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DVD Review: ‘Camp Dread’

There are not a lot of great direct-to-video horror offerings. Sometimes one may sneak through the cracks, typically a theatrically intended film that gets dumped by the studio: e.g. Tucker & Dale vs. Evil — but these are very few and far between. In the case of Camp Dread, writer/director Harrison Smith has managed to take a good idea and completely ruin his own end game with horrible acting and pedestrian directing choices. Not even adding established actors (Eric Roberts and Danielle Harris) to the mix results in much more than what you’d expect from a direct-to-video production. In Camp…

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Summary : More like "Camp Dread"-ful.

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There are not a lot of great direct-to-video horror offerings. Sometimes one may sneak through the cracks, typically a theatrically intended film that gets dumped by the studio: e.g. Tucker & Dale vs. Evil — but these are very few and far between. In the case of Camp Dread, writer/director Harrison Smith has managed to take a good idea and completely ruin his own end game with horrible acting and pedestrian directing choices. Not even adding established actors (Eric Roberts and Danielle Harris) to the mix results in much more than what you’d expect from a direct-to-video production.

Eric Roberts, Danielle Harris, Camp DreadIn Camp Dread, aging horror director Julian Barrett (Roberts) has fallen from grace after a successful 1980s slasher trilogy called Summer Camp. Julian wants to resurrect his series and remake his films in the guise of a reality show in which a group of troubled 20-somethings are shipped to what they believe is an alternative to jail or rehab. Instead, Julian informs them that they are all reality show contestants, with a $1 million prize up for grabs for the last one standing. However, elimination takes on a literal meaning when a killer starts taking them out for real and Julian’s “Dead.tv” show starts to take on a far more sinister reality.

Roberts and Harris are the only ones who show any real acting ability, which comes as no surprise considering they’re actual (B-list) movie stars. But the rest of the cast are your typical horror clichés, ranging from horny jokesters to bimbo lesbians. Poor Harris is completely wasted and limited to two scenes. The gore effects are mediocre at best with some rather uninspired killings, the only original kill being an amputee who gets beaten to death with his own prosthetic leg after his good leg suffers a compound fracture. The rest are your typical slashings and stabbings. Bet you can guess what’s coming when the kitchen freezer is said to have a broken latch and a character says, “Hopefully, no one loses their head.” To sum it up, Camp Dread is more like Camp Dread-ful.

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About Cinenerd

A Utah based writer, born and raised in Salt Lake City, UT for better and worse. Cinenerd has had an obsession with film his entire life, finally able to write about them since 2009, and the only thing he loves more are his wife and their two wiener dogs (Beatrix Kiddo and Pixar Animation). He is accredited with the Sundance Film Festival.
  • JJ Jonah

    This was a weak review and soiled with personal opinion all around. The film actually received good reviews from multiple sites and critics which is how I found out about it. The acting is not great but some of the actors do well enough to get the story across and let you know what’s happening with each character. I do agree that the only good original kill was the amputee being beaten to death. That actor’s performance was also very believable. The film started slow at first but picks up and over all it is a fun film. Cinenerd is the first person I seen to give it a bad review and its his opinion but the film is better than that sorry excuse of a review he gave. Didn’t even touch on the pacing, cinematography or anything really. I gave the film 3/5. Cinenerds review has a 1/5 from me for pure lack of info.