August 19, 2016 Summer Camp (Movie Review)
There are lots of opportunities for American’s to find jobs of all kinds in Europe to earn extra money, one of the most popular being as Camp Counselors. That said, the latest Horror movie entitled Summer Camp, also known as Campamento del terror, focuses on four Americans who travel to Spain to work in a recently redeveloped summer camp. Produced by a Peter Safran (Scary Movie 2000, The Conjuring series) and Julio Fernández (The Machinist 2004, [Rec] series), as well as written by Alberto Marini (Extinction 2015, Retribution 2015) and Danielle Schleif (The Condemned 2012), Summer Camp was filmed in Spain while the stories/events take place in modern times, over a 24 hour period. Premiering in various countries over the past year, Lionsgate released the film on VOD and DVD as of August 2nd, allowing US audiences a chance to dig in for a late summer nightmare.
The story begins when Will (Diego Boneta: Scream Queens TV series, Pretty Little liars TV series), Christy (Jocelin Donahue: Insidious Chapter 2 2013, Furious 7 2015), Michelle (Maiara Walsh: Desperate Housewives TV series, VANish 2015), Antonio (Andrés Velencoso: B&b, de boca en boca series, The End 2012), arrive at the summer camp. Ready to begin work in a matter of days, as soon as they step out of the van they are shocked by how run down the place is. There is no phone service, limited access on the landline, and only one vehicle. Their first interactions with the local’s are less than pleasant, setting a creepy tone for their stay. Antonio convinces them the facility will be finished prior to the kids turning up and the group all decide to stay.
Antonio shows the group where the animals are kept, and is told by a worker he must put down one of the dogs due to aggressive behavior. Will is astounded and attempts to calm the dog down himself, at which point the dog attacks and bites Will. Despite the nasty beginnings, the foursome settle in and plan a small party for that night. Antonio and Will go into the wine cellar to select some alcohol; while Antonio is grabbing a bottle, he transforms into a raging maniac. Will defends himself, flees the scene, and runs to protect Michelle and Christy. Christy witnesses the aftermath and runs outside to Michelle, convincing her Will is a killer.
Upon seeing him covered in blood and screaming, Michelle realizes Christy is right. Michelle and Christy leave the camp in the van they entered in, only to encounter a number of infected animals acting in a similar manner. During the course of their journey, one of the women also transforms, leaving the other vulnerable and confused. One by one, humans and animals become rabid beasts intent on killing everything they encounter. As soon as the survivors get a fix on what is happening, it is flipped around and they are back where they started.
The first 25 minutes of Summer Camp are very similar to thousands of others, filled with cliched characters, dialogue, and plots lines. However, should the viewer stay past this point, the story does take a 360 turn straight into the original and awesome category. That said, Marini and Schleif take a well used storyline and injected some uniqueness, fun, and excitement. In addition, a surprise ending and plenty of twists and turns keeps the viewer on their toes all the way to the end. Bringing it all together nicely, the acting by the small cast is sharp and they adapt well to the stark changes in scenes and direction. Rated R for its horror, violence, and terror, the cinematography and special effects are equally well done in Summer Camp, adding to the effect and making it a worthy watch for any Horror buff. CrypticRock gives Summer Camp 5 out of 5 stars.