Variety: ‘Monster Camp: The Story Of Nero Seattle’


Dweeby doesn’t begin to describe the bulk of the protagonists in “Monster Camp,” Cullen Hoback’s documentary about those attracted to a live-action event for fantasy role-players in Washington state. Nonetheless, they prove winning — and their pastime peculiarly fascinating — in this fun nonfiction feature. Pic is a guaranteed fest crowd-pleaser that could potentially attract arthouse play in the hands of a distrib savvy enough to court interest among gamers as well as cinematic curiosity-seekers.

Nero is a game licensed to regional organizers who hold monthly gatherings of the costumed faithful, with weekend-long events a few times a year. Heading up the Seattle chapter is Shane, an affable fellow verging on burnout — everyone wants to play, but few volunteer to help with the behind-scenes work, making his lot increasingly burdensome. There’s also the worry that his retirement from the post might spell an end to Nero Seattle, if no one else is willing to step up.