Camp Dread, 2014.
Written and Directed by Harrison Smith.
Starring Eric Roberts, Danielle Harris, Kyle Patrick Brennan, Ashley Caspermeyer, Felissa Rose, Ashley Sumner and Nicole Cinaglia.
After directing a trilogy of 80’s horror flicks, Julian Barrett (Roberts) plans a reboot of the series on the basis of a reality show design. By encouraging interest in the concept by using reality TV he hopes to generate the necessary finances he needs to launch his project. By using stars of the now aged movies and a group of young people with troubled pasts, he thinks he has the perfect mix to achieve his goal. However, the lines between reality and film events soon become blurred and before long the contestants are fighting for more than just success…..
I had hoped that I would be surprised by this film; that I would be wrong in predicting what would happen based on the story premise. Unfortunately I wasn’t. The idea of the movie is based on another fictional series of slash-flicks which took place in the 80’s. This is not an original concept of course; the Scream movies used classic slash-horror scenarios to tell the tales, but not to the stage where they overpowered the story itself. This is the problem with Camp Dread; not only does it use an ideas used before but it makes little effort to elevate the story above the horror clichés in which the “events” occur. By doing this it seems lazy and, as 80’s slasher films were, predictable. At least those films from 30 years ago had an excuse, these days it is an unoriginal idea.
After a slow start, the group of young people are assembled at the camp and the TV show is explained to them by Barrett, including what their prize will be should they survive. Discovering that none of their mobile phones have service the group…do nothing about it! They don’t investigate it; they just carry on with the programme. Again, this would be fine if it was 1985, because that’s what usually happened, but it isn’t and the film should have looked to develop the characters’ curiosity into the “show” and Barrett’s motives.
One by one, characters leave the show and, to give the film some merit, I was wondering who it was that was “making” them leave, guessing a couple of times during the hacking.
The way in which they left was again predictable; it’s been done before many times and really only amplified the film’s main weakness.
The final stage of the film is almost as predictable as the rest of it and is executed as you would expect. It isn’t the worst film I’ve seen, but the main problem isn’t just that it’s nothing new, it’s that it makes little effort to hide this; almost apologetically going through the motions as it follows the same old, well trodden path.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ ★ / Movie: ★ ★
J-P Wooding – Follow me on Twitter.