FULL DISCLOSURE: survival horror typically isn’t my thing. Sure, I enjoy Wolf Creek and Wolf Creek 2, and sure, you could describe a lot of movies featuring serial killers hunting victims as “survival horror,” but you know what I’m saying, right? In other words, the trailer and premise of Camino didn’t really do much for me. However, despite not typically being a fan of survival horror, two things that I typically am a fan of are Zoë Bell and Nacho Vigalondo. So my preconceived notions are at a stalemate! What on earth will my thoughts of the movie be?! I guess you’ll just have to read to find out!
See, the thing Avery “shoots” with is a camera, not a gun! Do you see how both things can be “shot” and how that ties into the movie?
Avery (Bell) is an accomplished photojournalist who is still coping with the sudden death of her husband who pursues a rare opportunity to tag along with Guillermo (Vigalondo), the benevolent leader of a rebel military faction in Colombia. Avery witnesses Guillermo’s attempt to help struggling communities, but considering the world of violence he exists in, is apprehensive to trust him. When Avery stumbles across Guillermo in the middle of committing a violent deed, she naturally snaps photos, which puts him on the hunt. The photographer heads further into the jungle as Guillermo turns his squad against her, implying that she pulled off the nefarious deeds. What follows is an intense game of cat and mouse, and some of the squad shows doubts about Guillermo and he tries to contain the damage done both to his squad and the potential damage that the incriminating photos could cause.
See, Guillermo is more familiar with “shooting” guns, but Avery “shoots” with her camera? Do you understand the similarities yet?
Does that synopsis sound good to you? Huh? Well, in that case, you’ll sure as hell like this movie! Vigalondo is equal parts charming and terrifying, which makes the charm he uses to persuade people to his side incredibly believable. Also, no matter the lengths he goes to track down Avery, he plays the character as a real-life villain and not some psychopath aiming to destroy everyone in his path. He has an image to maintain, so for as persistent as he is, you almost believe him when he says all he wants are the photos. Bell, on the other hand, is a well-known badass, so you might expect her to just kick the shit out of Guillermo immediately, but remember when I said she’s coping with her husband’s death? Well, that leads to some moments where she can’t mentally bring herself to do the things she knows she should to gain the advantage. Sure, we get a couple of badass moments where she gets to put her physical abilities on display, but it was also a battle of wits. Personally, I would’ve preferred more of her physical prowess being shown, but I understand why it wasn’t just a movie of fighting in the jungle. I should also mention Sheila Vand was pretty badass as Guillermo’s right-hand woman/love interest, so it wasn’t just two strong performances surrounded by fodder, but the supporting cast was solid as well.
When I said the ending was predictable, yes, the film ends with a kiss fight. Everybody wins!
Despite the strength of the cast, there wasn’t much else about Camino that stuck with me. But hey, remember when I said movies like this aren’t typically my thing? That still holds to be true! You don’t even have to listen to me if you don’t want to! However, I’ve been surprised by similar films in the past with how much I enjoy them, and this one didn’t really do that. It’s pretty by-the-numbers and does things you’d expect, but at least it had a good cast? Also, I suppose there were some shots of the jungle that were cool and some of the shot compositions were nontraditional, so I liked that the film ultimately had an interesting look, but the whole thing still didn’t resonate much with me. In other words, Bell and Vigalondo are badass, and the story might be predictable, but if you’re into these types of movies then you’ll sure as shit like this one.
Wolfman Moon Scale