Film Review: “Camp Wedding” Needs More Camp

Film poster: “Camp Wedding”

Camp Wedding (Greg Emetaz, 2019) 2 out of 4 stars.

There seem to be two types of horror spoofs/parodies: comedies with horror elements (think the Scary Movie franchise) and horror films with comedic elements (the Scream franchise). Then, there are those outliers that seem to evenly mix horror and comedic elements perfectly together, like Zombieland and Shaun of the Dead. As an avid horror genre fan, I tend to enjoy most horror parodies regardless of the type, even the outrageous comedies most critics despise, such as the very first Scary Movie film (although I don’t enjoy its sequels). Thus, I was looking forward to viewing Camp Wedding.

Camp Wedding is directed by Greg Emetaz (Spell Claire) and stars Kelley Gates as bride-to-be Mia. At the start of the film, Mia and her bridesmaids drive to a camp that Mia found on Airbnb to host her wedding. On the way, they pass many signs depicting gruesome events that happened at the camp and a stern warning posted on a sign: ELECTRONIC DEVICES WILL NOT BE TOLERATED. This is quite humorous, as texting seems to make up about 50% of the film’s content. I have never viewed a film containing so many text-message pop-ups on the screen. There were so many at one point that I couldn’t read them all.  Anyways, as Mia and her bridesmaids set up for the big wedding, her bridesmaids start to disappear. Is there a killer on the loose or is something else going on here?

Kelley Gates as Mia, getting bad news via e-mail in CAMP WEDDING ©Gravitas Ventures

The first aspect of this film that caught my attention was the cinematography, and not in a pleasant way. There were many shots that were simply out of focus or blurry. The lighting choices were strange, with many glares on both faces and metal objects during the daytime, and a lack of sufficient lighting on the characters at night. The color temperature even changed drastically in the middle of a few scenes that were supposed to take place at the same time. There were a few continuity errors I picked up on as well, such as a bright porch light disappearing from one shot to the next. I have no idea if any of these choices were intentional, but if they were, I couldn’t see why, as they all were very distracting.

Technical issues aside, the film felt very random. There was little to the story for most of the runtime; it seemed to be characters just walking around the camp doing arbitrary things. There is almost no backstory to Mia, and no backstory to any of the other characters. The entire film seemed to practically be a  97-minute game of musical chairs, with characters wandering from location to location but always ending up back together. There’s an interesting reveal at the end, but one that doesn’t make much sense and is executed sloppily. There were a few moments in the film that made me chuckle, but most of the film had me rolling my eyes, baffled at what each character was doing and why.

The lake at Camp Pocumtuck in CAMP WEDDING ©Gravitas Ventures

Overall, Camp Wedding was disappointing. The press materials for this film included several warnings that the film is very “campy,” but I honestly wish it were a bit campier and that they took the outrageous route like the Scary Movie films; at least then it could have produced more laughs. But instead, the whole film just felt awkward, like you wanted to laugh at what was happening in a scene but the way it played out just wasn’t funny. The film seemed to have an overall theme/message about modern overuse of social media, but it only seemed to strike home within the last five minutes. That message is a good one, so I wish that it were more prevalent throughout the rest of the film and not used for cringeworthy gags as much. Unlike most horror spoofs I’ve seen, this doesn’t seem to fit into any category. The film isn’t scary by any means, so it’s not a horror film, and the film simply isn’t funny enough to be a comedy. So, if it’s not a horror film or a comedy, what is it? My best attempt to categorize it would be a mystery, but kind of like a mystery you’d see on a Halloween special of a sitcom that simply isn’t as funny as the show’s other episodes. In fact, I think the whole premise would have been much better for a 30-minute TV-show episode.

Camp Wedding is currently available for purchase on iTunes.

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