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Sleepaway Camp 2: Unhappy Campers

Reviewed By Scott Weinberg
Posted 05/03/04 20:28:17

"Stupid as hell, but there's a whole LOT of nasty stuff for the Gorehounds."
3 stars (Average)

If you’re rating slasher flicks based solely on the volume and creativity of the onscreen kills, Michael Sampson’s "Sleepaway Camp II: Unhappy Campers" deserves a spot in the top ten.

As opposed to the quality storytelling that most films aspire for, this movie has its sights aimed considerably lower: a few sly references to other slasher flicks, several bare breasts, and a schoolbus full of horrible murders.

In other words, the movie’s a lot of fun.

Infusing an altogether addicting sense of oddball humor to the gruesome precedents set in the original film, Sleepaway Camp II may be a prototypical ‘guilty pleasure’ movie, and it’s one that should certainly please fans of the blood-soaked genre.

The sequel opens with a few cornball campfire tales before one of the campers offers the story of what went on in Part 1. (Clever way to please fans of the original while bringing the newcomers up to speed.) Those wondering if Angela would reappear need not worry, as she shows up very early and starts the massacre off in quick fashion. Gone is the ‘whodunit’ aspect of the original film; Angela is our slasher, and damn if this girl’s not pretty good at it!

Since this is about when I start mentioning aspects of the movie’s plot, I’ll instead use this opportunity to inform you that this film doesn’t have one. Seemingly inspired by a few of the better Friday the 13th films, this nasty little nugget is about nothing more than graphic murders and a few clever gags. Luckily, both work well here. (Try not to cringe as the camp’s mega-bitch is forcibly drowned in a poop-and-leech-infested outhouse commode!)

Pamela Springsteen (yes, Bruce’s sister) plays the pious psychopath with equal parts sweetness and fury, and the actress makes Angela’s motivations quite clear: do anything ‘wrong’ and I’ll most likely bash your head in with the closest tree limb. I realize that she’s had a rather difficult childhood, but Angela’s concept of ‘wrong’ is pretty damn strict! All a fellow camper has to do is have sex, drink, smoke, swear, or spit on the sidewalk and you can guarantee they’ll be dead real soon. One gal gets offed just because she’s a chatterbox! Angela may be an effective killer, but she really does need to chill out a little bit.

Boasting a few truly memorable gore scenes and a playful tone of self-mocking simplicity, Sleepaway Camp II is not only an improvement on the original; I’d call it one of the more entertaining low-rent slashers out there. On a ‘normal movie’ scale, it’d rate the thing pretty damn low, but the healthy body count and copious gore rates this a “Must-See” for any self-respecting horror freak.

This DVD comes as part of Anchor Bay’s 3-disc “Sleepaway Camp Survival Kit”, which includes all three films - each with its own commentary track and small handful of extras - and comes housed in a rather cool slide-out case that looks like a First-Aid kit covered in blood. Once again, the fine folks at Anchor Bay deliver the goods for all us 30-year-old gorehounds.

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