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|Index||15 reviews in total|
Eric Roberts plays washed-up filmmaker Julian, director of the "Summer
Camp" movies, a trilogy of wildly successful horror films from the 80s.
He has recruited a bunch of young wayward delinquents who have pssed
off their parents, to have them attend his summer camp in lieu of jail
The camp is covered in cameras, and so are the young adults, as they are told that they will be participating in a reality series, where one by one they will be participating in a series of challenges, and "fake killed," with the last one standing winning a million dollars. There's more to the story but it doesn't really make a difference in the film. It's so convoluted that none of it really does.
Felissa Rose (of Sleepaway Camp fame, get it?), plays the washed up star of Julian's famed trilogy who is now a therapist, and as head counsellor seeks to rehabilitate these wayward youths.
This being a horror movie of course, they start getting offed for real, as they slowly begin to discover the truth of why they are there.
There are a few decent kills here but nothing much new. The gore and effects are pretty standard. One character in particular is killed with an object I won't name, but I'm pretty sure it's the first time put to film. You'll know it when you see it near the end.
One of the things that drew me to watch this film was the supposed starring role of scream queen Danielle Harris, who started in horror films back in 1988, has been in 4 Halloween films, and has always been a favourite actress of mine. She has SECOND BILLING in the credits and everywhere else but only appears IN TWO BRIEF SCENES FOR A TOTAL TIME OF UNDER 5 MINUTES. Obviously she was attached to this movie just to sell tickets, and cash a paycheck.
All in all a sub-par effort.
A washed up director, played by washed up actor Eric Roberts, sets up a
reality TV show where the contestants get murdered. A familiar and
simple plot that's been used many times in the 10 years or so since
reality TV was topical. But this movie is so ineptly put together that
it makes less sense at it goes on.
Eric Roberts may as well have been filmed actually reading from the script since he conveys no emotions whatsoever. The movie does have one intriguing idea regarding the reason the contestants were picked but fails to go anywhere with it making the already threadbare plot even less believable.
The contestants are so uninteresting that you can sum them up in their entirely with a three word description. Fake leg guy. Girl in lingerie. That's not a sign of a good movie. I didn't expect much out of this but honestly my low expectations were a long way from met. Well, that's just a viewers opinion read the other reviews to see what the makers thought of their own movie. Turns out they liked it.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I have always though of Eric Roberts as the cinematic equivalent to a
warning sign on a pack of cigarettes. You know there is nothing good to
be found here, only suffering and pain. Yet, you almost always keep on
So, like a 50 year, 5-pack a day smoker with terminal lung cancer, I have tried to find someone else to blame for having exposed myself to this. Alas, in the end it is my burden. I watched Camp Dread. I did not heed the warning sign. Now I have paid the price.
With an intro like that, is a review even necessary? I could haul out the thesaurus and dig for adjectives but that would only be masturbatory. I'll keep it simple and say Camp Dread is simply bad.
The good thing is, Roberts is getting old. Runaway Train and Star 80, his career highlights, were a long time ago. Sure, he was in The Dark Knight. Then again my mom could have been in The Dark Knight and looked cool.
The good news is Roberts appears to have spawned a protégé, Danielle Harris, who here sasses up the screen with ham-fisted attitude for a total of maybe five minutes, her face a mixture of boredom and I'm-doing-this-for-friend insincerity.
Her recent directorial debut, Among Friends, was an underwhelming experience and while I have yet to see Hallows' Eve, from what I have garnered, the skull and crossbones and label warnings her name now signifies, do in fact ring true.
Avoid at all costs.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The fact that Eric Roberts seems to be one of a few competent actors in
this movie should tell you something about the quality of acting in
Camp Dread. To be fair to the other 'actors' in Camp Dread, I should
say that they didn't write the screenplay and the cringe-worthy
dialogue by themselves. Someone else did. Director/writer Harrison
Smith did. And he botched it. Also the stretch from a has been actor to
a has been director is not that big of a leap for Mr. Roberts. He
really didn't have to act in this one and collected a paycheck for it.
Well played, Mr. Roberts, I guess.
