Written by: Daniel Hadley
Directed by: Alberto Marini
Cast: Diego Boneta, Jocelin Donahue, Maiara Walsh
Right off the bat I’ll say that Summer Camp is a mixed bag. Llucky for us there’s slightly less garbage in this bag than good stuff, leaving us with a movie that’s weighted in the positive end of the movie spectrum. Summer Camp isn’t great, and it’s very nearly mediocre, but it does just enough to warrant an above average rating.
So the story is as follows: Four camp counsellors arrive at an English speaking summer camp in the countryside of Spain far from the nearest town. After an introduction to our four main characters – where each is made to run through the woods blindfolded with their hands tied behind their back (which to me just sounds incredibly dangerous, but they seemed to enjoy themselves), time speeds by and the characters are given a little more focus to develop. But something quickly goes wrong.
Shortly after the animals arrive at the camp one of the dogs goes all Cujo and murders all of its puppies before biting one of our trusty counsellors. A little while later people start to become infected with a rage inducing virus, not too dissimilar to what we’ve seen in 28 Days Later and its sequel. Although in Summer Camp the infected maintain their intelligence, so they are considerably more dangerous, able to wield weapons and operate door knobs and what not. Scary stuff, well sort of…
The problem with this movie is that while it is entertaining, the truth is it’s not scary in the least. The idea is pretty scary, although I’ve seen similar plots in a bunch of other movies. Lamberto Bava’s Demons springs to mind, although Demons is an infinitely better film.
The cast did their job well enough, although Jocelin Donahue, whom horror fans should recognize from House of the Devil and Insidious: Chapter 2 is largely wasted here, being given the role of the squeamish prissy girl. The other three leads are all fine, but there are no stand out performances here; on the positive side there are a couple of pretty good gore effects, one wince-inducing standout involves a cordless drill. Remaining on the positive there is one very satisfying death scene that was so very welcome when it came I let out a small sigh of relief. I would elaborate more, but this is a movie that is best enjoyed knowing as little as possible as there are few shining moments, and if you are privy to them beforehand they may be dulled somewhat. That’s not to say this movie is boring, because it’s not, it’s just kind of middling, leaning more towards good than bad.
The movie also breezes by with its brisk eighty-minute running time, so if you’re after a quick horror fix then Summer Camp should satisfy you for its short runtime. Just beware, you probably won’t remember too much about it the morning after.