All Girls Weekend (2016) – Jim Morazzini|


No stranger to low budget horror, writer/director/producer Lou Simon has long since proved she can hold her own in a field dominated by the guys. With entertaining if not exactly groundbreaking films like Hazmat and Agoraphobia to her credit she’s back with her latest, All Girl’s Weekend, a tale of old friends getting back together for a trip gone very, very wrong.

A group of friends reunite after growing apart in the years since high school. Extra friction is provided as one of them has brought a friend. After a night of drinking and catty comments they head out to the resort and from there it gets even worse. A hiking accident strands them in the woods, woods bearing a curse of course. With all the trails seeming to lead back in a circle and group members dying one by one, the survivors need to find a way out before it’s to late.

While not the most original plot it’s certainly one perfect for a budget conscious film and with plenty of potential for scares. Despite the obvious supernatural elements and cues, (trails that all lead in circles, strange voices in the woods, etc) it also tries to play on the idea that one of them is killing the others off, something the poster certainly wants you to think, (In a particularly meta moment you can see an early version of the film’s poster on one of the women’s apartment wall). It does all come together in a satisfying ending, and along the way the uncertainty helps ratchet up the suspense.

On the minus side the film’s low budget means despite some interesting and potentially gruesome deaths the film is pretty dry due to a lack of an effects budget. A bear attack sequence is pretty much ruined due to some of the most mismatched stock footage I’ve seen in a long time as well as the lack of effects. The film is still effective without the gore but certainly would have benefited from it. It also takes a bit to long to get started and with all the sniping and bitching at each other before they leave I found it a bit hard to believe they didn’t just cancel the trip, they acted more like they hated each other than like old friends.

The acting is good and from some familiar faces top lined by Jamie Bernadette from I Spit On Your Grave: Deja Vu and The Bunnyman Massacre among others and Katie Carpenter from tv’s Maid to Order. Fans of the director will also recognize Gema Calero from her previous directorial efforts.

On VOD release from Uncork’d Entertainment on July 12th, All Girls Weekend is a good choice for an afternoon’s watch.