The plot is pretty simple as it should be in a slasher movie. A washed up and penniless horror movie director Julian Barret (Eric Roberts) decides to dabble in reality TV to make some money. He enlists the help of his former scream queen, who is now conveniently a licensed youth counselor, and another old friend of his who gets killed off in about 20 minutes into the movie. I can only assume because he seems like a decent actor and they were going for total incompetence or bust. Add about a dozen stereotypical youngsters as cannon fodder. Explain the rules of the Summer Camp reality show. The fake killer, the insane amount of money that goes to the winner, drop a hint or two about the presence of a real psycho killer and we should have a solid setup for a fun slasher movie.
If you are a horror fan you've probably seen worse ideas turned into good movies and vice versa. You've seen this done before, right? Summer camp, lots of young good looking people and a psycho killer on the prowl. The movie has some good gory kills and a bit of a surprising twist at the end but it still fails to deliver.
The movie is just dull. The setup is solid but once Summer Camp starts, boredom ensues. The kills are few and far between, the fights between the contestants are long and boring. The director tries to generate tension using gimmicks like strange noises outside the cabins, doorknobs jiggling for what seems like an eternity, wrong people showing up in wrong places, etc. I didn't expect any deep character development in this one but it would have been nice if they'd make decision based on logic and common sense. Instead they all seem to have left their brains at home. I've touched the subject of acting already and it seems the big chunk of the acting budget went to Mr. Roberts and Danielle Harris for her ten minute cameo appearance. Some gore and the surprise ending, which really isn't that much of a surprise, don't fix that. The characters just seem to have the memory of a goldfish because they seem to keep forgetting what happened just a few seconds ago. The acting is atrocious at times. The cast is comprised of scrapings from the bottom of the barrel of acting talent. Add a bad screenplay that makes the characters utter some dumb and corny lines and the whole thing results in some cringe worthy dialogues and sometimes monologues. So bad that I had to pause it, rewind and cringe again just to make sure I wasn't hearing things. Annoyed the heck out of me. Even if I'd start to follow the plot and get involved into the story a bit something dumb happened or being said and it just snapped me right back to reality. This is a horrible movie.
Camp Dread doesn't have a lot going for it. It seems like its banking on having two known names in Eric Roberts and Danielle Harris, who's in it for about 10 minutes, to lure people in. Then it just goes through the motions of slasher horror until it ends with a surprise twist. And it isn't much of a surprise anyway. A fun throwback horror movie? Just throw it in the trash. That's exactly where it belongs.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
After finding The Final Girls to be a surprisingly strong Slasher
Comedy,I started keeping a look out for similar films. Picking up an
old issue of UK film mag Empire,I read Kim Newman's Video Dungun
page,and noticed a review for a similar-sounding flick,which led to me
packing my bags for Camp Dread.
After making his name writing/directing and producing the Summer Camp Slasher trilogy in the 80's.washed-up film maker Julian Barrett decides to revive the franchise.Wanting to keep the budget low,Barrett uses a reality TV show cover to get real troubled teens to sign up to "act" in the show/movie. Returning to the original where the films were made,Barrett covers the camp with CCTV . Revealing to his "cast" that they could get rich if they follow his directions,the group start playing around being in a Slasher,but soon find themselves giving "method" performances.
View on the film:
Slithering around the camp,Eric Roberts gives a marvellous slime ball performance as Barrett,whose Hollywood grin Roberts grips to keep Barrett mischievously ruthless nature just hidden under the sunglasses. Finding herself returning to the Slasher,the pretty Felissa Rose,gives a good performance as Rachel,with Rose giving the flick a comedic kick via knocking the fourth wall down in Rachel's attempt to escape the genre.
Filming on a real summer camp,writer/director B. Harrison Smith & cinematographer Charlie Anderson cut a chunk of 80's Slasher atmosphere,with the fading colours of the camp giving the killings a day-glo shine. Limiting the murder set-pieces to side views,Smith cuts into the bright red Slasher gore,but stops it from covering the screen by oddly only showing the murders take place in side angles. Starting production on "Summer Camp 4" the screenplay by Smith gives the first half a wry, satirical bite slashing into washed-up Hollywood glee and reality TV desperation. Chopping up the jokes as the bodies pile up, Smith snaps the playful elements to present a straight Slasher,which whilst hitting some gory deaths,runs dry due to the sudden serious shift,as the group start to dread Camp Dread.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
When I first discovered this movie recently, it reeled me in purely
because it supposedly stars Danielle Harris who I absolutely love. And
we all know she is the primary scream queen of all horror movies
(Halloween, Hatchet). She's a terrific actress and I've been fortunate
enough to have met her at the London Film & Comic Con. I had the
privilege of telling her how great she is, how fantastic her movies are
and I even got in a few photos with her. She's just lovely.
