Review: CAMP DREAD

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The reality TV obsessed addiction of today is such a great subject to dissect via a good horror film. Unfortunately, though, when most films attempt to do such dissecting, they end up falling as flat as the reality TV shows that they’re referencing. Harrison Smith’s CAMP DREAD is a film that even with having a handful of good performances, unfortunately never rises above being just another slasher about the same ol’ thing.

Following Julian Barrett (an always great Eric Roberts), a filmmaker whose ‘Summer Camp‘ trilogy was once a hugely popular horror series in the ’80s, and his attempt to become relevant again, CAMP DREAD from the beginning, just feels a bit ‘been there-done that’. Barrett has an idea for a killer new show and assembles a handful of reality TV hopefuls, each playing into horror stereotypes that we’ve all seen before, the aggro-alpha male type, the quiet girl, etc. Also coming along for the ride, is the star of the ‘Summer Camp‘ trilogy, Rachel Steele (SLEEPAWAY CAMP‘s Felissa Rose), who Barrett right away has some long standing issues with. Almost right away, each camper is killed one by one, until..yeah you’ve seen it already in quite a few movies (even the kills themselves seem recycled from previous slasher films).

What makes CAMP DREAD so frustrating, is that it’s actually funny at times, and has some good performances in it, mixed in with the bad ones (Danielle Harris seems absolutely bored in her two scenes). Roberts rarely gives bad performances, and Felissa Rose is as likable as ever as Rachel, but unfortunately the rest of the cast just doesn’t give you much to enjoy. We’ve all see the tough guy trying to intimidate the other campers, the mysterious goth trying to be brooding, it’s a slasher-by numbers approach that just doesn’t rise above every other entry that we’ve already seen, time and time again. What does set the film somewhat apart, is that it does very little to give many red-herrings, steering us away from the actual culprit(s). If you’ve seen one film like CAMP DREAD, then you’ll be guessing who the killer is pretty early on, which even shocks you as a viewer, when it’s revealed and then it’s just like “wait..really?”.

While it’s far from the worst movie of the year, and has a couple of standout performances from Felissa Rose and Eric Roberts in it, CAMP DREAD  never allows itself be more than it is, just another slasher with predictable twists.

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