Film Review: Camp Dread (2014)

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SYNOPSIS:

A has-been horror director gathers a group of troubled young adults together at an old summer camp to film a reality show called Dead.TV in hopes of reviving his career. Unfortunately a mysterious killer shows up and goes around knocking off the members of the cast and crew in a number of brutal and painful ways. Will anyone survive or will the reality show end up really living up to its name?

REVIEW:

It’s no big secret that I love slasher flicks. I grew up watching them back in the 80’s and to this day they remain my favorite type of horror film. Sadly enough thanks to the Scream series (and the many horrible copycats it inspired) the slasher flick craze died out for the most part in the mid 90’s. As a result it has become increasingly difficult to find a decent one that lives up to my standards ever since. Every once in a while though a very good one comes along that kicks my ass all over the place, and that is definitely the case with Camp Dread. I thought that it was an awesome movie that did a great job of capturing the feel of a true slasher flick missing in so many modern attempts and I had a total blast watching it.

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I’d been dying (pun intended) to see it ever since I first heard about it several months ago and I was extremely happy to get my hands on a copy of it recently. It was every bit as great as I’d hoped it would be and I wasn’t let down by it in the least little bit. It lived up to the expectations that I had for it in every way and I can honestly say that it is without a doubt the best damn slasher flick I have seen in the last five years or so and I enjoyed every second of it. It is well-written, entertaining as hell, and just kick ass in every conceivable way (plus it looks like it was a lot of fun to make to boot).

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One of the things I really dug about it was the premise. Some may argue that it isn’t the most original movie to come along in a while but it works and I for one loved it (hey, why try to reinvent the wheel if it works just fine the way it is?). It has an awesome 80’s slasher flick vibe to it and I had a field day watching the killer go around slicing and dicing people to ribbons. The writing it top-notch and clever as hell and as such the movie is just a good old-fashioned fun ride that made me all warm and tingly inside (I know, I have issues but I can’t help it, I love these types of movies). It is obvious that writer/director Harrison Smith is a fan of slashers and has a genuine love and respect for them as much as I do and I can see this movie becoming one of those that I can watch over and over again without getting tired of it. As a matter of fact I can actually see Camp Dread playing a part in reviving the slasher film in general and maybe even spawning a series of fun sequels. Believe me when I say that this movie is that good.

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One of the film’s biggest strengths is its cast. We get the always cool Eric Roberts as the desperate and broke horror director whose career is on the skids, genre favorite Danielle Harris in a small role (my only complaint is that it could have been a little bigger), and best of all my favorite scream queen from my favorite movie of all time (Sleepaway Camp),the lovely- and super talented- Felissa Rose who steals the show in my opinion. We also get the usual gang of characters that are present in most slasher  flicks (such as the smart ass, the slut, the weirdo, etc  that are pretty much fodder for the killer, and everyone does a terrific job of bringing their respective character to life (especially Davy Raphaely who really stands out in the role of Vinny). I dug everyone in this movie and there wasn’t a single character that I didn’t like, something that is quite rare for me when it comes to most movies that I’ve seen of late.

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I also really enjoyed the death scenes as well as they were plentiful and creative. We get some pretty cool deaths that include an arrow through someone’s eye, someone being forced to drink drain cleaner, an unfortunate soul being beaten to death with his own prosthetic leg, and an awesome death via a slingshot-like apparatus ( that hasn’t been done before to my knowledge), and some pretty hardcore stabbings. If you are into blood and guts as much as I am then you are in for a treat with this movie as it doesn’t skimp on the gore.

Since I like a little mystery with my horror I was glad that you don’t know who the killer is until the end. Is it one of the people involved with the reality show trying to take out the competition to win the million dollar prize, is it just some crazed stranger who enjoys killing for killing’s sake or is there something more sinister afoot? I’m not saying because that would ruin the fun, but let’s just say that there are plenty of red herrings to keep you guessing and you will have a great time trying to figure it all out before everything is finally revealed.

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Needless to say I thought that Camp Dread was awesome and I enjoyed it immensely. There is a lot to like about it and I think that it rocked. If you are nostalgic for the slasher films of the good old days (or if you just want to see an excellent horror film in general) then check this movie out as soon as you can. Highly recommended.

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About Todd Martin

Todd Martin grew up in Irvington, a small town in Kentucky. Thanks to his mother, father, and favorite uncle he started watching horror films at a very young age and has been a horror geek ever since. He is basically a walking encyclopedia of horror flicks (especially the 80’s slashers), comic books, and pro wrestling, and has been writing for the biggest majority of his life.

His first book, Nightmare Tales was published in 2006 and he has had several short stories published in several collections. He and his wife Trish published their book “The Gardener,” a horror novel that is a throwback to the slasher films of the 80’s in 2011 and he is working on a collection of short horror stories When he isn’t reviewing movies and books or doing interviews for Horrornews.net he has been known to act from time to time as he has appeared in a handful of low budget horror films. He also enjoys writing screenplays and enjoys making movies as well. He wrote the segment “Angel” which appeared in the 2004 film “Tales from the Grave 2: Happy Holidays!” which was produced and directed by Stephanie Beaton, and recently appeared in Tim Ritter’s film “Deadly Dares: Truth or Dare 4.”. He resides in Kentucky with his wife Trish, their cat Buffy, and their wiener dog, Cujo

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