However, I can't see why she is second-credited in the opening titles to this movie AND on front cover of the DVD. I hate to throw in the spoilers here, and since someone has already previously posted this - Danielle is not the star of this movie. She's in the first 5 minutes and the last 2 minutes of the film, that's all. Her name is most probably used to get fans to watch the movie thinking it's another one of her heroic slasher films... it's not! I also have to comment again on the DVD cover. It shows a tent with the tagline "Pitch your tent. Dig your Grave.". When I first picked up this DVD and looked at this, I thought this movie was gonna be right up my street and I somehow thought it was gonna be one of those films about a bunch of teenagers who go camping, discover noises around their camp site and one-by-one get lost in the woods, butchered and killed from their tents. Sorry to say this but there is not one single tent in this movie. Why it's displayed on the front cover of the DVD I don't know. The teenagers stay in cabins from what I can only see are the size of a cardboard box. The DVD cover shows false advertisement.
The film itself, the story and the acting is of no surprise to me. But then I haven't seen the original "Summer Camp". It's not a brilliant film, but it's not a terrible film. It's one of those movies that you watch when there's nothing else on TV. It didn't really get my heart racing in terror - it's watchable but not camptastic!
Don't go into "Camp Dread" with expectations of something new. This is
a by-the-books slasher, and all the rules are respected (for a reason).
Dumb and horny teenagers, a cabin by the lake, a mystery killer, gory
offings every 10 minutes or so, down to the finale where the survivor
keeps running into the dead bodies of her former inmates as he/she
tries to escape the killer.
References abound in more than just the tired, if necessary, format. Felissa Rose plays the star of a slasher 80's trilogy, much like she did in real life as the cult hermaphrodite killer in "Sleepaway Camp". Most murders are recreations of classic offings from previous slashers, like "Friday the 13th" but also "Psycho". Of course, this all fits into the script, since this tells the story of a twisted slasher producer experimenting on a new reality-TV format for the 4th installment of his long-forgotten horror franchise.
Bodies are dispatched at a slower rate than usual, which is the movie's main setback. Unlike successful slashers of yore, most of the offings happen after the 40 minute-mark, with a crescendo during the last 20 minutes. For that reason, there's no real final girl, or suspense for the climax.
Although villains are a-plenty in this amoral marathon, the movie succeeds in keeping the audience wondering who is the killer, and a few final twists will actually keep you off-guard. That and a fair amount of blood should satisfy any slasher fan's basic needs.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Back in the 1980's, B movie hack Julien Barrett (ERIC ROBERTS) created
a very popular (but dirt cheap) slasher trilogy called Summer Camp
(really that's the name of it, pretty clever huh?) after being black
listed by the system due to his cheap & at times dangerous ways of
trying to get his movies made, the now out of work former producer is
contacted by a Hollywood studio about remaking the classic original
film. However he has other ideas, instead of remaking the film why not
reboot the entire franchise with another entry? with the added
incentive being that not only would he serve as director, but also make
this reboot a "reality show" by having real people with very troubled
pasts taken from rehab & placed inside the campsite that served as a
shooting site for the trilogy & telling them that only one of them will
get a one million dollar pay check if they can survive the "killer".
The group reluctantly agrees, however when the cameras starts rolling,
a real killer does show up & starts to dispatch the group in various
grisly ways & soon the blood & guts being so spilled in front of the
cameras (that are all placed strategically around the campsite) are
CAMP DREAD is just one of many films released in the past few years that has both tried to pay tribute & revive the 1980's slasher movie style, sadly while the attempts at doing so are admirable, the sad fact is that CAMP DREAD is just as inept as those other slasher films attempting the same thing. Director HARRISON SMITH was clearly inspired by both Friday The 13th & SLEEPAWAY CAMP series, the latter more so, since the film plays plenty of tributes to the latter series rather than the former, with the plot device involving a group of troubled youths forced out on a camping trip only to be knocked off by a real killer in their midst, is swiped directly from SLEEPAWAY CAMP III, speaking of that film, this film also features a scene where a character is dispatched by poison added to their sandwich, when they are driving, only for said victim to pull to the side of a desolate road coughing & gagging before dying, which is little more than a re-working of a similar scene in SLEEPAWAY CAMP III, in which a snarky news reporter snorts poison laced cocaine & pulls to the side of the road falling down dead & with the casting of SLEEPAWAY CAMP'S own FELISSA ROSE, who stars as a former B movie actress turned psychiatrist there to help the kids overcome their troubled pasts (She also serves as an associate producer). The film also adds a touch of of the self awareness popularized in the SCREAM series, with the characters & filmmakers playing their film with a very self aware tone. One character is even named ADRIENNE (Named after Friday The 13th actress ADRIENNE KING).
