Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Campfire Tales (1997)

Campfire Tales is, as you might expect, a horror anthology movie based around some pretty well-known urban legends that are given a fun twist. While it's not all that scary, the tense moments somehow lack any real tension, it's certainly fun while it's on and benefits from a decent wraparound that ends things nicely.

Jay R. Ferguson, Christine Taylor, Christopher Masterson and Kim Murphy play people who have to kill some time after their car goes off the road. They set up some flares and then move into the woods to build a campfire and scare each other with some urban legends. As the movie opens we get a version of "The Hook" but then the car passengers go off road and settle down to tell the three main tales: "The Honeymoon", one that I won't name because the title gives away the punchline and "The Locket".

The direction by Matt Cooper, Martin Kunert and David Semel is okay. There's nothing too flashy here and nothing too terrible but the movie does feel a bit slow in places, despite coming in at just under the 90 minute mark. The script, by Cooper and Kunert and Eric Manes, doesn't really sizzle either, which is a shame because if the material had been handled better then the overall outcome would have been a significant improvement. The middle of the three tales is so badly fumbled that it's robbed of any tension it should have but the strength of the punchline is too good to be completely undone by the poor execution.

The cast assembled is a big plus. As well as those mentioned, there are small roles for James Marsden and Amy Smart. Ron Livingston (who appears in "The Honeymoon") will also be familiar to viewers while even those who aren't so well known acquit themselves reasonably well.

It's not a bad little movie but there are better urban legends to choose from and better ways to showcase the material.


  1. I kind of remember this one. It would be good to watch it again I guess. For curiosity's sake.

  2. I had seen it before and vaguely remembered it but, to be honest, it doesn't do much to leave an impression. My rating is probably a tad generous because of the ending and cast members.

  3. The second story was my favourite. Saw it not too long ago and enjoyed it even if the film is pretty average in all respects.

  4. Yeah, the second story was my favourite too but it could have been even better IMO. I rewatched Urban Legend a few months back and was surprised at how well that holds up.