Scooby Doo! Camp Scare (2010) FILM REVIEW
In this straight to video Scooby Doo animated feature, Scooby and the gang become Councilors at Fred’s childhood camping ground Camp Little Moose! However, spooky things are happening, as it turns out that campfire stories being told are coming true, from the axe wielding Woodsman to the sharp toothed Fishman.
Based on this entry’s premise, and the fact that camping was a BIG part of my growing up, I had always expressed interest in this Scooby Doo movie. Luckily, I wasn’t disappointed, as this is one of the stronger films in the franchise; keep in mind though, I’ve not seen THAT many movies from this feature series.
The Camp itself may be intentionally cruddy for comedic purposes, but it’s woodland environment inspires many beautiful backgrounds. I also had a good time watching the Mystery Inc gang simply chilling out and doing casual camping activities. The Sunny skies, gorgeous landscapes, and relatable traditions really made for a nice atmosphere before things got creepy.
Although, It does bug me that Fred was still willing to go ahead with this year’s camp, even though veteran councilors warned him that an axe wielding murder was hanging around. I get that he’s eager to relive nostalgia and teach a new generation, but it’s rather selfish of him to risk these children’s lives in order to do this. I mean, if their parents knew, I’m certain they’d be shockingly appealed by his irresponsibility. On the other hand, the others deserve as much blame for not overpowering him.
As for the kids who attend Camp Little Moose, we get three children: Deacon the chubby little nerd, Luke the hyperactive lad, and a moody teen called Trudy. These are very stereotypical characters, for sure, but they still present conflictive obstacles for our councilors! Because each one of them has their own flaw or bad habit that Mystery Inc. can work on. Some of these kids can be a little helpful during the investigation too, especially when we learn that Trudy is a computer wiz kid.
This Scooby Doo film is also willing to risk scaring kids watching, and is known for being one of the darker movies of the series. All of the monsters come across as effectively intimidating for children’s movie threats, and I can imagine them disturbing younger viewers a little.
There are moments where these creatures do pose as legitimate threats, and the film seems to be just at the edge of letting these antagonists commit murder. It helps that they’re all voiced by the super talented Dee Bradley Baker, who always excels at creating strange vocal effects. So Parents, if your kid is very sensitive or easily scared, consider picking a more light hearted Scooby Doo film for them. Braver kids will LOVE these villains though, and are bound to feel grateful that the film was willing to unsettle them at a young age.
Not to mention, some encounters with monsters can be thrillingly action packed. Particularly when our heroes come face to face with the Fishman, and they have to become very interactive with the beast! Surprising us with some clever instincts, and a willingness to use combat in an underwater environment. This scene really impressed me, because it demonstrated a more physically confrontational side to Mystery Inc.
The Mystery itself is excitingly interesting, linking it’s roots to local history to build a seedy crime backstory. I’ll admit that I worked out one culprit very quickly, while the other was casually spelled out to us, but it’s still engaging trying to click together their motives & intentions. I have to confess too, there’s a twist towards the end that I did NOT see coming, and I kicked myself when I realised that the clues were there all along.
The Animation might have your usual straight to video standards, but something about it really pops. The thick outlines, refined shading, and effective lighting, make the characters very dimensional. The Animators also bring some dynamic expression to little character movements, which adds to the flair of the art style. Not to mention, there’s extra work being put into explosions or substances. It’s far from theatrical quality, but it’s a decent effort for a cheap production designed for supermarket shelves.
To Conclude, “Scooby Doo! Camp Scare” is a rewardingly fun trip, and a franchise entry that seems to be made with competence & risk. If you’re a fan of the darker Scooby Doo films, then I think you’ll get a lot out of this one, because it’s not afraid to get pretty intimidating for a children’s mystery cartoon. However, it’s still got some writing choices that can make characters look foolish, plus it’s a movie that predictably follows your typical Scooby Doo Formula, so don’t expect something TOO groundbreaking.
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