Camp Dread is a slasher movie, and it’s not a very good one. In fact, the only thing it has going for it is a cast featuring some people that horror fans will look forward to seeing. It’s a marketing ploy used again and again in the horror genre, and it’s one that I sometimes fall for, but it’s only REALLY effective when the star names are used well, or when the surrounding movie is good enough. Neither of those two options apply here.
Eric Roberts plays Julian Barrett, a director who seems to have his best years far behind him. He was a big name in the horror movie industry for a while, thanks to his slasher movies set in an isolated campsite, but the money and fame soon slipped through his fingers, to be replaced by a bad reputation and a lawsuit or two. Now he wants to return to the movies, but with a twist. A number of troubled youngsters have been selected to stay at the camp, with most of their activity recorded on camera, and one winner will leave with a cash prize. Unfortunately, the rest may end up dead.
Written and directed by Harrison Smith, at least it’s quite clear who can be blamed for this dull, and annoying, waste of time. One or two kills aside, this is a chore to get through. Smith seems so happy to have landed a few big names, and to have come up with a simple way to get lots of potential victims into a summer camp setting, that he appears to have forgotten to work on anything else, like characterisation, decent dialogue, ANY way to help viewers suspend disbelief, or any hint of originality. Of course, you don’t need all of those things in an entertaining slasher flick, but a) this isn’t entertaining and b) this has NONE of those things.
I won’t spend too much time criticising the cast members, because they weren’t really given much to work with. Montana Marks is quite cute, so that’s a plus (hey, sometimes you gotta take what you can from movies), and Nicole Cinaglia is okay, despite being stuck in full-on, brooding mode for the duration of the movie, but almost all of the characters are indistinguishable from one another, and hard to care about. Roberts seems to be having fun, probably more fun than viewers, and Felissa Rose tries her best, and Danielle Harris does fine in her small role. Be warned, fans of Harris will be disappointed to find out that she’s only in the movie for a few minutes.
This is the kind of movie that people make because they think it’s an easy thing to do. When the end result is this bad it just reminds people that anyone can make such a generic horror movie, but it takes talent and skill to turn it into something good.
Camp Dread is out on 23rd June, but I can’t recommend it.
WRITER/DIRECTOR: HARRISON SMITH
STARS: ERIC ROBERTS, FELISSA ROSE, DANIELLE HARRIS, NICOLE CINAGLIA, ALEXANDER MANDELL, JOE RAFFA, MONTANA MARKS
RUNTIME: 91 MINS APPROX