Thursday, March 3, 2016

The Overlook Theatre Reviews: Drew Barrymore's, Happy Camp

of 9 viewers "Liked" "Happy Camp" (USA, 2014)
Here's what the creatures had to say:

Lord Battle - "Engaging and frustrating for the found footage enthusiast and for those that detest the horror sub-genre, just a waste of time. Happy Camp shines when telling its simple story as the technical aspects are both sound in execution and completely void of the tropes that have made the genre a laughing stock. That is until the last half of the third act where everything the film had been doing right is reversed in a montage of bad choices. The thick atmosphere just doesn't make up for the disappointing ending but having screened it twice for 2 different audiences I still manage to find enjoyment in viewing this film." - 3 1/2 Stars

Math Mage - Spoilers - "Irritating people in an RV wander through legitimately spooky small town scenes then get killed by disappointing but hilarious monster." - 2 Stars

Speed Demon - Spoilers - "I'm always skeptical about found footage films. Is this gonna be a hit or a miss? Definitely a miss for me. Interesting in the beginning and then it gets boring and bland as the film progresses. The coolest things about this film were the interviews with the local residents that live in Happy Camp. The wackest thing about this film was the horrible CGed Bigfoot Sasquatch that appears ten to fifteen minutes before the end. Totally unnecessary." - 2 Stars

Huntress - "Happy Camp was so great the first time I saw it; even though the elements of the movie were not new- a group of friends going on an RV road trip and filming it for a movie- something about the way they're used does not feel like another regurgitation of tired found footage tactics. During the second viewing the movie felt much shorter and kind of like a countdown because I knew what was coming. If only the film makers had faith in the eerie small town and candid interviews, they wouldn't have turned the movie into a waste at the end." - 2.5 Stars

KillDozer - "Sometimes a film ends so badly that you almost think a joke is being played on you. After some really fun Found Footage interviews with locals, and interesting character development or "Red Harrings" we wind up going nowhere. I will admit to not being a fan of the found footage genre and films like this are the reason why. I will give credit where credit is due and say that I enjoyed the guessing game early on but after awhile you realize that these people are lame and you can't wait to see them die (in the film that is). If you would like to play a joke on your friends by all means screen this for them and watch as they fall into the trap that is Happy Camp." - 2 Stars (Good for a laugh)

Dabbles - "Honestly, not so happy about Happy Camp but it did suck me in before spitting me out." - 3 Stars

Johnny Ocelot - "So promising... But like an elusive creature it escapes into the forest and for once no one is interested." - 2 Stars

The Great Hornito - "I was so scared that I was dreading going to bed after the film, but after that ending I'm pissed!" - 1 Star

Ice Giant - Spoilers - "I didn't even like the start like the other viewers and to sit through all that and have jokingly bad CGI as the payoff dropped it from a 3 to a 1." - 1 Star

Unicorn Slayer - Spoilers - "Two and a half stars are generous but only for everything leading up to the last 5-10 minutes. This film had so much going for it, you can see the direction they had possibly intended, it gets you worked up and ready to be terrified only to be let down. This film can still be salvaged by re-cutting and removing all CGI." - 2.5 Stars

The Impostor - Spoilers - "Promising found footage horror that takes a turn for the worst. In the beginning I genuinely liked this film, unfortunately all the good things Happy Camp does are instantly erased by the most terrible, poorly executed ending in film history. Happy Camp sets up an interesting story-line and had me on the edge of my seat waiting to see how this would play out. Overall, I will say this is the most disappointing found footage film I've seen to date. If you are looking for Bigfoot found footage horror done right, check out Willow Creek." - 2 Stars

Book Wyrm - Walked Out - Default 2 Stars

The Overlook Theatre Final Rating*
(Below is for after you've seen the film)

Happy Camp is a strange little found footage film. It operates in the lore of Bigfoot, taking place in Happy Camp, a town that neighbors Willow Creek, home of the famous Patterson/Gimlin Tapes that created the lore. The problem with Happy Camp is that very Bigfoot lore; everything in the film that hints to it is terrible. The cringe worthy footprint, the awful child sketches, and especially the laugh-out-loud reveal. 
The sad part is Happy Camp actually builds some good tension. During our first screening of the film The Great Hornito was actually freaking out so bad, he was preparing not to sleep that night! Now keep in mind the actual Overlook Theatre might not be much but we are equipped with a 7.2 surround sound unit and a room without windows, two things that are very important for consuming found footage. 
After the reveal, The Great Hornito’s investment in the film turned to disgust as he became the #1 hater of Happy Camp. I’m sure most people felt incredibly disappointed, just not on his level. Seriously though if the film reveal had been a cult, that our main character was just crazy, that there was simply nothing explained, or that panther on top of the building, the film would have closed much stronger.

I’ve included a video of actual Happy Camp residents being interviewed about the film Happy Camp and how it portrayed their town.

I’ve now screened this film 2 times for decent sized audiences and no matter how much people loved or hated the film, they all united together at the CG bigfoot attack, in what might be the most pure audience outburst ever! And once everyone found out that Drew Barrymoore was a producer, everyone blamed her. It was like after the credits rolled there was audio of her saying “It needs a Bigfoot at the end” and then decided “the more the merrier.” 
If you're among the few found footage adventures who enjoy Happy Camp please reach out the the Overlook, I’d love to chat about this found footage.

- Lord Battle

*Based on the star ratings turned in by character reviewers, others viewed and got to "Dislike" or "Like" but that does not effect the rating.

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