MOVIE: Wilderness Survival for Girls (2004)

As prep for my aforementioned weekend of bad horror movie watching, I was skimming through some “lists” on Netflix the other day and came across this movie under the heading “teen screams.” It sounded perfect — after all, nothing is more fun than spending a weekend watching really stupid teenage girls act like morons as they’re chased around in the dark by a raging psychopath with mommy issues, right?

Annnnnnd here’s where my parents turn to each other and wonder just where they went wrong. . .

Anyway, the description of the film was exactly what I was after — three 17 year-old girls head out to the woods for a weekend of drinking and pot-smoking (a surefire way to get yourself killed in a horror movie, as we all know), and in the middle of the night, a mountain man breaks into their cabin and proceeds to terrorize them for hours. Sounds just like what you’d expect from a movie described as a “teen scream,” right?

And it started off promising too, I must say — within three minutes at least one of the girls was pulling her shirt off, and that’s how most teenage-girl slasher movies begin. Good sign. Later, we even got lesbian smooching, which meant that surely the axe-wielding maniac could not be far behind.

You can imagine my disappointment, then, when this film not only turned out NOT to be a horror movie, but also had the gall to be GOOD.

Darn, darn, double-darn! So much for my weekend. . .

And yet, it’s really the truth — as it turns out, this is a fairly successful little psychological thriller. At first, the girls are terrified by the man, who says his name is Ed (played by a white-haired, scruffy-bearded James Morrison, by the way, who most of us will recognize from his work as CTU head Bill Buchanan on 24, and holy crap, is he ever gorgeous when he lets his scruffiness shine through, I must add). They point a shotgun at him and tie him to a chair and try to think of how they are going to contact the police when they don’t have a phone and can’t get their truck started. Ensue panicked 17 year-old girl wishy-washing. Ed kind of goes along with it at first, seeming more amused by their fear than concerned by it, but the more time the girls spend with him, the more their personal issues and overactive 17 year-old imaginations start overruling the logical centers of their brains. And things go rather quickly downhill from there.

There are a few lessons to be learned from this movie. One is that all 17 year-old girls are stupid, even when they think they are not (trust me, I was stupid when I was 17 too, and I had a 3.9 GPA and (erroneously) considered myself to be precociously self-aware). And another is that 48 year-old men living in the woods can be just as dumb as 17 year-old girls. The secret to surviving a situation like the one Ed found himself in lies in NOT SCARING THE GIRLS. But this was a secret Ed seemed unaware of. And I’m afraid the upshot for Ed was being forced to learn it the hard way.

All in all, I’d say this was a satisfactory little thriller — I was completely surprised by it, and would never in a million years have lumped it under the heading of “teen scream.” Definitely recommended, and let me know what you think if you do get around to seeing it.

Let’s hope I have better luck with the next movie in my pile, which surely, SURELY has GOT to be as bad as I expect it to be? Will report back.

[Netflix me | Buy me]

Genre: Thriller

Cast: James Morrison, Jeanette Brox, Megan Henning, Ali Hurniston

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4 Responses to “MOVIE: Wilderness Survival for Girls (2004)”

  1. 49circles » MOVIE: Wilderness Survival for Girls (2004) Says:

    […] from unknown […]

  2. Trip Says:

    Out of control 17 year old girls? Wanton drug use? Tied up old white men? Lesbian smooching?

    Are you sure this wasn’t a movie about after-hours at a Republican convention?

  3. Verna Says:

    Wow, I can’t believe you said that!

  4. megwood Says:

    Trip, I think I love you.

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