Everyone who has seen more than one horror movie, knows it’s a bad idea to go camping in the woods. Yet somehow it doesn’t stop a group of boy scouts to do just that in Jonas Govaert’s feature debut. The young adults in charge like scaring the shit out of the boys with stories about Kai, a boy/creature who lives in the woods and doesn’t care much about campers. The joke is on them though when Sam (Maurice Luijten), a young River Phoenix lookalike with a troubled past, finds out Kai is real and that he’s not alone.
Sounds like a cool premise, right? Well, it is. Plus the movie has a couple things working in its favor. There’s a reason why the woods are a location that comes back in a lot of horror flicks… it’s because they are creepy as fuck at night. And Nicolas Karakatsanis’ camera work makes them look even creepier. Some of the booby-traps Kai and the mystery man known only as the Poacher have placed all over the place are pretty cool as well. And the fact that it’s a bunch of kids is a nice change from the usual horny teenagers.
It’s not all good though… Sam’s troubled past seems to be added as an extra layer to the story, but its purpose never becomes really clear. And while the first hour is pretty good with plenty of suspense while paying homage, the story doesn’t really go anywhere in the end. So while “Welp” is a good attempt, it really is just that… a good attempt. Frustrating because it could have been a lot better.