Writer: Harrison Smith (Screenplay)
Starring: Eric Roberts, Danielle Harris, Felissa Rose, Joe Raffa, Montana Marks, Davy Raphaely, Gnomi Gre, Alexander Mandell, Ashely Summer, Angel Anthony Marrero, Nicole Cinaglia
Plot: The “Summer Camp” horror trilogy was one of the most popular franchises of the 1980s. However, the decade ended and so did director/writer Julian Barrett’s career. Now Barrett has a plan to resurrect “Summer Camp” in a modern reboot that entails using a reality show as its template and source of fundraising. Should it succeed Barrett would once again be at the helm. Bringing together an eclectic group of young “contestants” as well as his former stars Rachel Steele and John Hill, Barrett seems to have put together a sure fire recipe for success. Then people start dying. For real. And “elimination” takes on a whole new meaning as “Dead.tv” clearly shows the slasher film has grown up.
There may be spoilers the rest of the review
Verdict: Fresh Approach to the Slasher
Story: Camp Dread starts with audition tapes of the contestants Novak (Raffa), Katie (Marks), Vinny (Raphaely), Missy (Gre), Matty (Mandell), Sarah (Summer), Calvin (Marrero), Adrienne (Cinaglia) and Jerry (Brennan) in the new reality show being hosted by horror director Julian Barrett (Roberts) in his attempts to get a reboot going on his horror trilogy Summer Camp. We get to see the early tension between Julian and Sheriff Donlyn (Harris) about her father’s time in the sheriff’s role.
With the kids arrived Julian plays out the rules turning what was meant to be a rehab outreach program into a reality show with the winner taking away $1million. Julian has a limited crew well he has Rachel (Rose) the former star of his films turned therapist.
The rules in place we learn the contestants are going to be ‘killed’ with the lone survivor taking home the prize but things take a turn for the worse when the contestants start getting killed for real but just who is the killer?
Camp Dread is a film that could have gone down many roads to mediocrity because the slasher genre isn’t as strong as it once was. Saying this we do get offered up a fresh take on everything with creative twists on what would be basic characters. Having the film set as if a horror director is desperate to reclaim the fame he has lost works because it establishes a new take on the leader of the camp. Having the contestants in their early 20s gets to have fun at the age of the casting we once saw for ‘teenagers’ in the slasher genre. The overall biggest plus I found about this movie is that it channels what Scream once did where it is a serious horror in places but it also likes to poke fun at the horror genre without being a parody but pointing out errors the serious horrors can have. My only negative was that we didn’t see the Sheriff enough especially with it being Danielle Harris one of the best Scream Queens in horror today. Overall the story is great because we need a fresh look at the slasher genre that we needed.
Eric Roberts: Julian is the director of the horror films Summer Camp trilogy, he is desperate to bring his franchise back he designs a reality show on the set of Summer Camp where the contestants get killed off. Julian is filled with anger against the people he worked with turning their back on him and his measures will leave him the prime suspect. Eric is good in this role as we know he can be Mr reliable in any film role.
Felissa Rose: Rachel is the star of the Summer Camp movies, she is bought back by Julian as a therapist for contestants but it soon leads to them questioning her skills and her questioning Julian’s motives. Felissa is good in this role which is clearly created as a nod to her fame from the cult horror film Sleepaway Camp.
Joe Raffa: Novak is the typical asshole jock of the contestants he believes he shouldn’t be there but is only there because easiest option. He will do anything for the prize. Joe is good in this role because creating an asshole character is something needed in horror films.
Nicole Cinaglia: Adrienne is the trouble young woman that is one of the contestants, she has committed the biggest of the crimes but in self-defence. She doesn’t fit in with the rest of the players because of her distant mentality throughout but when it comes to fighting she can handle herself. Nicole is good in this role as the one we have to feel sympathy for over the rest of the contestants.
Support Cast: Camp Dread does give us the supporting cast we expect to see with the slutty character, the joker, the redeemer, the spiritual one and the class underachiever. Each one of these cast members is strong and given enough time to developed their character enough to make us understand their mind-set.
Director Review: Harrison Smith – Harrison writes, produces and directs this film that has taken the slasher genre in a direction we haven’t seen before by adding extra twists on what could have been a ‘we have seen this before’ slasher, that we once saw the great Wes Craven do with Scream and New Nightmare. If you want to see more from Harrison check out his production company Class of 85
Horror: Camp Dread uses the kills to create the horror side of the story which are filled with plenty of blood and gore the trademarks for a slasher horror.
Mystery: Camp Dread creates a mystery about who is the killer and even after finishing you are left to wonder who did commit the early ones.
Thriller: Camp Dread keeps us on edge as we wonder where the film with go and who is killing off the contestants.
Settings: Camp Dread puts our characters in a camp creating the isolation of having nowhere to escape.
Special Effects: Camp Dread uses great effects to create the kills making each one come off believable.
Suggestion: Camp Dread is one for all the horror fans to enjoy. (Horror Fans Watch)
Best Part: The final morning.
Worst Part: Not enough Danielle Harris.
Kill Of The Film: Drink this.
Chances of Tears: No
Chances of Sequel: No
Post Credits Scene: No
Similar Too: Friday the 13th Scream Style.
Oscar Chances: No
Runtime: 1 Hour 34 Minutes
Tagline: Pitch your tent, dig your grave.
Trivia: The film was shot at a real summer camp in the Poconos of Pennsylvania.
Overall: One of the best modern slasher movies out there.