13) Happy Camp
It just wouldn’t be a “Worst Of” horror list without a found footage movie to kick things off, but I wanted so much more from the Drew-Barrymore-produced thriller. Flower Films put forth their best genre effort by backing two indie horror films this year, and even though neither was that memorable, Happy Camp is definitely the not-lesser(?) of two evils. Trudging along from the safety of an RV, there’s a minimal amount of outdoorsy horror accompanied by plenty of the same subgenre shenanigans, but then the final monsters pop out and the laughing fits begin. Talk about a mood killer.
Happy Camp hides deep in the Klamath National Forest, where numerous children have vanished, and the story follows a man reliving the disappearance of his brother. Looking for clues, he attempts to solve the case once and for all, and of course he stumbles upon something vicious living in the woods. Unfortunately for viewers, the creature that attacks is a CGI eyesore that’s a brilliant bit of comic relief – but a horror villain it’s not.
Horror movies are starting to adapt technology in different ways, from FaceTime-recorded films to movies captured entirely on internet screens, but not all techo-horror movies are created equal. While I loved The Den, I was pretty lukewarm on Nacho Vigalondo’s Open Windows, and I really, REALLY did not like Cam2Cam. Joel Soisson’s film pokes fun at Chatroulette-esque programs, connecting people via video as a way of expressing their sexual desires and kinky secrets, but the horror kicks in when a murderer hacks said program and starts stalking some users.
It doesn’t take long for frustration to set in, as we quickly realize the murderer gets away with everything simply because the film takes place in Bangkok, and characters repeatedly reference how easily you can break the law. Seriously. That’s the main plot point. “How did that person die?” Bangkok. “Why is no one helping?” Bangkok. “Why is that naked woman running around a busy, neon-lit street holding a bloody hatchet?” Eh, it’s Bangkok bro! A shot of chicks with dicks? BANGKOK, BABY!
Oh yeah – there also wasn’t a single second of horror found throughout the entire chase/case/mystery/whatever you want to call it. Watch The Den if you want some real video-chat-horror.