Tuesday, July 6, 2010

MOVIE REVIEW: Return to Sleepaway Camp

Sleepaway Camp is one of my favourite horror films. So when I found out Robert Hiltzik, the writer/director of the first film, was making a sequel which would star Felissa Rose, Jonathan Tiersten and Paul DeAngelo (Angela, Ricky and Ronnie, in the first film) I was thrilled. So thrilled that I waited two years until it came on TV so I could watch it for free.

I read several negative reviews of Return to Sleepaway Camp prior to watching it, which is one of the reasons I waited so long to see it. I ended up enjoying it a bit more than everyone else - probably because I lowered my expectations so much. But it's still not a great film or comparable to the first Sleepaway Camp.

It's summertime at Camp Manabe - formerly Camp Arawak - and a series of unfortunate "accidents" take place, causing co-owner Ronnie to suspect that Angela Baker is back to continue the gory murders she started 20 years ago.

The main character, Alan, was so irritating I just wanted him to die a slow and painful death the entire time he was onscreen. Alan was an immature asshole who was constantly whining about everybody picking on him. But everyone only teased Alan because he was a jerk, so it was impossible to emphasize with him. In the beginning of the film, I thought Alan was going to die first because he was so annoying and everyone hated him. Sadly, I was wrong.

The film doesn't focus on any of the other characters. When some of them were killed off I didn't even remember seeing them earlier. And all of the campers looked like they were 18, while all the counselors looked like they were 30.

The death scenes were pretty creative, but in order to happen the characters had to be unfathomably stupid (after seeing a sharp stick poke through a hole in the floor, one brilliant character decides to peer through the hole for five minutes), which took the fun out of them.

I already knew the "twist" ending because it is revealed on the Return to Sleepaway Camp IMDb page. But it's obvious, and I (hopefully) would've figured it out quickly, had I not already known what it was. I didn't expect this film to include a surprise ending though. The first film already had one of the most shocking endings I've ever seen and I don't know what other surprising secrets could be revealed about Angela.

The most exciting aspect of the film is also the biggest letdown. Felissa Rose reprises her role as Angela but she's only onscreen for a few minutes at the end of the film! Same with Jonathan Tiersten, who stars once again as Ricky, but is only in a few brief scenes. And the late Issac Hayes (voice of Chef in South Park) appears in his last role as Charlie the Chef. Which was awesome, except for the fact that he was barely in the film either.

Okay, all I've done in this review is bitch even though I've already stated that I didn't hate the film. And I didn't - it mildly entertained me, so I'm going to give it a 3/5. But I wouldn't recommend it to anyone else, unless you lower your expectations as far as they will go, like I did.

Robert Hiltzick is currently making a 3D follow-up to this film, Sleepaway Camp Reunion, which stars Alexis Bledel (Rory from Gilmore Girls!) and will be released in late 2010 or early 2011. It will show the return of Aunt Martha as well as Angela and Ricky Baker.

Rating: 3/5


Anonymous said...

"So thrilled that I waited two years until it came on TV so I could watch it for free."
Now that's funny!
I actually have never watched Sleep Away Camp, since everyone out there has already spilled the ending all over the internet, but, I would still like to see it even though I already know big twist at the end.
Great review
Dreaded Dreams
Petunia Scareum

Melissa Helwig said...

Thanks. You should still watch Sleepaway Camp even though you know the ending.

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