The Island of Lost Girls * A Must-See Family Thriller With A Captivating Storyline, Outstanding Performances And Breathtaking Cinematography

Three young girls try to stick together as they get trapped in a sea cave filled with crashing waves, hundreds of sea lions, and giant elephant seals.

KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Hanadie K. comments, “I love The Island of Lost Girls! Its captivating storyline, outstanding performances by young actresses who fearlessly handle their own stunts and breathtaking cinematography on a remote island make it a must-see family thriller that kept me on the edge of my seat.” Selene W. adds, “The Island of Lost Girls is a strange juxtaposition of a childhood “Mission Impossible” combined with “Survivor.”   As a viewer I felt a bit lost in this film. The storyline follows three orphaned girls who seek adventure together on the beach in California.”  Gavin S. wraps it up with, “The Island Of Lost Girls is an action-packed film that is a roller coaster of emotions and lots of plot twists. I really enjoyed this film because of the lessons you learn, and the adventures you take. The storyline is filled with exciting moments that make the whole experience even better.” See their full reviews below.


The Island of Lost Girls 
By Hanadie K., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12

I love The Island of Lost Girls! Its captivating storyline, outstanding performances by young actresses who fearlessly handle their own stunts and breathtaking cinematography on a remote island make it a must-see family thriller that kept me on the edge of my seat.

The storyline follows three young sisters who accidentally become stranded on a remote island, battling nature’s dangers and wildlife as they strive to stay together and survive a thrilling, unplanned adventure.

I like the originality of the storyline, which engaged me throughout. The girls’ resilience in the face of challenges adds depth to the narrative. The only drawback is that the film runs a bit long which makes it difficult to maintain its intensity.  The cinematography completely immerses the audience in a captivating world with breathtaking shots that showcase the remote island’s wild beauty and close-ups that intensify emotional moments, such as the sisters’ struggles. The camera effectively captures encounters with wildlife, like sea lions and elephant seals, which adds to the film’s tension. Dynamic camera angles within the sea cave enhance the sense of adventure and danger.  The costumes suit the storyline perfectly – given the girls being stranded on a remote island, they primarily wear wet bathing suits throughout the film. The remote island off the coast of Baja, California, serves as a breathtaking and immersive setting with its rugged coastline, sea caves and natural wildlife, such as sea lions and elephant seals; it creates a sense of realism that enhances the adventure and peril of the girls’ journey. One standout location is the sea cave, which becomes the story’s central element of tension and wonder. The dark, labyrinthine passages of the cave, illuminated by natural light, add a sense of mystery and danger.  The background music, featured music, and sound effects enhance the film’s storytelling. Notably, the music intensifies during critical moments, such as when the girls face danger or navigate treacherous waters, effectively building tension. The natural sounds of the sea, waves and wildlife make the audience feel intimately connected to the characters and their struggle for survival. The central characters are portrayed by real-life sisters Autumn Schmidt, Avila Schmidt and Scarlet Schmidt. The sisters are carefree and adventurous at the start, embarking on a fun day at the beach. However, their characters transform significantly as the story unfolds, and they become stranded on the remote island. They evolve from carefree individuals into determined and resourceful young girls who have to rely on one another to survive. Each sister faces personal challenges and fears, and their growth is evident in their ability to confront and conquer these obstacles. This film benefits significantly from the collaborative efforts of the filmmaker family, with parents Ann-Marie Schmidt and Brian Schmidt directing and co-writing the film alongside their daughter Avila Schmidt. Their combined talents result in a cohesive and emotionally engaging narrative, and excellent performances by their daughters, Autumn, Avila, and Scarlet.  My favorite part is when the girls dare to escape from their house to sneak to the beach. This scene captures their adventurous spirit and sets the tone for the entire film. It’s a moment filled with excitement and anticipation as the sisters embark on what they believe will be a carefree day of fun. The scene effectively establishes their characters and close bond, making it a memorable and engaging start to their remarkable journey.

The film’s message is about the strength of family bonds and the ability to adapt and grow in the face of adversity. It highlights the power of unity and determination and the importance of facing challenges together. It conveys that, even in the most challenging situations, the support and love of family can help individuals overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles. Note that the film does show kids doing risky things that kids might imitate. The girls perform dangerous stunts and engage in water activities that require caution and expertise. 

I give The Island of Lost Girls 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18, plus adults. It is available on VOD and DVD October 3, 2023. So look for it! 

The Island of Lost Girls 
By Selene W., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15

The Island of Lost Girls is a strange juxtaposition of a childhood “Mission Impossible” combined with “Survivor.”   As a viewer I felt a bit lost in this film.  

The storyline follows three orphaned girls who seek adventure together on the beach in California. The story begins with an adoption interview with the oldest daughter Avila (Avila Marie Schmidt) which turns out to be unsuccessful when the couple realizes that Avila has two younger sisters and they are not ready for that kind of commitment.  The middle sister, Autumn (Autumn Fiore Schmidt), declares it’s going to be “a grand adventure, I promise” and her words are truer than anyone could predict.  As the girls sneak out together to overcome their disappointment about the failed adoption, they encounter wildlife and dangerous situations after they are caught in a rip current and pulled away from shore.  Luckily, they overcome these situations and learn to survive together on a remote island.

