April 18, 2014 Camp Dread (Movie review)
Despite what some will tell you, the horror film genre is still alive and kicking. Recently released on DVD April 15th, Camp Dread is living proof of some good old fashion horror entertainment. Written and directed by Harrison Smith (6 Degrees of Hell 2012, The Field 2011), the film has an impressive cast including Eric Roberts (The Dark Knight 2008, The Expendables 2010) as Julian Barrett, Danielle Harris (Don’t Tell Mom The Babysitters Dead 1991, Halloween 2007) as Sheriff Donlyn, and Felissa Rose (Sleepaway Camp 1983, Under Surveillance 2006) as Rachel Steele. Included with this well-known list of veteran actors is talented young actors such as Joe Raffa, Nicole Cinaglia, Montana Marks, and Angel Anthony Marrero.
Filmed on location at a summer camp vaguely similar to the design and layout from the location in Sleepaaway Camp (1983), you are taken into a story about a popular 1980’s horror film franchise called “Summer Camp”. Taking place in modern day, it has been over a decade since the end of the “Summer Camp” series and film writer/director Julian Barrett wants to re-launch the series, and has a twisted concept of how to do so. Recruiting his former “Summer Camp” star Rachel Steele to help rehabilitate ten dysfunctional young adults in the way of a reality filmmaking is just the icing on the cake of this diabolic tale. These reality show contestants are being watched every turn they make, with cameras planted throughout the campgrounds, and even in their rooms. Their motivation to partake in this little reality film is one million dollar reward for surviving the camp. Before you know it, one by one each camper is scratched out in a classic slasher film style. While the plot may seem rather predictable at first, there are plenty of curves thrown your way. Keeping the interest level high throughout the film you are left pondering who the killer is, and what is their motivation? Of course, you have your typical antagonists, but the guessing will continue until the very last drop of blood. It is quite refreshing to see a horror film blend enough comedy with the right amount of scares, and gore to keep viewers interested. Writer/director Smith definitely had a clear goal in his approach to bring back a raw film style without over-thinking matters too much.
You can’t help but feel the 80’s slasher vibe the entire way through the film, from the fun storyline right down to the filming style. There is enough intrigue with each of the characters that you’re compelled to want to know more about their back stories. Too often in many modern horror films you have little to no sympathy for characters and disturbingly cheer for their brutal slashing sometimes. This group of young actors did an excellent job making their characters come to life on screen. Roberts provides a stellar portrayal of Julian Barrett which is quite believable. Rose provides an equally solid performance as Rachel Steele and you perhaps feel the most remorse for her character of all. Harris role is reserved for the beginning and end of the film, but when she is on screen does a good job as well.
Overall, Camp Dread is a blast of a good time for horror film fans. This is the type of horror film the genre needs more of; witty, clever, and entertaining. Fans sick and tired of poorly executed CGI effects will be pleased to see all gore scenes in this film are practical and that alone deserves praise. If you are in the market for a relaxing night of old school slasher fun pick up a copy of Camp Dread, you will not be disappointed. CrypticRock give this film 4.5 out of 5 stars.
Purchase a copy of Camp Dread on Amazon.com here.