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Home | Film Reviews | Film Review: Camp Hell (2010)

Film Review: Camp Hell (2010)

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At the end of every summer, the children of a Christian community from a suburb of New Jersey attend Camp Hope. They travel deep into the woods far from any distractions the world provides. Here, the children are taught the ways of the Lord, the perils of the flesh, and the horror of the Devil. A charismatic priest leads them in their training. But, he unknowingly has brought something with him, something evil. What was supposed to be a safe place, a spiritual retreat has now turned into a nightmare that not even faith can end.


I sat down to watch “Camp Hell” thinking maybe I was in for an 80’s throwback to the days of the slasher. Or maybe even a “Friday the 13th” rip-off of some sort would have be cool. As soon as I pushed play the title screen wasn’t a blood splashed “Camp Hell” but it actually read “Camp Hope”. To say I was dumbfounded would be an understatement since I really had no idea what the hell I was watching. I couldn’t figure out what the story was, if it was propaganda, or where the true horror was. I made it through the film and I have to say it was tough to get through.

Tommy (Will Denton) is on his way to camp. He studies the bible and lives very close to God’s words along with his parents  Michael and Patricia (Andrew McCarthy and Dana Delany). God is their main focus and faith is all important. At camp, the kids are separated, boys and girls, any contact is considered a sin. No impure thoughts and no youthful influence. Father McAllister (Bruce Davison) tries to drive home the idea that sin leads to the devil and demons entering our lives. When Tommy gives in to those urges with Melissa (Valentina de Angelis), evil enters the camp and everyone’s faith is tested.

We here over and over again how sinful masturbation is in this film. Even one time is enough to let the devil into your life. If that’s the case, I may never get the chance to finish the review since I could be struck down at any moment. I really had a difficult time following this film. Tommy and Melissa dry hump and it somehow unleashed some sort of evil that McAllister may or may not be seeing. Then they really are seeing it. I really don’t know what to make of the whole thing. You may have heard of this film since it was being touted as a headlining vehicle for “Zombieland” star Jesse Eisenberg. In actuality, his screen time lasted less than five minutes in a scene that made little sense to me.

On a tiny budget, the film manages to look like it cost much more. Nice use of lights and darks that helped to bring across a feeling of hope and dread. A talented cast led by Denton (who may just end up being a breakout star) try their best to sell this material that just doesn’t work. Half the film felt like it was preaching, the other half was telling you that maybe you shouldn’t believe, then it just ends. The end never really clarifies anything and your left just as confused as you were at the beginning. There were a lot of potential ways this film could have gone and the one chosen was the worse possible one they could  have made. It was a mess that still leaves a rotten taste in my mouth.

And the kicker is that this film was “Based on true events”. Really? A teenage boy masturbating. Or was it the dry humping. I don’t really know what events they were referring to. People take to extremes when it comes to religion. Kids rebel when they are younger. As they grow they will form their own opinions. Some will change and others evolve to fit their own lives, what works best for them. Mine has changed more than once and it all comes down to faith. If this film is meant to help you form some sort of opinion on where your faith lies, or if you have any at all, then they failed miserably. Sorry guys but this one completely missed the mark for me. I’m still scratching my head over this one. Maybe some day I will sit down and watch it again and try to figure it out but for now I think I will just wait for Kevin Smith’s religious themed horror film “Red State”. Hopefully that will be the one I am looking for.

Camp Hell (2010)


  1. I felt just like you did guy, it was like what, did I miss something or what? What a disappointment this movie was, and it had some good actors in it, wondering if they thought the same after it was completed.

  2. worst movie ever made i was like omg fozzile wizzle worst movie eveahhh ima tell my ghetto homiesss yo

  3. This review seemed as if it was written by my friend who I watched it with. It had every comment he had made about it. I saw it at the the supermarket Redbox and picked it up on a whim. I read the description and saw Jesse EIsenberg’s name and face (apparently getting top billing) but yeah, he was only on screen less than five minutes and I could not figure out if he was autistic, mentally ill or messed up from drugs. They only showed him later in a very short scene slashing his wrists and that did not seem to fit the plot very well either.

