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1 review, 1 rating

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Camp Daze
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by Jay Seaver

"Makes me glad I never went to camp."
2 stars

SCREENED AT THE 2006 BOSTON UNDERGROUND FILM FESTIVAL: Know what's tiresome? "Jokes" about a previous decade's pop culture and fashions. Horror movie characters who are conversant in horror movie clichés. Stories that just don't make any sense when a couple seconds worth of thought. When a movie's got all that working against it, well, it had better have some quality sex and violence going for it. "Camp Daze" ("Camp Slaughter" on video) makes a valiant stab at making it work, but winds up being for gorehounds only.

After a teaser for what happened 24 years ago, we get horror movie set-up #3: Vade (Eric McIntire) is driving his sister Angela (Joanna Suhl) to an appointment in Boston, with friends Mario (Matt Dallas) and Jen (Anika C. McFall) in tow. They run out of gas in the Maine woods and get freaked out when a scene right out of a horror movie plays out in front of them. When they wake the next morning, though, nothing appears to have happened, and the teenagers from nearby Camp Hiawatha offer to help - looking like they've stepped straight out of a picture from 1981.

So, things proceed in a fairly predictable fashion - we're invited to snicker at the short-shorts Nicole (Ashley Gomes) wears, the obnoxious cheeriness of Daniel (Kyle Lupo) and Ivan (Jon Fleming), Ruben (Miles Davis, who really should look into a stage name) not having as easy a time coming out of the closet as Mario, and heavy junior councilor Michelle (Bethany Taylor) being the best archer there. There's also a caretaker, Lou (Jim Marlow), who keeps out of the kids' way, and a whole bunch of other campers to be killed off in various fashions.

It's a good thing writer Draven Gonzalez and director Alex Pucci are so good at dispatching unfortunate teenagers, because it's a deeply stupid movie. Okay, I admit that a many people find the "look, it's tacky eighties fashions" thing a lot funnier than I do, and I don't say they're wrong to do so. It just strikes me as lazy, like creating the illusion of a joke without an actual punchline. And maybe others will have more tolerance for Jen repeating the litany of "haven't you ever seen a Jason movie" to the uncomprehending teenagers, which is both early-eighties-specific and not nearly as cleverly self-referential as it would like to be. But when the movie gets to the reason why the camp is straight out of 1981 - and it's exactly what you'd expect - then the number 8,700 leaps to mind. The sheer illogic of the movie's second half is so overwhelming as to destroy any hope of suspense; how can you have any stake in what's going to happen next if the characters' behavior doesn't fit the situation.

So we wind up marking time between (literally) visceral thrills, with gallon upon gallon of corn syrup spilled. Heads make squishy noises, and bloody bits that should be inside bodies get snagged on pointy things. It's gory fun, and it's not hard to get caught up when the movie goes into rampage mode, wiping out anonymous (and not-so-anonymous) characters in rapid bloody succession.

But after that, you're left with how stupid the story that got you there was. If you're just looking for and hour and a half of blood and guts, this will get it done.

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originally posted: 04/04/06 23:38:04
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2006 Boston Underground Film Festival For more in the 2006 Boston Underground Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

5/19/06 jesse worth plot bad/kids cute. i thought angela was hot and my friend julie thought mario was cute. 4 stars
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Directed by
  Alex Pucci

Written by
  Draven Gonzalez

  Kyle Lupo
  Matt Dallas
  Joanna Suhl
  Anika C. McFall
  Eric McIntire
  Miles Davis

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