In the summer of 2020, two couples decide to go on a COVID-era camping trip after months of being in lockdown. The freedom of nature and the company of their best friends offer the group a rare sense of normality, but though secluded, they’re not alone. Nearby, during a botched drop-off, two goons decide to go rogue; inadvertently, implicating the campers. What started as a fun-filled vacation quickly turns into a test of loyalty and survival. Suddenly the pandemic is the least of their worries.
Camping Trip stars the talents of Leo Zola (Leonardo Fuica), Caitlin Cameron, Hannah Forest Briand and Alex Gravenstein. The film is directed by both Leonardo and Demian Fuica, who both make their English language feature-length directorial debuts. Commenting on the release, Co-Director and star of Camping Trip, Leonardo Fuica said:
“I’m delighted that our film will be having a multi-territory release after a great festival run. I think people vividly remember what it was like during that first wave of covid and how it changed us all.”
I’m not going to mince words here; Camping Trip is slow to start and takes a long while to find its footing as a film. The opening scenes are somewhat awkward and the acting felt forced and a little cringy. The protagonists do not initially have that on-screen chemistry that one hopes for and the film definitely struggles through its first act.
This does not, however, mean that you should not give the film a chance. Why? Because the film improves with each passing minute which eventually culminates into a heart-stopping finale that is probably one of the best shot single scenes I have had the pleasure of watching in a long while. The conclusion is really epic and very, very well done—and probably utilized most of the film’s budget as it has awesome practical effects as well.
I will say that while the acting for me was often hit or miss, the cinematography was absolutely gorgeous and on point. The scenic nature shots and the beauty of the outdoors were really captured very well in the film, often accompanied by a beautiful score to boot. While obviously a slasher horror in essence, you can tell that the film doesn’t shy away from being preachy about nature and how we’re taking all of the good things in the world for granted; living for the paycheck, working for the man and letting the planet die for the sake of greed. It’s all in there, subtle at times and obvious at others. It’s a hard sentiment to argue against.
Here is an excerpt from the director’s statement regarding exactly this:
This virus highlights all of the negative vices in our society – the vast inequalities, as well as all of the damage and destruction we are causing to our planet. We are over-consuming, over-feeding, over-exploiting, and over-polluting. For a brief moment during the COVID-19 lockdown, we all slowed down and realized the extent of the damage our usual bad habits cause – just like how greed is depicted in this movie. I think this pandemic is a warning to encourage us to wake up and change our habits because there will be big consequences if we don’t.
In all honesty, I’m in two minds regarding Camping Trip. There were some great scenes and the storytelling overall was well done, and the final act is some of the best “horror” I’ve seen all year. It’s not as predictable as one initially presumes it is going to be and most of the boxes are checked in regards to the technical aspects of the film. It just runs a little too long for me and could probably have used one more cut at the editor’s table. The payoff is great and your patience is definitely rewarded, but I don’t think that “getting to the good parts” should be a thing as the journey should be as memorable as the destination.
Overall, I’d say that I enjoyed the film but exclusively the latter half. As a directorial debut, its nothing to scoff at and I’d like to see where the Fuica brothers go from here. Thanks for reading and as always, stay sordid. Trailer and artwork below. Camping Trip will be available from multiple platforms for digital download from August 16th.
Site founder. Horror enthusiast. Metalhead.