Friday flicks: spooky campfire stories

With the weather heating up and camping season in full swing, this week’s Friday Flicks is for those of you who didn’t manage to get a campsite reservation (and you’ll be glad you didn’t). We’ve selected a variety of terrifying tales that would have you lying wide awake in your tent, listening for monsters lurking and waiting in the woods for your midnight bathroom break. But don’t worry, the stoner character is sometimes the one that survives😅 We’ve made sure to select a variety of films so that you won’t feel safe in a tent, trailer, summer camp, or any kind of woods. Actually, you may never want to see more than 10 trees together at once again after this. 

We’ll also provide a recommendation for how high, on a scale of 1-10, you should be when you watch each of these films, considering that you may want to have your wits about you for some of these (laughing emoji). Without any further adieu, please enjoy this week’s Friday Flicks from most to least recent: 

The Ranger (2018) by Director Jenn Wexler

This movie follows a group of punk teens who retreat to the woods while running from the law. Of course, pretty soon after they get to the cabin things begin to go awry. While it features classic horror tropes like a group of teens in a spooky cabin in the woods, this film certainly has a personality of its own and plenty of humor. It’s a classic slasher with a punk twist, relatable characters, and a soundtrack worth saving for your next night of drunken debauchery. For those of you who were rebellious in your teen years, you’ll appreciate the overarching theme of hooligans vs. authority figures.

While thoroughly entertaining and certainly gorey, this flick is not too scary. It’s the kind of movie that’d be great to put on at a party or chat through with a group of friends, which means you can be as high as you’d like for this one 😎 Feel free to pass the bong around throughout the viewing. 

The Strangers: Prey at Night (2018) by Director Johannes Roberts

Another 80’s slasher throwback, this movie follows a family of four as they arrive at a trailer park to visit relatives and find the place abandoned. Of course, they decide to stay the night anyway and that’s when things start to get f****d. It’s a classic tale of wrong place, wrong time as the family is randomly selected by a trio of murderous psychopaths. The film makers prey on our fear of humanity at its worst, putting it in a similar genre with The Purge and other stranger-danger flicks. This movie does an excellent job at keeping your heart racing as we watch the family struggle to survive with some lovely jump scares and gore along the way. It may not revolutionize the genre, but it makes for a very enjoyable slasher.

This movie is a thrilling ride that can only be made better with weed, so if you’re a horror buff I recommend going for a full 10. If you’re a little more easily spooked, maybe keep it around a 6-7 and consider watching with the lights on. No matter what, you’re definitely going to want to lock your doors before pressing ‘play’.

The Ritual (2017) by Director David Bruckner

Following the story of a group of college pals trekking through the mountains for a bonding experience, this movie is truly unsettling. After one of the men gets a minor injury, they’re forced to take a short cut through the woods, which, you guessed it, are seriously haunted. Though we don’t see much of the terrifying creature that follows them, the psychological horrors suffered by the group are enough to give you nightmares. Don’t worry, you won’t be eager to see more. This one feeds on our fear of the dark, using well-placed sights and sounds to make you feel as helpless, lost, and vulnerable as the group. Just try not to think about this movie the next time you go camping. 

You’ll want to have your wits about you as you attempt to understand what the f**** is going on, so we recommend staying around a 2-3 for this movie. 

Summercamp (2015) by Director Alberto Marini

This one is a fun cross-over between summer camp thriller and zombie horror. It begins at a very sketchy summer camp in Spain and several irresponsible choices later there is a full-on outbreak. The film doesn’t take itself too seriously, sprinkling humor and hot bods throughout the overall plot of a disturbing virus, jump scares, and gruesome death. 

For a fun and fast-paced movie like this one we recommend the same for you. Smoke to your heart’s content! There’s no need to be scared as long as you steer clear of rabid animals…and people.

Cabin in the Woods (2011) by Director Drew Goddard

What begins as a classic horror with references to The Evil Dead and other staples of the genre quickly evolves into a fresh kind of hell. The creators here did not leave much to the imagination, in fact you may develop brand new fears after watching this movie, which means they’ve done a great job! While they do integrate many tropes – group of young adults, in the woods, shit goes wrong – this feels more like an homage to the roots of the genre than a tired out plotline. The incredibly witty and self-aware writing paired with the uncharacteristically strong cast for this kind of film is what makes it a must-watch. 

While the story is fresh and entertaining, it doesn’t require the same level of focus as something like The Ritual, so feel free to go for the full 10 😎

The Blair Witch Project (1999) by Directors Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sánchez

This ‘found footage’ film has become a classic for horror-lovers. It claims to be the discovered footage from a project gone wrong wherein a group of film students document their research into a small-town legend. The group interviews locals about the legend of the child-murdering witch before trekking into the woods themselves to investigate. Of course, the trip goes wrong when they find themselves lost in the woods and begin to hear disturbing noises in the night. Much of the horror in this film is in the unknown and unseen, but it still manages to terrify you by bringing all of your greatest childhood fears of darkness and noises in the night to life. This concept would not have worked if the cast had not achieved the level of honesty and genuine terror that they did, making it almost believable that the footage is real. Heather Donahue, who holds the camera for the majority of the film, keeps you emotionally invested in the story through her constant narrative. Truly a shining example of ‘found film’ done right. 

This movie isn’t very scary if you’re not paying attention, because you’ve got to experience the plot progression alongside the characters to truly enjoy the suspense, so we recommend sticking around the 3-5 zone. 

We hope you enjoy our selection! Let us know on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram if any of our Friday Flicks made it into your movie night, and stay tuned for more recommendations every other Friday on our blog 😊

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