The Campground (2013) – By Kirsten Walsh

Snarky, snappy, and spooky, Roman Jossart’s feature directorial debut, “The Campground”, is a film that audiences have been asking for. A modern day take on old-school horror, the film centers around a group of post-teenagers hanging around a campground who begin to get picked off one by one. A seemingly cliché story idea, Jossart really rips the idea apart with unique kills, great visuals, and a fresh faced cast ready to die! Who knew a screwdriver could be SO deadly!

While the dialogue could have used some trimming, the constant motion of the camera and talented cast keep the film flow at a constant pace. The film score harkened back to Henry Mancini (“Friday the 13th”) with a modern flair, increasing the tension throughout the film. Composer Bobby Cole (“Don’t Go to the Reunion”) definitely shows his horror chops in “The Campground”. In a similar vein, there is no definitive compositional theme for the music, which is a strong commonality with classic horror films “Friday the 13th” and “Hatchet”. Director Jossart cites that he was inspired to create “The Campground” after watching Adam Green’s “Hatchet”, and several similarities can be drawn between the two films. On the musical scale, Jossart also brought in songs by Ohio based band- The Vains, which keeps the mood of the film to be easily approachable by modern day horror fans.

Most of the cast in the film are new to the film scene, and really show off their talents! Jossart himself carries the role of one of the leads, Brandon, and is one of the handful that attempt to fight the killer off. While the killer doesn’t have a strongly unique look (it wears a simple red mask and normal clothes), it does stand out in the film. Being a horror fan myself, I was impressed with several of the deaths, one of the best being a young girl who is stabbed through the throat with a screwdriver. More blood and more gore could definitely have been used, but the choice to be minimalistic harkens back to Hitchcock and his choice to leave more up to the imagination.

While it was hard to connect with some of the characters later in the film because the focus had been on a few that didn’t make it, the end was entertaining and definitely marks “The Campground” as a strong debut for Jossart. Jossart is currently signed on to produce “The Woods Within”, which is set to be released in the fall of 2014. We look forward to more chilling horror films from Jossart in the future!