I am a sick puppy or something because I find Camp Slaughter not horrifically bad, actually.
Then again, this could just be from viewing Midnight Skater before this.
Okay, it’s your standard Z-list, straight-to-DVD horror flick. It’s got the normal rough edges and problems. The main reason why it doesn’t work is because no one can seem to make up their minds about whether they wanted to make a horror comedy or an actual horror film. A good chunk of the film has actual humorous moments in it, but by the end of the film all that’s long gone.
I mean, look at the poster: that does not scream funny, unless your name is Ed Gein. And quite frankly, there’s no teensy blond chick with an axe in this flick. Originally released as Camp Daze, people involved with the flick renamed it to Camp Slaughter. You take a guess as to why, dearest readers.
So, the premise will practically make you giddy with joy – it’s kind of cool, really. Four kids on a road trip get stranded in the woods and stumble upon Camp Hiawatha, a summer camp where everyone seems to be very much out of sorts, if you know what I mean. Between the halfsie-shirts, day-glo, plastic earrings and exclamations of “Totally rad!” from the assortment of campers, the four stranded teens figure out they’ve traveled to a summer camp stuck in the ’80’s, where the same day happens over and over again, with the eventual slaughter of the campers repeating every evening as if it never happened previously. The campers enlist the stranded teens to assist them but…not all is as it seems!
That’s like Groundhog Day meets a John Hughes movie meets Friday the 13th meets a homeless crackhead. I mean, really now. That’s… pretty original, I’ll give the makers of Camp Slaughter that. Original in a “someone took too many hits off the bong” kind of way, but original nonetheless.
There are good parts to the movie. It pretty successfully skewers ’80’s culture, in a way, I suppose.
AWESOME! Like, totally!
But that’s about it.
Honestly, I can’t think of a movie I’ve seen in a long, long while that had the mere premise of the movie carry it through the first, vaguely interminable half-hour, but Camp Slaughter does it. By the time the schtick wears off, though, you’re really ready for it to be over. There’s a lot of technology jokes – cell phones, internet – but that only goes so far before it starts to wear really thin. Thin enough to where this might be the kind of movie where you need Jack, Jim or Jose at your side to boost your spirits a bit. Sure, the filmmakers give you some twists and turns during the film to throw you off guard, but you can see the eventual identity of the killers coming as easily as an oncoming train. Subtlety is not this movie’s strong point.
Where it all falls apart: the movie deviates from the funny-horror and goes into “serious” mode. When it does, it loses any residual charm it had banked. The ending is so out of left field, so nonsensical that it utterly ruins the rest of the good points the film had.
There is one survivor and one survivor only; the rude, irritating girl in the group of stranded friends who makes it out of the Time Warp alive. (She took a jump to the left and then a step to the right, don’t you know. Heh. Yeah, that was a lame joke.) Anyways, we see her three years later, happy, successful and working in some sort of office environment. And, oh yeah, she landed a book deal. What the hell?!
When all of a sudden, she receives an instant message from murderous Hiawatha campers!
THEY ESCAPED FROM THE CAMP! AND OMG! THEY KNOW HOW TO USE THE INTERNETS!!!!
No, seriously, that’s the end.
So after sitting through some confusion, a bad flashback to the ’80’s and a slew of overly annoying characters, this is the payoff you get.
It’s kind of like buying a Snickers bar and discovering someone forgot to put the nougat in; you’ve still got the chocolate but it’s disappointing. And you kind of want your money back. And, it would’ve helped if they put the nougat in the candy bar in the FIRST goddamn place.