DreadWorld Review: 'All Girls Weekend' (2016)

If I've said it once, I've said it thirty six million times: "Never....ever...leave the comfort of your own sofa." All Girls Weekend, the latest film for writer/director Lou Simon (Agoraphobia), is the latest in a long line of iterations confirming my hypothesis. The film owes a lot to the plethora of isolationist/super natural horrors that preceded it. Simon liberally throws 3 parts The Descent, 1 Part The Evil Dead, and 1 Part Cabin Fever into a blender and hits puree. The results are derivative and uneven, more like YellowBrickRoad (Review HERE) than any of the films that Simon borrows from.

It all begins when four friends, and one piece of cannon fodder, reunite to try and re-kindle their friendship via an isolating weekend in the woods. When an ill advised hike results in the ladies getting lost in a haunted forest, they are forced to battling the elements, each other, and something even more sinister in their fight for survival.

The film starts out promising enough. Taking a page right from The Descent, Simon lets us spend time with the characters, We get to know them and their personal histories. We get to see the tips of festering wounds that have scabbed over, but never truly healed. Unfortunately, where Neil Marshall's film soon devolved into balls to the wall mayhem, Simon's film gets stuck in the slow lane, feeling more like an '85 Corolla than a brand new Ferrari. By the time the film switches gears from the claustrophobic snippiness of The Descent to the supernatural feel of The Evil Dead, we are far too bored to care.

Simon does manage to ramp up the drama and the scares in the last 15 minutes, salvaging some of the good will she created with the first 30 minutes. But the attempt at a last reel twist feels forced and is far too grounded in the weaker supernatural story line rather than the much more interesting man, or woman in this case, vs. nature story line. For those looking looking for the stomach churning gooeyness of the films that All Girls Weekend wears proudly on it's sleeve, you will be extremely disappointed. This is a film where a character is killed by being buried under a pile of leaves and another one is chased by a bear that 's clearly National Geographic stock footage spliced into the feature.

While Cabin Fever and The Descent are buoyed by impressive performances by it's cast, All Girls Weekend sees it's knees buckle a bit under the weight of a dialogue heavy first half. While the actors may be adequate for typical c-level slashers, they are a little overwhelmed here. Simon is smart to whittle the cast down to it's two strongest performers Jamie Bernadette and Katie Carpenter for the strong third act.

All Girls Weekend is a smart film that almost fulfills the promise of it's forefathers. But the films failure to shift into overdrive during it's second act holds it back from being something special. As a weird aside...the poster for the film appears in the film, rather prominently in the first act. It's weirdly distracting to those of us that are easily led astray by shiny objects. You should check out the film if you want to see some strong, measured writing, some decent acting - especially from the two leads, and lots of nature. If you are looking for a film that goes balls to wall with gore and blood, then you might want to skip this All Girls Weekend.

** 1/2 stars out of *****

That's it for me. As always, thanks for reading and "enjoy every sandwich."

No comments:

Post a Comment