Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Nuptial Horror: Camp Wedding

How does the prospect of spending a weekend with Bridezilla and a pack of serial hash-taggers sound? Do the words “kill me now” come to mind? Unfortunately, that is the whole idea. A destination wedding runs completely off the rails in Greg Emetaz’s Camp Wedding, which releases today on VOD, its natural home.

Camp Pocumtuck is like Camp Crystal Lake on bad karma steroids. It is built over a Native burial ground, near the site of historic witch burning. When it was last functioning as a proper summer camp, a little girl died because of the counselor’s abuse and negligence. However, it was available cheap, so Mia booked it for her destination wedding.

Her idea was to have a camp-themed wedding, with activities and a talent show. It all sounds truly awful, but it probably isn’t happening, because some strange unseen force starts luring members of the wedding party out into the dark. Once they are disposed of, the mystery grudge-holding power will post grotesque selfies of them on the social media feed for Mia’s wedding. If Mia, her groom Dalvero, and their friends could work together, they might have a prayer of surviving. Alas, that is highly unlikely, especially after Mia lets it slip that she only invited her old childhood chum Eileen by mistake.

Camp Wedding is funnier than most alleged horror comedies, but its skewering of the hyper-online Twitter generation is often a little too on-target. For the most part, these characters are unremittingly shallow and abrasive, but at least this way we really won’t mind when they wind up hanging from a tree.

Of course, the more outrageous their behavior, the better the scattergun humor works. Morgan McGuire and Adam Santos-Coy score a lot of laughs as Paulette, the groom’s misanthropic platonic bestie and Trask, a horndog groomsman. Frankly, David Pegram is a bit too normal as Dalvero and Kelly Gates is too realistically annoying as Mia. However, Wendy Jung upstages everyone and even manages to eke out some character development as the socially awkward but surprisingly resourceful Eileen.

There is definitely a ceiling on Camp Wedding’s commercial appeal, but it is tailor-made for the digital VOD market, after having enjoyed a credible run on the horror festival circuit. It lacks the in-your-face gore and subversiveness of the upcoming Ready or Not (apparently, this is a golden age for wedding horror movies), but if you think you will find it amusing, chances are your expectations will be satisfied. Recommended for genre fans who enjoy caustic attitudes as much as bloody mayhem, Camp Wedding releases today (8/20), on VOD platforms.