From the opening shot of the 15-minute short film Murder Camp, one can tell director Clara Aranovich and writers Will Harris and Jeremy Radin have a love for old-school slashers. That horror comedy opens with a camper, Becky (Olivia Holguín), reading by flashlight as campers dressed in matching yellow and white shirts play a game. Behind them is a sign that says “Camp Creek River.” The shot begins as a push-in before becoming a pull-back tracking camera move, immediately sucking viewers into the action as Becky heads off alone.
It isn’t long before she reluctantly makes out with the muscular Johnny (Ian S. Peterson). However, they aren’t the focus for long as a killer approaches the cabin. Then another killer arrives. The two, who each have different masks and theme music, are friends named Greg (Jeremy Radin) and Kevin (Will Harris). They get into an argument as Kevin seems to be having a midlife crisis.
“…a killer approaches the cabin. Then another killer arrives…”
Murder Camp is visually in line with Friday the 13th but is tonally similar to Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon and Tucker & Dale vs. Evil. The script by Harris and Radin can be a little too wink-wink nudge-nudge at times, but it is mostly clever as it subverts expectations. The cast is having fun with the material, and the director nails the atmosphere of the setting.
Aranovich’s short could easily be the opening scene of a feature-length slasher comedy. It ends in a way that leaves the audience hooked as to where certain relationships are going to go next. If Harris and Radin wrote a 90-minute version of the fresh ideas found in Murder Camp, I’d be in the line to see it.
"…leaves the audience hooked..."