Four friends take a trip to an abandoned ranch with dire consequences in the short found footage horror movie Camping Fun from director Thomas Burke and David Eimer.
After the release of the incredibly successful 1999 hit The Blair Witch Project, found footage movies have since been a bit hit-and-miss. There have been some further success stories like the Paranormal Activity series and REC, but then many others have fallen by the wayside due to being neither interesting nor well made. After all, it doesn’t take a lot in terms of a budget to create a found footage movie. What it does take to create a good found footage movie is skill and imagination.
Written by Thomas Burke and David Eimer, Camping Fun is a great effort of taking a tried-and-tested formula and molding it into a 12-minute short film. You may have seen similar before, but so much effort has gone into creating the short film, you can’t help but enjoy the ride.
Two couples, consisting of Lauren (Hailey Marmolejo), Tommy (Thomas Burke), Jamie (Bonnie Sturdivant), and David (David Eimer) decide to take a trip to an old ranch that used to belong to Lauren’s Uncle. There is a little exposition told through dialogue whilst on the road, apparently, there have been some missing children around their destination, and Tommy wants to document the trip, hence the reason for recording it all.
Barring some damp patches on the walls and ceiling, the ranch looks pretty much okay to stay in. The couples then embark on some drinking before an argument breaks out between Jamie and her slightly abusive boyfriend David. Soon David goes missing and the other three decide to go and look for him, though Lauren is starting to behave in an odd manner, wearing an old-style nightgown and talking almost drone-like.
When the short movie began, I was expecting some shaky camera footage, a cliched story with some ropey performances. I was pleasantly surprised to see that was not the case (except for the shaky camera). The performances from all four actors were rather excellent, especially those of Hailey Marmolejo and Bonnie Sturdivant. Not only were they all convincing, but that should a level of professionalism that is hard to find in short horror films. I believed that they were four friends on a road trip. I believed that they were all in danger.
Thomas Burke and David Eimer have done well with what little they had at their disposal. The story behind Jack Ranch could even be expanded upon. I’d certainly be interested in watching more, albeit other shorts, a feature, or a graphic novel. Let’s hope that Burke and Eimer haven’t quite finished with the spooky place just yet.