With its simple but intriguing title I was expecting this short, written and created by Zlatina Pacheva, to feature a group of young adults in tents being terrorized by someone or something. I’m very glad that CAMPING TRIP is not that type of movie at all.
Instead we get a young couple in a camper van, who have decided they need some time alone (still in a forest). But like almost everything nowadays, things are interrupted by mobile phones and social media!
Despite obvious similarities with many horror movies, this doesn’t actually feel too much like something you will have seen thousands of times before. The story is simple but it does peak its viewers interest when it changes things up for the last couple of minutes, leaving you wondering (briefly) exactly what is happening. But things are explained pretty quickly with an ending that wraps everything up nicely while still leaving you wanting more and creating a climax which leaves it open for a sequel. Or in a way that a full movie could be made from this small idea.
For me, the most interesting aspect of CAMPING TRIP is the camera work. Fleeting between voyeuristic-style movement to extreme close-ups of simple things like washing hands to a much more traditional set-up. And it all works well. Everything has meaning and seems to achieve exactly what the director sets out to do.
I also liked how technology and social media are used here. It’s very important to the story, so I was happy to see that things were kept simple for the viewer. With phone messages shown on the screen in an easy to understand way. It sounds like something that shouldn’t be essential to the short but done wrong and this could have been a huge downside.
The two lead actors show some decent chemistry and become a believable couple. The biggest compliment I can give them and the film-makers is that after five minutes I very much felt like I knew the characters and I was fully engrossed in where the story was going. And it doesn’t go in the most predictable way BUT without just throwing in some huge twist for no reason. It all makes sense.
Short horror movies are definitely not the low budget-looking, amateurish acting, shaky camera films that they might have been in the past. Or indeed, what some people expect them to be like now. CAMPING TRIP is further proof that horror shorts can look fantastic, have good acting performances and give fresh and original ideas to the genre. I’ll be looking out for what everyone involved here will be involved with next.