A hiking expedition turns into a fight for survival for a group of women in the horror thriller “Quarries”
“Forming strong relationships with nature, oneself, family, community and each other…these are the things that create profound change. The wilderness is not a luxury but a necessity.”
Seven women travel into the wilderness for a few days to go on an expedition that is meant to help them heal and escape. But when a wildfire changes their route they stumble onto private land owned by a backcountry family. As the women hike and explore, little do they know a bloodthirsty family of men is stalking them with one thing on their mind.
“Everything’s a mistake until it becomes a lesson.”
Written by Nicole Marie Johnson and Nils Taylor, Quarries is directed by Taylor and stars Johnson in the leading role of Kat. Leisha Hailey, Carrie Finklea, Sara Mornell, Joy McElveen, Nicole Duport and Rebecca McFadzien round out the mostly female cast. At its bare bones, Quarries is a wilderness survival thriller. A group of people go into the woods, they are stalked and knocked off one by one and must fight to survive. We’ve seen it a lot. Sometimes it’s done really well. A lot of the times it’s done really badly. Quarries sits somewhere in the middle.
I do appreciate the mostly female cast in a film full of unique characters and few stereotypes. Each actress delivers her performance earnestly and emotionally. Kat is a wonder to behold, and her storyline is a fascinating one – an abused woman finding her inner warrior and kicking some ass. Joy is clearly ex-military. While I wish her story lasted longer, she was interesting to watch. Wren had so much character depth you could sink your teeth into. Unfortunately, the movie didn’t let that happen.
The girls also kick some major ass all around. It’s that kind of satisfying fight where the girls know what they’re doing, and that makes the fight scenes much more realistic. They go for the eyes; they go for the groin – just like Oprah Winfrey always taught us.
The backcountry folk stalking the girls are quite interesting but turn frustrating quickly because there’s not much rhyme or reason for them attacking these women. Near the end, they throw out a sort of reason, but it feels very last minute decision-making. Sometimes movies work when there’s not much backstory — just crazy in-breds chasing city folk. Sometimes it’s the unknown element that is what’s so scary. But that’s not really at play here.
Don’t get me wrong, this movie was a great watch. You fall in love with these women and the villains intrigue you. The story itself is well thought out, and this is ultimately a satisfying wilderness thriller romp.
THE HIGH POINTS
- I loved Kat more than anything. I was honestly cheering out loud at the end when she was fighting back. I also enjoyed Wren a lot, and I wish we could’ve learned more about her. She was tough as nails but genuinely emotional.
- There are some really beautiful wide shots in this film of the never-ending forest, making you feel that sense of hopelessness if you were lost inside of it. I’m curious where they filmed!
- The violence was appropriate – never over the top for the sake of violence. The blood and gore is actually surprisingly minimal in this film.
- The leader of the backcountry family was super interesting and weirdly attractive. I had many questions for myself after it finished.
THE LOW POINTS
- The lack of story about the backcountry family was frustrating, as I explained above. The film gave me absolutely nothing, leaving it to my imagination to piece together the story.
- The pacing in this film is strange. It gets incredibly slow in some parts where it’s not needed and then speeds up almost too much in the action parts. It was only about an hour and a half, but some parts felt a lot longer.
- Small annoyance, but Wren’s eyeliner stayed on the entire time!! Girl was running through the forest and the rivers and falling over and getting attacked, yet the eyeliner remained almost perfectly smudged beneath her doe eyes. Really?! She had beautiful eyes though.
LOVE IT OR LEAVE IT?
I am a big fan of wilderness survival thrillers. Backcountry (2014) is one of my favorite horror movies of all time! So, for me, this unfortunately wasn’t a big hit. But I enjoyed myself, I rooted for the characters, and I loved all the lady love. So I’m going to give it a 6/10.
BUT! Stay with me…If you don’t watch a weird amount of these kinds of films like me, you should definitely watch this one! I promise you’ll enjoy it. It’s got all the great elements and is a solid survival thriller. Give this a chance and learn what I learned along time ago…the woods are not a safe place to be. I will NEVER go camping. As I always say, if I’m in the woods for longer than three days, I’ve been dead for two of them!
Quarries is available on VOD right now. Go watch!