The Underbelly: Kampout
June 14, 2019

The Underbelly #3
(aka: American Bigfoot)
Director: Glenn Martin
Premise: A sasquatch goes on a rampage after its young is killed. Unimportant characters tremble in fear.

Kampout left me kind of confused.

Was it a straight up horror movie? A horror-comedy? A campy, self-aware flick? A muddled mess of conflicting tones and halfhearted storylines? A decent, low budget script in bad need of an overhaul or a copy edit?

Somehow all of the above?

Alright, I'll give the movie credit regarding one thing. It had a slightly compelling concept, where a redneck guns down a young bigfoot, sending its parent on gory a killing spree (reminiscent of the movie Exists). From there, the sasquatch abducts a child and hands him off to the other parent, who keeps him as a stand-in for their deceased offspring.

Sadly, Kampout doesn't commit to its only semi-interesting subplot. We don't see the kid again until he wakes up in the woods, cradled by a blonde sasquatch. He merely gets up and walks away, finding a church soon after that, and that's it.

Meanwhile, the movie careens from one vapid point to another, killing off randos in grisly fashion. One guy gets his head crushed (off-camera, of course), with pieces plopping onto the ground like bits of splattered pumpkin. A couple of rednecks try to obtain evidence of the bigfoot's existence, and end up on some idiotic, bumbling attempts at comedy. Hell, the movie even starts off with an inconsequential scene where a sasqatch attempts to break into a girl's house while she's sitting there, doing nothing. Someone drives up to the house, the thing runs away. We don't see these characters later.

Oh, but there is an unintentionally funny part there, where the aforementioned girl is staring at her phone and suddenly says "I"m bored" to absolutely no one. She then gets up and says, "I think I'll make some popcorn." Like, why is this even in the script?

Why is that whole needless scene even in the script? It doesn't set the movie up and builds to a complete anticlimax. My guess was the producers needed to pad the film out by ten or so minutes and ended up with this pointless segment. This movie suffers the most from an overload of unnecessary baggage. It could've either delivered a more focused movie revolving around the abduction or a campy, faster-paced film, but settled on a draggy, tedious affair that doesn't know what it's trying to accomplish.

And no, the former concept isn't too serious for a low budget body count film. You could've had the movie start off with the young sasquatch's death (axing all that nonsense about the failed break-in), segued into Tommy's abduction, and finally introduced a search party as the victims. It would've been predictable, yeah, but it would've been a better picture than the rambling, tiresome movie we got instead.

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