The cinematography, under the direction of Heatha McGrath, is outstanding and really highlights the beauty of the island and wildlife.  I really love all the interesting camera angles and wildlife footage – the location is incredible.  The camera work is outstanding. I like how they included all the childhood flashback scenes.  I should mention that the film is truly a labor of love by the entire Schmidt family. The parents, Ann-Marie Schmidt and Brian Schmidt direct and co-write the film and the girls are all played by their three children, Avila, Autumn and Scarlet. The music by Cali Wang drives the emotions in the film and the three girls contribute musically as well.  You cannot find three more independent, fearless and adorable girls who I easily fell in love with.  Their interaction is genuine and makes you want to be part of their family, especially the youngest, precocious Scarlet. The girls’ adventures include unbelievable and dangerous scenes against the ocean waves and currents combined with local wildlife such as sea lions. Scarlet interacts closely with elephant seals which are dangerous and fighting.  Avila and Autumn scale cliffs and maneuver through dangerous caves and Autumn falls from dangerous heights in more than one scene which makes their adventure seem more like a dangerous mission.  In spite of all that, the girls learn to survive on this island and to scavenge resources and food from wildlife and what is available to them.  

The film’s message is that love is unconditional and demonstrates how you can be independent and take risks while supporting one another in the spirit of love.  Most of the film shows and even glorifies dangerous behavior for young children such as the girls performing dangerous stunts and water activities. There is very little adult supervision shown, which makes it doubly dangerous.

I rate The Island of Lost Girls, 3 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18.  It is available on VOD October 3, 2023.  


The Island Of Lost Girls

By Gavin S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11

The Island Of Lost Girls is an action-packed film that is a roller coaster of emotions and lots of plot twists. I really enjoyed this film because of the lessons you learn, and the adventures you take. The storyline is filled with exciting moments that make the whole experience even better.

The storyline follows three orphan sisters, Avila (Avila Schmidt) Autumn (Autumn Fiore) and Scarlet (Scarlet Schmidt) – these three sisters are waiting to be adopted. After being rejected Avila feels bummed, and to cheer her up Autumn helps them sneak out to the beach. They are having so much fun until something horrible happens that causes them to go on an unexpected journey.

This action-filled film is full of risk-taking moments. The action is phenomenal, and the girls show that, even though they are young, they can still act. I also really enjoyed the plot twists, and this film is filled with them. Just when I thought things couldn’t get worse, they got much worse. For example, when Autumn is hanging off the edge of the cliff, I thought it would be another cliché moment where she gets saved, but she doesn’t. Another thing I enjoyed is the storyline. I like how it is so unpredictable. Apart from all these positives I did notice that in some scenes that it appears the sea lions are added in post-production. Although it isn’t very noticeable it is something that bugged me. Also, in multiple different scenes they seem to use the exact same clip of the sea lions. It certainly appears that way. Another thing that bothered me is that when the girls first get stranded in the ocean Avila’s hair switches from dry to wet from one scene to the next, without showing why or how. This is a bit of a spoiler but, I don’t like the ending where the girls end up not being saved, but instead they learn to survive.

This film has many messages, but the most interesting and true-to-life is that, with the support of a family member you can do anything. As a warning to anyone wanting to watch this film it does contain some gore.


I give The Island Of Lost Girls 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 through 12. It releases on VOD on October 3, 2023.

The Island of Lost Girls
By Nathalia J. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 15

The Island Of Lost Girls is a must- see family thriller with a captivating storyline, outstanding performances and breathtaking cinematography.  I was engaged from start to finish.

The storyline follows three young girls who try to stick together as they get trapped in a sea cave filled with crashing waves, hundreds of sea lions and giant elephant seals. It presents an intriguing premise that explores themes of resilience, friendship and the power of the human spirit.

Set against the backdrop of a remote and mysterious island, the story unfolds with suspenseful twists and turns, which kept me at the edge of my seat continuously. With its vivid descriptions, well-developed characters and a narrative that seamlessly combines elements of doubt, drama, and personal growth, The Island of Lost Girls offers such excitement. As the girls strive to find a getaway, they stumble upon a remarkable sight, a massive elephant. This unexpected encounter introduces a sense of awe and mystery to the story. It remains to be seen how the girls will interact with this colossal creature and whether it will play a central role in their quest to leave the cave. Throughout their journey, these girls must rely on their resourcefulness, bravery, and ability to collaborate to survive and ultimately find their way back to safety. The film explores themes of friendships, perseverance and the invulnerable nature of the human spirit when faced with adversity. This film is a remarkable production by a family. The girls are portrayed by real-life sisters Autumn Schmidt, Avila Schmidt and Scarlet Schmidt. The film is directed by their parents, Ann-Marie Schmidt and Brian Schmidt; Brian also co-writes the film with their daughter, Avila Schmidt. The film’s cinematography truly catches graceful scenes that highlight the natural beauty of the island and close-ups that show emotional reactions when the sisters face all the challenges thrown at them.

The film’s message is about empowerment and independence. As the girls find themselves isolated on an island, it showcases their resilience and ability to thrive despite as castaways. I also feel like the girls experience self-discovery as they process their true self and values when they face obstacles and have to confront their fears. I do want to point out that the girls and shown doing quite risky things in and around the water that kids should not imitate.

I give The Island of Lost Girls 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18, plus adults. It is available on VOD and DVD October 3, 2023. Check it out!

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