Tuesday, December 14, 2010
Wilderness Survival for Girls (2004)
Starring: Jeanette Brox, Megan Henning, Ali Humiston, and James Morrison
Release date: 2004
This movie can best be described as Deliverance for teen girls. Secrets, friendship, survival, and morality are the main themes in both films, while fighting the fears brought on by the natural environment. Two lifelong friends, upper middle classers Ruth and Debbie, take their new, wilder friend Kate to Ruth's parents' cabin along the continental divide for the weekend. It's been 8 years since anyone's been to the cabin. Eight years ago, two girls in the "neighborhood" of wealthy cabin-owners were murdered by a man who was never caught, leaving the families afraid the murderer was lurking in the forest all that time.
With no cell phone reception and no occupied cabins close by, the girls prepare for a night of pot smoking, story telling, and beer drinking to celebrate their upcoming graduation from high school. Early tensions begin to bubble as the girls hint to each other about hidden feelings, petty jealousies, and back-stabbing confidences. Their last hurrah is shattered when a man enters the cabin, claiming to have been squatting there for 8 years.
Ali Humiston (Kate), is the least experienced and I thought the strongest performance. She has such roles to her name as Baton Twirler in an Olson Twins movie and Teddy Bear Fan (uncredited) in Colin Fitz Lives.
Another touch that leapt out at me was the stranger's hand. In one scene he ghosts his hand down Ruth's arm, under her clasped hands, while the camera focuses up close on her hands. When his fingers become visible from beneath hers, they are not just regular hands, or smeared with some dirt or make-up. They have ground in blackness around the nails. Not loose, as if they were a movie prop, but as if he had actually been in the forest for 8 years. Many impressive little details like this add to the reality of the story.