Jamie Bernadette, Katie Carpenter, Gema Calero, Karishma Lakhani, Sharron Calvin, Michele Gourdine, Hannah Gourdine
WRITTEN AND DIRECTED BY
Written and directed by Lou Simon (Hazmat, Agoraphobia), All Girls Weekend follows a group of high school friends who unite for a weekend in the mountains. However, when everything starts going wrong a weekend of girl bonding is the last thing on their minds. The film stars genre icon Jamie Bernadette (I Spit On Your Grave, The Bunnyman Massacre) along with a terrific ensemble cast that includes Katie Carpenter, Gema Calero, Karishma Lakhani and Sharron Calvin.
The action really kicks off when Annie (Calvin), Dani (Carpenter), Gem (Calero), Stephanie (Lakhani) and Nancy (Bernadette) follow Dani on a hike to check out a particular spot. While they make it just fine, on their way back Dani's familiar spot suddenly becomes unfamiliar and the girls, seemingly lost, become more desperate when Annie falls and severely injures her leg. An abandoned cabin seems to answer their prayers, though things keep getting worse and going more and more wrong.
With a tag line like "Nature is a bitch," it's abundantly clear that nature's going to play a hand in the fate of our girls. Unbeknownst to the girls when they first head out, the area they are in is considered cursed after an industrial plant accident destroyed all the area's wildlife and plant life.
That may very well explain a whole lot of things that they find along the way.
It'll also explain an awful lot of what unfolds as the girls keep going around in circles with seemingly no way out.
All Girls Weekend is that rare indie horror flick that emphasizes story as much as it does its actual horror. While that story may seem simple, Simon does a nice job of building up effective chills and getting us to buy into the young women whose experiences we are watching. In addition to the always top notch Jamie Bernadette, Katie Carpenter (television's Maid to Order) is an absolute rock star here and her scenes with Bernadette are among the film's highlights. While these two likely shine brightest, the truth is there's not a weak link among the bunch.
The action in All Girls Weekend does build up, especially toward the end, and Simon proves herself as a filmmaker by beautifully handling that transition in a convincing manner. William Schweikert's lensing impressively captures the beauty of nature along with the increasingly menacing nature of the surroundings. Michael Damon's original music complements the film's increasing sense of suspense quite nicely, while Simon's script throws in a few curve balls and a couple of scenes that are a true joy to watch.
All Girls Weekend isn't a flawless film, yet it's an immensely entertaining and thrilling one that builds over the course of its 85-minute running time into a mighty fine indie chiller. The film will be available on VOD starting July 12th with indie distributor Uncork'd Entertainment.
© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic