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DISTRESS SIGNALS (2022)
Directed & written by Terence Krey, Christine Nyland.
Starring Terence Krey, Christine Nyland
Caroline (Christine Nyland) gets separated from her camping group, falls down a ravine, and dislocates her shoulder. Lost and afraid in the woods, Caroline is determined to survive, but the odds are against her and she soon finds she might not be as alone as she thinks she is.
DISTRESS SIGNALS is a very, very simple movie. It’s also an effective one. I really am kind of in awe at how uncomplicated this film is in terms of what it accomplishes with so very little budget. Boiled down to basics, DISTRESS SIGNALS is a woman lost and walking around in the woods. For most of its runtime, she is lost, wounded, and walking around. I know that doesn’t sound like a very entertaining movie, but Christine Nyland manages to keep things entertaining with very little dialog. She is simply in a very bad situation and desperate to survive. But somehow, Nyland and Terence Krey who both wrote and directed DISTRESS SIGNALS, keeps things at a minimum, yet I never felt bored by what I was seeing.
Things do, of course, take a turn in the last twenty minutes when it becomes clear Caroline is not alone in the woods. This works as it doesn’t go too far into the intentions of what she encounters in the woods. That is simply another obstacle Caroline has to overcome. There is also a very clever twist as Caroline seems to have been lying to herself for this trip, making this more of an existential road to discovery for the character. I love stories told from the perspective of the unreliable narrator, where the focus of the story isn’t upfront with themselves. It makes things feel more real and honest. I also really enjoyed the way the end credits were dispersed as Caroline begins nearing the end of this harrowing adventure. It made for an interesting way to keep you riveted right up until the last moment of screen time.
I didn’t expect to the as enthralled with the story as I did. It’s just a woman walking around in the woods, which as long as you find the right woods, really costs very little in terms of budget. A little bruise makeup and the cost of the camera, and bam, this movie was made. It’s inspiring that this filmmaking team was able to get so much out of a simple story matched with a no-frills production. While it is something I’ve seen before, I still think DISTRESS SIGNALS is a film creatives should pay attention to in terms of what they are able to accomplish with strong character and writing.