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“Black Rock” by Katie Aselton Essay (Movie Review)

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Updated: Jun 13th, 2022


Black Rock is a film directed by Katie Aselton. It shows how people (Sarah, Abby, Lou, Derek, Henry, and Alex) struggle to survive on a village island. Gender stereotypes emerge when a night party turns tragic and makes friends become enemies (Carter and Steiner 2011). This essay reviews the cultural aspects presented in this movie.


Sarah, Abby, and Lou were friends since their teenage years, but they have been separated for a long time. Sarah manages to persuade Abby and Lou to travel to a remote island where they lived together most of their teenage years (Mathews-Green 2012). She hopes that their friendship will be renewed, and they will enjoy the company of each other. On the other hand, Henry, Derek, and Alex have just been fired from the military and are trying to keep themselves busy by hunting (Romanski 2012). Abby and Henry develop a strong bond, but he intends to use her for sexual satisfaction. He tried to be intimate with her, but Abby did not want their relationship to go that far. She resisted, but Henry was overpowering her before Abby accidentally killed him. Alex and Derek embark on a mission to hunt the three women to revenge and protect themselves from their evil plans (Carter and Steiner 2011).

Review of Cultural Issues

The most dominant cultural issue in this movie is male chauvinism. Henry thought that he had the right to be intimate with Abby, and that is why he tried to rape her when she resisted his advances. This practice affects most modern communities because it hinders the success of affirmative actions (Mathews-Green 2012). It violates their rights of making independent decisions and considers them inferior to men. Today, most women know their rights and cannot be intimidated by traditional practices that undermine their dignity. However, some men believe that they can control women and force them to do what they want (Romanski 2012). This is a backward belief because it does not respect the rights of women.

In addition, it places women on an endless journey to survive in a society where male dominance is a tradition. Abby, Lou, and Sarah portray the image of strong women that cannot sit and wait for men to do everything for them (Mathews-Green 2012). They knew that Sarah had committed a crime by killing Henry, but none of them cared to act responsibly; therefore, they decided to survive in dark and frightful nights instead of facing the reality. The movie shows that women can survive without men’s help, and these characters proved that they are not weak (Carter and Steiner 2011).

However, the movie portrays men as evil and that they do not know the rights of women in society. It was released in 2013 after affirmative actions had spread to all corners of the world, yet the director seems unaware of the efforts aimed at restoring equality between men and women (Mathews-Green 2012). The irony of this movie is that Henry, Alex, and Derek were soldiers that had fought in the Middle East to ensure peace prevailed in that region. However, the producer degrades their contributions to developing a peaceful society by depicting them as trigger-happy soldiers that were on a revenge mission (Carter and Steiner 2011).


Male chauvinism is a dangerous threat to women’s empowerment programs. However, this movie does not portray gender issues the way they happen in modern societies. In addition, the director promotes cultural practices that empower women without considering their impacts on other members of society. The movie portrays men as rapists and unable to control their sexual desires.


Carter, C and Steiner, L. (2011). Critical Readings: Media and Gender: Issues in Cultural and Media Studies. New York: Wiley.

Mathews-Green, F. (2012). Gender: Men, Women, Sex and Feminism. New York: Conciliar Press.

Romanski, A. (Producer). (2012). Black Rock [DVD]. New York: Submarine Entertainment.

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