A spoof paranormal reality tv show goes on site to a truly haunted camp. When facts about a mass murder there are uncovered, the leader’s disbelief in ghosts is tested along with his crew’s.
Review: This film starts out very unassuming. We find out into the second act that it has intentions that are far different. Having recently watched and reviewed “The Cleansing Hour,” which is also based on a fictional paranormal reality show, I was ready to see something over-the-top like that. There is no cgi in “Camp Cold Brook” but minimal scares and practical effects throughout. I prefer a minimal number of scares, it gets old when you have a director reducing a script to jump-scares every several minutes. So it builds suspense pretty well for minimal scares and it tells a story about a mass murder at the camp years ago. The ghosts are the victims and they want to be “freed.” For well-chosen scares and a surprisingly complicated storyline, this is a fun one to watch. It also has a couple big name actors, an experienced director, and a legendary producer, Joe Dante (Gremlins).
The practical effects work well. For example, they use a high-tech mobile video camera that flips backwards at the push of a button. This makes for scary scenes when looking for ghosts at night. When it focuses back on the cinematographer/actor you are blind to what’s coming. The scares are not totally intense in fact they are rather tame but the show was creepy and I always give points to creepy movies. The practical effects add realism but you won’t be as scared by this film as you will be interested in the story, it’s more of a mystery than a straight up horror. The campground itself is filmed at interesting angles and the abandoned cabins are beautiful (If you have fond memories of Summer camp cabins as I do).
The storyline tries and succeeds in one sense. It adds suspense and makes the movie engaging when we find out Chad Michael Murray’s character has a mom and she along with the sheriff years back were around for a mass-murder. Now, I apologize I may not completely understand the plot so I won’t relay it here but that is the basic gist of it. It was unclear about the past but we find out there are ghosts up there to this day that haunt the camp where they were killed years ago. So the story tries but is so-so; one thing that is definitely a bonus for this movie is the cast and big-name producer.
Chad Michael Murray played “Tristan” on Gilmore Girls. He was also on “One Tree Hill.” You might call him a “pretty boy” of the CW. He is actually a good actor and it shows in this movie. Too bad he wasn’t given a better script. Danielle Harris is another big name (Halloween II) and her face adds interest and familiarity to the film. Then, there is the producer (one of several I should add), Joe Dante. He is a huge name in horror, comedy, and dramatic film-making. I think the big names in this film probably took the job because he was in it. Still, it doesn’t stand up to any of the films he directed.
In conclusion, I think scant scares in favor of a complex story is a good direction but it doesn’t engage very well. I also think the big names and Joe Danue as producer make it a slightly above average film. Look for it, you may enjoy the creepiness of the campground and ghosts. I give this film a 6/10.