On the downside, the cast of characters couldn't be more unlikable supposing they tried, which really makes it hard to get behind these people much less care for their fates. Not only are they mean spirited & obnoxious, but one can't help but wait for them to get their just deserts, just so we can have them off screen a lot faster & they are also interchangeable with each other. The film also feels padded to the max, with many scenes just dragging on & I really felt a lot of the scenes could have been trimmed & left on the cutting room floor. The direction leaves a lot to be desired as well, with director Smith failing to provide much suspense or tension & seemingly has no idea on how to set up shock sequences & his very few attempts at creating suspense are underwhelming. ERIC ROBERTS merely phones in his role as the producer & while the camp is pretty looking, there's almost no atmosphere & despite being one of the top billed, B movie scream queen favourite DANIELLE HARRIS (Question are there any horror movies made today that don't feature DANIELLE HARRIS?) merely has a five minute cameo at the beginning & ending, starring as a disgruntled cop who is very vocal in her disdain for horror movies. The ending also disappoints, I actually should say endings, since the film has at least three, none of which are any good & are in no ways clever or serve as a fitting ending to a horror movie that would please genre fans.
I will give the film some props, minus the attractive cast, the film is good & gory & the killer is pretty nasty as we see him/her lodge an arrow in a victims eye, a man's prosthetic leg is torn from his body & used to bludgeon him to death, a nose ring is literally ripped from a girls nose, with said victim then tied up & tossed into a lake, another victim is trapped in a freezer & has a meat hook thrust into his spine & left hanging like a piece of meat. Another kill sees a victim strangled by a piece of barbed wire that is wrapped around their throat, with blood gushing out (is this a throwback to a similar kill in Friday The 13th Part 2?) a bloodied corpse is placed in a bed, while another victim is macheted to death, a vicious beheading & another victim has a severed head catapulted at them with such brute force, it literally cracks the top of the victims head open. While some of the deaths are little more on the creative side, including javax poured down a victims throat, another is poisoned by a poisoned laced sandwich.
In the end, despite it's good intentions, CAMP DREAD really isn't worth seeing, not only is it slow at times, but there's very little here to recommend to horror fans.
This one came into the library where I catalog items, and I snatched it
up, since one of my favorite B actors, Eric Roberts, was on the cover.
I didn't even read what it was about before popping it into the DVD
It was an amusing throwback to the 80's slasher films, with today's technology. The opening where Eric Robert's character, Julian, and the sheriff were eating breakfast, instantly made me think of the small town I grew up in. And then when they showed the cabins it looked almost exactly like Edgewater Inn and Cabins where the yearly IndieHorror.TV Cabin Weekend takes place. I felt a kinship with the movie right away.
It was very enjoyable, and the kill scenes were pretty decent. Towards the end I was lost for a second when one of the characters was attacked, but then a second later the killer was outside the door. But after I thought about it, it made sense. There was a twist at the end that I did not predict, which was nice. I would recommend this movie, especially if you enjoy 80's slashers.
I liked the sound of the premise, really anything to do with camp gets
me excited to watch, but Camp Dread is so bad, and it never even comes
close to the so-bad-it's-good pile.
What I really hate in this genre I love so much is when endings make the whole film seem pointless and in my opinion thats what this film does. It's misleading, and im not just talking about Danielle Harris getting a star billing.
The death scenes weren't too bad, but when the movie finished I was extremely disappointed. If you like low-budget trashy camp flicks try Bloody Murder 2. It's so bad its good. This is so bad it's not even worth wasting your time on.
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