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Film Review: Campfire Story

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★★★★☆

Kristian Kane and Lewis Carter’s low-rent horror send-up proves that student shorts deserve a lot more attention. 

It seems almost an ongoing joke within the film industry that students of the profession can do little more with their young, ‘edgy’ little brains than simply regurgitate Tarantino monologues or take really pretty/heavily filtered pictures of fire. 

Campire Story to its credit, actually goes to quite considerable lengths to bypass this, approaching the classic slasher horror formula with a knowing smirk. 

When a group of three friends reunite for a quiet evening by the campfire, they quickly find themselves wrapped up in the semantics of telling the perfect scary story, completely oblivious to the real life, and seemingly bloodthirsty, axe murderer currently wandering past. 

It’s a clever little flip that’s been done before, this much is true. The slasher genre seems to be very much ripe for the parodic picking, but here Carter’s on-point script adds just enough personality to make Campfire Story really stand out from the crowd. 

From jabs at the social justice warrior nanny state to hilarious little exercises in narrative progression, the film finds its self-aware tone insanely quickly, establishing a neat visual language that helps to really kick the jokes up a notch. 

This is obviously helped a long a great deal by the more than capable cast too: a well-established group with sparky chemistry and a real professional feel to their performances. 

In fact, between this, the sweeping drone shots and a pleasingly classy soundtrack, the technical quality here far outreaches what you would expect from an early short. There’s the occasional sound issue or wobbly frame, but it’s never really a hinderance to what is otherwise a very tightly formed film. 

Starting small has certainly payed off for Kane and Carter, allowing them to ring their charming little script for every ounce of creeping tension and sly humour possible 

It’s a bold and entertaining start for a group of people who could very easily slip into the next generation of great filmmaking talent. 

Campfire Story is available to watch on Vimeo below and is currently being considered for screening at a number of festivals. 

Campfire Story - A short horror Film from Fine Rolling Media on Vimeo.

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