Monday, August 10, 2009
Wilderness Survival for Girls (2004)
Written and directed by Eli B. Despres & Kim Roberts
Ruth, Kate and Deborah (the naive girl-next-door type, the troubled-but-sexual rebel type, and the beautiful-but-studious type respectively) are best friends fresh out of high school, headed into the mountains for a little drinking, a little drugging, a little half-nude sunbathing, and maybe even a ghost story or two. It seems that eight years ago, two high school girls were killed only a few miles from where they're staying. The marijuana, the isolation, the tree branches scraping against the window, and the dead fox they found in the freezer (seriously!) combine to form a wretched sense of dread and paranoia that proves to be warranted when a drifter intrudes upon their cabin.
For instance, this strange man that comes bursting into their cabin? You would expect that he would begin terrorizing the girls, correct? Well, what if I told you that didn't quite happen? But something else, something you don't typically see, does happen. And every ten minutes or so from there, the tension is ratcheted up one more notch, leading to a gravely sensible (if somewhat anti-climactic) conclusion.
I thoroughly enjoyed this movie, and never once wished that it was indeed the slasher flick I initially thought it was. The actresses did exceptional jobs, and the characters were fully realized. I not only accepted their actions--which tended to dig their hole deeper and deeper--I believed that in those particular instances in real life, others would be capable of making those same choices.
Hey, I didn't say they were wise choices. I just said they were understandable choices.
The true story here is what goes unsaid; the motivation of all the characters, and what's running through their heads. There are hints of back stories never fully told, but you can grasp them if you're paying attention. Subtlety isn't something we Americans are used to, but when done well, it works wonders.
I can't go much further in my discussion without giving anything away, and the fun of this movie is not knowing what to expect. You wouldn't very easily forgive me if I ruined that for you. So just take my suggestion and give this puppy a home. If you don't go into it expecting a fast-paced, kill-a-minute Friday the 13th clone, you just may love it.
Hell, even if you did go into it expecting a fast-paced, kill-a-minute Friday the 13th clone, you might still love it.
Lord knows I did.
Wilderness Survival for Girls is currently ranked #61,504 in DVDs at Amazon.com. Read more about it at the IMDB, rent it at Netflix, or buy it today!