwith my social circle), I found them all more or less convincing, and even became somewhat emotionally involved with one or two of them before the end. On that note, I found everything from the “donkey punch” onward to be pretty tense and deftly executed by the director. I suspect it certainly helped that I knew next to nothing about the film before seeing it: I checked out the trailer and TV spots on the disc after watching the film, and am glad I managed to avoid them, as they ruin virtually all the shocks and give away more or less the entire plot.

Haven’t seen Eden Lake yet, but it’s on my “to watch” list.

Posted by: Michael Mackenzie, January 27, 2009 9:31 PM

3.

I like the note at the end after the screencaps. I, too, hate the "torture porn" term, and would greatly like to punch anyone in the face who uses it. OK, so I wouldn't so gladly, since I'm such a non-violent person, but still.

Not sure about this one. When I first heard the title, I thought it was either a joke, or that the movie was a horror comedy. When I heard that it was a serious horror flick, I cringed. I don't know, I may check it out, rent it when it comes to DVD in the States or perhaps check it out if it gets a theatrical release, but I can't get over the premise or title and how childish and dumb they seem.

Posted by: Christopher D. Jacobson, January 27, 2009 9:54 PM

4.

>> I like the note at the end after the screencaps. I, too, hate the "torture porn" term, and would greatly like to punch anyone in the face who uses it.

You might want to, in fact, donkey punch them! Hoo har!

Posted by: David M, January 28, 2009 1:52 AM

5.

If that's yer thing, Lyris. :o I prefer to stay clear of the pewp chute. :P

This is Kriztoffer Swank from Spumboard, by the way.

Posted by: Christopher D. Jacobson, January 28, 2009 4:00 AM

6.

Though I read that as "I might want to," not "You might want to," so ignore that first sentence.

Posted by: Christopher D. Jacobson, January 28, 2009 4:02 AM

7.

I thought this film was about a Donkey so you can imagine what an ass i felt when i read up on what the term actually means....So i guess people actually enjoy doing that in real life....Thats like WOW to me.

Not my cup of tea really and i'll just wait until Film 4 shows it on the satellite in their heavily compressed MPEG2 smoothed over artifact ridden broadcasts. Hmmm does digital HD have better image quality or is it just as artifact ridden and smoothed over only in HD ? Can't be bothered to find out right now.

As for torture porn....I have always enjoyed the SAW movies which i think have good well written plotlines but i can't stand Hostel or it's sequel.

Posted by: FoxyMulder, January 28, 2009 5:26 PM

8.

I on the other hand hated the first Saw (the only one I've seen) and quite enjoyed the first Hostel, ha ha.

Posted by: Christopher D. Jacobson, January 28, 2009 5:40 PM

9.

I didn’t think much of either Saw or Hostel. I never bothered with the sequels - the first one of each was enough for me.

Posted by: Michael Mackenzie, January 28, 2009 6:17 PM

10.

You should give Saw II and III a go Michael.

Better films than the original SAW and i think you will be hooked if you watch both.

Consider how films like the Friday the 13th Sequels or the Halloween sequels used to get cut to shreds by the MPAA censor for an R certificate but now we have films which make the gore in those ones look very tame. How time changes. It's a shame Paramount never kept the cut footage in good condition for those movies as they would sell a lot of copies if they could release them as uncut. Maybe they do have all the footage but are not willing to spend the cash restoring the footage. I would imagine thats the real reason as Paramount are not even going to give us the much better paced and it has the completed musical score mix of the Directors Cut of Star Trek - The Motion Picture.

Thats going off topic though.....I hate Paramount.

Posted by: FoxyMulder, January 29, 2009 2:06 PM

11.

I saw Donkey Punch last night after reading this post. An enjoyable horror thriller, which improved greatly from its fairly poor beginning; fairly tense and claustrophobic throughout.

On the topic of the Saw series - definitely watch Saw II, which is the best in the series, in my opinion. Saw III was good, too, although Saw IV was a bit of a disappointment; the most recent entry, Saw V, is close to a return to form.

Posted by: Richard Booth, February 1, 2009 2:30 PM

12.

Ah well, I think I’m going to have to give Saw II a go now.

By the way, how are things, Richard? Been a while since we last exchanged emails.

Posted by: Michael Mackenzie, February 1, 2009 2:53 PM

13.

Speaking of Hostel Part II, I just received the Blu-ray from Netflix today, and I honestly don't know what the hell people are talking about when they call it a bad transfer, saying it's not as good as the first film's disc. Yet when I look at screencaps provided on Blu-ray.com, it looks like a blurred-out, undetailed shitfest with heavily compressed grain.

I can't understand why so many top-end reviewers have such poor taste and knowledge when it comes to the hi-def format. What's even more frustrating is when I talk to certain "film and HD elite," who hold these reviewers' words as gospel, and say I'm wrong any time I disagree with "the pros." Well, quite frankly, my eyes and my mind aren't seeing what theirs are, and I'm very glad for that.

As for the film...I kind of enjoyed it. Though obviously if one didn't like the first film, they're not going to like the second. It was a fun experience mostly due to how nice the BD looks, but I also really enjoyed Ruggero Deodato's appearance as "The Italian Cannibal" (as listed in the credits).

Posted by: Christopher D. Jacobson, February 8, 2009 1:45 AM

Comments on this entry and all entries up to and including June 30th 2009 have been closed. The discussion continues on the new Land of Whimsy blog:

https://www.landofwhimsy.com

 

 
 
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