As an artifact of independent rural filmmaking, Swamp Girl is of mild interest, backwoods flavor infusing everything from the soggy locations to the theme song that costar Ferlin Husky croons onscreen. (The biggest name in the cast, he’d been a Nashville star since the ’50s.) As a piece of filmmaking, Swamp Girl is of considerably less interest. The story is contrived, dull, episodic, and far-fetched, with much of the screen time comprising aimless shots of people drifting through swamps, either by boat or on foot. The acting is dodgy, though Husky effects a pleasant Andy Griffith-type quality, and it’s hard to buy into the central premise of a wild girl untouched by society, since the actress playing her, Simone Griffeth, has bleached hair, impeccable skin, and perfectly trimmed eyebrows. Anyway, the story begins with Janeen (Griffeth) delivering a wounded man to civilization, then fleeing. Rednecks wrongly assume that Janeen, who lives in Georgia’s sprawling Okefenokee Wildlife Refuge, compels wild animals to attack interlopers, hence the wounded man’s myriad cottonmouth bites. Among those sent to investigate is a park ranger (Husky), who eventually meets Janeen and learns her story. Enter such random themes as human trafficking, racism, and the rights of individuals to live off the grid if they so choose. Because the film’s action scenes are sporadic and unsatisfying, viewers mostly get dialogue scenes and goofy flashbacks. (A good 20 percent of the picture dramatizes Janeen’s origin story.) So while the picture’s attitude is palatable, pitting the earnest Swamp Girl against various creeps and crooks, the texture of the movie is almost intolerably bland, notwithstanding scenes in which villains fall victim to ravenous reptiles.
Swamp Girl: LAME