Reviews
Zombie Campout (2002) half brain
(USA)

You may have heard the joke about if you have one day to live, visit (insert place you hate), because every day there is a freakin' eternity. That statement applies just as much to watching Zombie Campout. After about 8 minutes in, I couldn't wait for it to be over, but I had 82 minutes to go. And they were long minutes. I've seen some bad zombie films, but I don't think I've ever actually wanted to curl up in the fetal position and put my hands over my ears. The dialog in this movie was so incredibly bad that I had to force myself to keep watching. I did it for you, zombie fans.

Just for an example, there are two couples on their way to a campsite, and they stop at a convenience store. They have a long, detailed conversation about what snacks they want to get from the store. It's like writer/director Joshua D. Smith was worried about the realism of the film, so he included all the mundane details that he could. Even when the conversation wasn't trivial, it could be amazingly inane. Later on, when there are a bunch of people trapped in a building surrounded by zombies, one hot babe says "I wonder if this is happening elsewhere?" And another hot babe says "If what is?"

To be fair to the actors, I think they would have come off a lot better if they had had better writing to work with, and if the editing hadn't left them with long pauses before they respond to someone else. Having said that, most of the acting would have been subpar no matter what. Some of the characters in throwaway scenes knew what kind of movie they were in, and just had fun with it. These scenes were actually a welcome relief from having to watch the main characters. The throwaways belonged in a tongue-in-cheek movie, though, poking fun at itself, and either the rest of the movie was playing it straight, and failing miserably, or it was all supposed to be tongue-in-cheek, and I just couldn't tell. Maybe Smith realized partway through that the straight film wasn't going to work, and he just started putting those other ideas in. If that what's happened, it did break up the badness of the film, but it couldn't save it.

The plot hardly matters. Young people go camping, and meet other young people. A meteor shower causes zombies to rise from their graves in a nearby cemetery, who then attack said young people. Lots of young people die.

Smith would do well to get a writer, or at least someone to go over his dialog with a heavy hand. His name is everywhere in the credits, so he's obviously very familiar with the technical side of things, but his storytelling skills need a lot of work.