An Angry Nerd Movie Review: Bloody Summer Camp
So I recently got the opportunity to get an advanced screener of Bloody Summer Camp, a movie that I’ve been looking forward to and which I backed when it was in its crowdfunding stage. I’ve been patiently waiting to see what writer/director Dave Kerr could do with the talented group he had assembled. Then I watched the movie.
I was not disappointed.
From the opening scene, you can see the love for the classic slasher genre with the age-old trope of the car breaking down and the first two characters we meet deciding to set up and tent and sleep in the woods on their way to Camp Trustfall. They are of course brutally murdered and it was here that I jotted down my first note: “Amber Fulcher FX are INSANE”. I won’t spoil what it was that was done, but she did some amazing work on a specific type of kill that I have seen done over and over but rarely done well. Amber’s FX work on this kill was extremely well-done, and I was immensely impressed.
We are soon introduced to the rest of the cast, and there is clearly something amiss at Camp Trustfall and the surrounding area, but you’re never quite sure what. To me, this is a sign of good storytelling, because the rug is constantly pulled out from under you throughout the movie. As many characters are introduced, that’s how many suspects you have behind the killings. You only cross a name off your list of possible perpetrators when that individual is slain, usually in a fantastic fashion. There are certainly homages to many of the classic “camp” movies of the genre, obviously Friday the 13th and with Felissa Rose being in this, you had to expect some sort of callback to her breakthrough role in Sleepaway Camp.
One of the best things in this film, in my humble opinion, was the fact that as the film progresses, you’re led to think certain things that may or may not be entirely accurate, and there is a lot going on behind the scenes that we don’t know about, which may or may not impact the final outcome. For example, you learn about the child who died at the camp, and the story told by counselors to scare people and later you get to meet his vengeful mother in an intense scene. You also learn the truth behind what really happened and how it impacts the camp and how things are done there.
I really enjoyed the dynamic between the actors. They were believable, and you just might change your mind about a couple of them. When I was first watching this, I was trying to figure out who I was rooting for to make it through to the end and I was having a tough time. Most of the male characters were unlikeable, but that was by design. Each of the actors played their roles incredibly well, with believable dialogue. In so many indie films, people say things that seemed forced or contrived, but this seemed like natural conversational flow, and I liked that.
Felissa Rose of course does a wonderful job in her role as Michelle Crowell who runs the camp and is a force to be reckoned with, and Dave Sheridan as Sheriff Wilmore worked really well for me. He possessed the arrogance of someone who controls their world, despite the fact that reality and his perception were often very different. Initially, I didn’t care for Cody Faulk’s Todd, but he grew on me to the point that I was rooting for him, which was a complete turnaround from my first reaction to his character. I really enjoyed Bobby Langford as Bob Lahey who really seemed to take his role and make it his own, and even with limited screen time, he still commanded respect. Matthew Sharpe and Wayne Townsend as Zach and Michael respectively also crushed their roles, as did Michael McGlynn as Roger, who affected a wacky speech pattern and grating voice that fit his character perfectly. But for my money, the best performance was Christian Jensen’s Larry. He was a guy you truly wanted to see get his comeuppance. He was an absolute dickhead to everyone except Michelle because she could fire him. He even referred to people in the kitchen as the wrong names because he felt so emboldened by his position. I loved it. He was rude, crass, petty, and vindictive – and I loved every second of his performance. He was gross and over the top and I think his ultimate fate was perfectly executed.
There really isn’t anything that I can complain about the was this movie was executed. The music was great (credit to Adam Robertson for that), Owen D. Young’s cinematography gave you an immersive experience with the various points of view and different angles at which you could see various scenes unfolding. The writing was great, and the way the cast delivered their lines and played their characters made this an incredibly enjoyable film for me. This is one that really lived up to the hype that I had in my head for it, and as much as I like to pick movies apart for inconsistencies, I was unable to do that with this film.
I highly recommend seeing this movie, buy the physical media, buy any merch that they offer! I am patiently waiting for the perks I ordered, and I can’t wait to get my own physical copies, as well as the other random things I ordered. I love supporting independent creators, it’s something that is extremely important to me. If you are someone who is tired of the same old prequels, sequels, remakes, reboots, and reimaginings, support indie creators! They’re the ones pumping out the original stories and original characters! Put your money where your mouth is and prove that you want new stuff, otherwise you’re going to end up with an endless parade of cheap cash grabs and sequels with actors who no longer want to play their roles because they’ve been doing it for 20+ years and they’re tired of only being known for one thing.
Bloody Summer Camp is a fun slasher with great kills, great practical effects, and the exact right amount of nudity, and in all the right places. It wasn’t gratuitous, it was exactly what was needed and exactly what the situations would have entailed (both gore and boobs). Nothing was forced, nothing seemed unnatural. The actors made their characters believable, and the ending left room for a sequel, and I’m all for seeing that happen.