Director: Josh Anthony
MPAA Rating: NR
Film Pulse Score: 1.5/10
With a title like Happy Camp, one might think this is a silly family comedy, or maybe it’s an ironic ‘80s slasher about a summer camp filled with blood and carnage. In actuality, Happy Camp is a poorly thrown together found footage horror film about Big Foot. Through its thoroughly unlikable and annoying characters, bad dialogue, and boring narrative, Happy Camp achieves nothing other than providing yet another retread of The Blair Witch Project.
Like most found footage horror movies, the film revolves around a group of twenty-somethings heading to the mountains to document a town called Happy Camp, where tens of people have been turning up missing for years. After a few days of arguing and generally being obnoxious, the group uncovers what could be the find of the century- the existence of Big Foot. Of course they may not live to tell the world about it.
The film drags on for a solid hour before anything at all takes place. There are several false pieces of suspense where the friends argue with each other over the most asinine things, blowing everything way out of proportion. These overly dramatic scenes last entirely too long and produce some laughable pieces of horribly delivered dialogue.
This bad dialogue plagues the film from the beginning however, and none of the actors feel natural or real. One of the opening scenes involves one of the main characters waking from a nightmare only to burst into tears. His girlfriend consoles him and the next scene begins. In this scene the gang is in the RV on their way to Happy Camp and the guy begins crying again. His girlfriend consoles him and then states, “I’ve never seen you cry before.” If I’ve seen this dude cry then obviously you have too. Last night. That instance is a nit pick for sure, but it’s just an example of how shoddily thrown together this movie feels.
The found footage mechanic in the film doesn’t work either. From fixed cameras that seem to appear out of nowhere, to audio that seems to be perfect despite the crew not wearing mics and being far away from the cameras, there’s logic holes everywhere. Couple this with the poor performances and the illusion of a documentary goes right out the window.
When the big finale does finally happen, it’s mediocre to say the least. I’ll spare any specifics for those foolish enough to want to seek this out, but there’s a significant amount of terrible CG at work. Things don’t ramp up until the very last few minutes, and when they do, it’s extremely underwhelming. By that time, I hated all the characters so much I wanted to see them all be dispatched in clever and violent ways, however I was left disappointed.
Happy Camp is just another in a long line of forgettable, boring, sub par, found footage horror movies. There’s zero creativity involved here and none of it is even the slightest bit scary. It brings nothing to the table and culminates in a drab, idiotic ending that seems fitting of this type of movie.