Camp Massacre (Review)

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CAMP MASSACRE

THE SETUP

“Camp Massacre” or “Fat Chance”, as it was previously known, is a brand new horror/comedy that’s Co-directed by Jim O’Rear and Daniel Emery Taylor. It’s available through online platforms like Solar, Vimeo and ITunes. Camp Massacre, is about a group of 10 obese men, who appear on a reality TV show aimed at weight loss. The show is hosted by Warren Gilley (O’Rear), and takes place at a campground in the middle of the woods. Shortly after the game begins contestants start winding up dead, Who is responsible? And who will be left to claim the prize?. The film was shot for an estimated $10,000, and it stars Jim O’Rear, Daniel Emery Taylor, Nicholas Huntsman, Megan Hunt and Al Snow. I’ve got to make a conscious decision to lessen the amount of films I review, simply for the fact that I have so many still to watch. I couldn’t resist the urge to write one for Camp Massacre because it really does stand out (haha). Question is does it stand out for the right reasons or the wrong ones??

THE GOOD

$10,000 isn’t a great deal of money to make a full length feature with, so you have to keep that in mind when watching this one. The film opens with a cool little cameo from Ex, (I think??) porn star Bree Olson, and she actually does a pretty good job. Although I suppose with her “acting” experience, we shouldn’t be surprised (haha). No, in all seriousness not only does she look gorgeous, she seems very genuine and delivers her dialogue pretty well. Fans of Bree’s will be happy to know that she does get naked for a brief period, so keep your eyes peeled early on. I will get to discussing the relevance of her scenes a little later on. Moving along, the camera work and shot choices are solid and the framing looks good too. Much to my surprise, the soundtrack was pretty cool and the theme song in the beginning was a nice touch.

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The movie does have its comedic moments, but sadly they are few and far between. The slasher element doesn’t deliver either, so therefore the comedy needed to be the standout. A lot of the jokes are your typical fat jokes. I suppose it’s good that these overweight guys are able to laugh at themselves, so when the audience finds it funny they don’t get offended. I’m one of those people who don’t mind a few low brow jokes from time to time, but at a point I almost feel sorry for these people and I don’t really want to laugh at them. I know it’s just a film meant for entertainment, but obesity is a serious issue and I can’t get behind joking like that at their expense. Jeremy (played by Nicholas Huntsman) and Stefani (Megan Hunt), were the only two vaguely interesting characters, that actually developed throughout this film. The acting from both of them was a little better than the rest of the cast, so that was something. Everybody else just seems to be making up the numbers, I couldn’t remember half of their names.

THE BAD

If you read most of my reviews, I’m not one to kick people when their down. I try my best to be constructive when criticizing a film, and you should be respectful towards someone who has put time and money to try to entertain us. I think the respect needs to go both ways though, and unfortunately Camp Massacre has no respect for the viewer. Now, I recently spoke with Daniel and he said the design and marketing campaign is all down to the distributor. So as I get stuck into the promotion for CM, keep that in mind. Sometimes these issues are the trade-off for getting distribution instead of independently releasing something. If the distribution company weren’t all about the dollars, we wouldn’t have Bree Olson on the front cover, who only appears in the film for five minutes. Not to mention the gorgeous girl on the right hand side holding the chainsaw, who I’m pretty sure isn’t even a character in the movie, Come on guys, Are you serious??. I know you want to be serious about marketing the film and trying to make a buck, but that’s just a blatant misrepresentation of a film two guys probably put a lot of work into. All you’re going to do is piss off your audience with tactics like that. I’d be incredibly pissed off if Bree Olson was the reason I went out and bought this film, fortunately I didn’t. She appears at the start, in what would have to be one of the most pointless and irrelevant scenes in any film I’ve seen in a long time. It’s not part of the fat camp, nor does it take place at the campground, none of the characters in the beginning are ever seen or mentioned in the film again, very poor. The only part they marketed correctly, was including Al Snow on the front cover, he’s at least in the film for 20 minutes or so.

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There are some technical issues as well. Audio levels are inconsistent between scenes shot outdoors, to stuff then inside the cabins. The set design is incredibly simplistic, and the location doesn’t even seem remotely like a camp. In fact, that’s another misleading detail, the show is supposed to be for reality TV, yet it isn’t called Camp Massacre, So how is it a camp at all?. The editing is sloppy throughout and there’s a handful of pretty poor continuity issues to boot. The acting from majority of the cast probably supposed to be cheesy. However, there’s good cheesy and then there’s bad, and this falls into the latter. The “drill” Sargent was embarrassingly bad. Giving his over the top, not even slightly intimidating, rendition of R Lee Ermey’s, Sgt Hartman from “Full Metal Jacket”. Like I said, most of the dialogue consists of constant fat jokes, and the serious stuff feels quite scripted, and in turn is performed that way.

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The last and most important issues with Camp Massacre, are the incredibly lame action sequences and detail of the kills, along with the film’s running time. One positive thing, is that the body count is pretty high. Sadly the kills and choreography are generic and shoddy. The machete looks like a plastic toy you’d buy from a pawn shop, and no one even attempts to use any creativity, in finding a cool way to kill off any of the characters. I’ve watched great low-budget slasher flicks deliver on the blood and gore, proving it can be done with a small amount of money. Making matters worse, is the thin motive behind why the killer is doing what he’s doing, they don’t ever allude to a reasoning earlier on in the film, so it falls flat. Now for the most important part of the review. Who on earth thought this screenplay warranted a 128 minute running time?!, yes you heard me correctly 128 minutes, that’s 2 hours and 8 minutes for a horror/comedy film! I don’t care who you are, or how solid your story is, this genre of film shouldn’t be longer than 100 minutes. Combine its slow nature, with a complete lack of character development and uneventful kills and this is what you end up with. I am gobsmacked at how long this film runs, to make it a half way watchable movie, it should have been cut down to 80 minutes.

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I love a good Horror/comedy, but Camp Massacre throws everything out the window when it comes to basic principles of the genre. It doesn’t excel in either department, its slow burn nature, along with the excruciatingly painful running time, kill any enjoyment one might have been able to get from a viewing. I wanted to turn this thing off just over 60 minutes in, but I had to see the running time to believe it. Yes it’s true, it really does go on and on and on and on. Aside from a few jokes, Olson’s cameo, which should have been written as a main character, and the competent camera work, this film offers nothing and I mean nothing. Sorry to say it, but It’s 128 minutes that you will never get back (I’m still thinking about those minutes). The harsh truth is that the editor, or whoever was in charge of final cut should have taken a much more in depth look at this film before ever releasing it, and undoing anything the directors might have intended.

My rating for “Camp Massacre” is 3/10

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