    The actors were actually good and so were the lighting and sound effects. You really thought you were going to see something scary that would grip you but it just never happened. In the scene before Tommy goes to camp, the father warns the teenage kid about the “evils of the flesh” . Well what is a 16 year old kid in a bunkhouse going to do at night after thinking about a girl he likes but is not even allowed to talk to? So, right away, I thought yeah, he is gonna masturbate and get caught doing it or something like that ans sure enough, they show him just starting to do that but instead of all the guys joining in or making fun of him after catching him doing it, they pull a prank on another kid and cause him to have a seizure. That was no fun ata all!

    Then, the inevitable late night, in the dark, sneeking away from the camp sex scene ends up with no clothes undone and no real scandal at all but both kids are condemned as if she had gotten pregnant. Previously, she had been called a “whore” for just talking to the boy!

    Now, I had gone to Catholic school when I was a kid and remember them telling us that masturbation was a “sin”. Yeah, that is what they teach and in this film, they lay that on pretty thick. What really bothered me about this whole film however was the mixing of what I know Catholic religious groups are like with what I know just never happens among them. All of the families belong to some kind of “community” that is more like a mix of Mormons and Pentecostalists. Catholics don’t place their hands on another’s forehead and have them fall back unconscious and babbling the way they do in Pentecostal groups. It just does not happen. They also do not stand in groups with their hands raised praising the Lord to crummy Jesus type songs. They only do that in other Christian type groups.

    So, if this story was actually based on a real event, it was a composite of many but never got into some of the really terrible things that actually have and do happen at religious camps. It was a total disappointment and did not deserve to be in the “Horror” category and did not merit an “R” rating, only PG-13 at best.

  4. this movie f@#$ing sucks..i hope it rots in hell and dies..i need to go watch a sinful movie now just so i feel normal again..what a god filled mind warp of a movie…screw religion and screw you

  5. I literally just watched the movie, I just saw it on a local redbox and thought it looked interesting because it had Jesse Elsenburg in it. The plot f*cking sucked! Jesse was there for like 3 minutes and the scene didnt even make sense at that point in the movie.I dont get how you can get off from dry humping for one and for two, even if you did so f*cking what! It wasnt sex, it was barely touching. I was confused as sh*t as to what they were trying to prove in this movie. Im a girl for movies, I love movies, I try to watch as much as I can and most are good, but you always have the horrible ones, so far this one is in my top 10 most HORRIBLE movies ever. They should have made the point and true events more clear. Ugh what a waste of my time, time for a smoke and the next movie on my list. Hopefully this movie will be worth my time, but I think ANY movie in the world will definately top “Camp Hell”

  6. THANK YOU! I desperately combed the interwebs looking for a Camp Hell “explanation” and you sound just as confused and resentful as I feel. Now I feel comfortable chalking it up to just being a terrible movie.

  7. And three years later people are still trying to figure out what the point was. I’ll be honest, I was looking for a schlock-fest to switch off to bit I figured out pretty soon that wasn’t on the cards. That was the last thing I figured out.

    I dozed off for a minute and I thought that that was why I couldn’t work out why the demon showed up. Did it live in the woods waiting for a teenager to have a wank? Did the priest cause it to appear by being a dick and some how corrupting the true meaning of faith? Did I really just watch a film where dry humping caused even temporary possessions? If so, why is the demon not hanging around in the ‘burbs where it could do the most damage? Is it a demon that just likes boys in khaki?

    Like the commenter above, I couldn’t figure out if it was a propaganda piece that had misfired or just a godawful piece of crap made by people that think that fundamentalism is bad but orgasms are much, much worse. Some great acting but a sh*tty script and terrible editing.


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