Wilderness Survival for Girls (2004)

Wilderness Survival for Girls (2004), written, produced, edited and directed by Eli B. Despres and Kim Roberts.

It is a pleasure to recommend small budget, independent "little" films like this. Nothing spectacular, just a well-made quirky thriller with several unexpected twists. Great four-person ensemble, it could have been a play but effectively uses the outdoors and limited cabin space.

Three girls at the end of high school celebrate by going up to a remote mountain cabin. One is the Good Girl, another is something of a Wild Child, and the third maybe wants to be a little wilder than she is.

With girls the politics is complicated.

Staying up late, smoking dope, telling "ghost" stories, when the older Man arrives. He scares them. Is he the boogeyman, or an innocent who just made the mistake of being there? We're never quite sure.

Over the course of a tense, paranoid night the alliances shift but finalize in a truly scary moment when they say -- and believe -- "He's guilty. Look in eyes. You can tell". The unfairness of being a woman, of being afraid all the time: they pile it up on him.

I see the actresses have done a lot of TV but nothing I recognize. I've seen James Morrison many times: Space: Above and Beyond, 24.

Shot on standard definition PAL video, looking a bit better than you might expect, with good lighting and a skilled camera operator. 78m long.

Available on DVD. No subtitles, but the disc includes a pdf of the script and a happy, excited commentary track by the writers/directors: