Summer Camp DVD Review

  • Actors: Diego Boneta, Maiara Walsh, Jocelin Donahue, Andrés Velencoso
  • Director: Alberto Marini
  • Disc Format: Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
  • Studio: LIONSGATE
  • DVD Release Date: August 2, 2016
  • Run Time: 84 minutes

        Summer Camp is a mostly unoriginal infection/zombie film, with a title that sounds like a slasher from the 1980s. What little within Summer Camp that is original ends up mostly just confused rather than effective, making this film equal parts derivative and illogical. The result is either frustrating or hilarious, depending on your patience level and viewing state of mind. Either way, even the mildest of entertainment offered by Summer Camp is likely to wear off long before the brief 84-minute run-time begins to feel like an eternity.

        The basic premise of Summer Camp has four American counselors traveling to a castle in Spain to prepare for a camp. Not only is their need to travel to a different continent in order to work in a camp never properly explained, the setting of the castle is completely contradictory to the premise of the movie. There is also no staff to help them with the logistics of housing and feeding a group of kids, and these counselors seem to spend all of their time doing pointlessly dangerous teambuilding exercises in the surrounding woods. If you expect a movie that takes place during a summer camp, you will be surprised to find that the children don’t even arrive until the last few moments of the film.

        Despite some creepy red herrings suggesting a killer lurking nearby, the real danger arrives in the form of an infection. The origins of the disease and how it spreads remain a pointless mystery with plenty of misdirection along the way, but the basic effects remain the same as most zombie narratives. One distinguishing factor is the temporariness of the infection, though this leads to more illogical behavior than clever sequences. Horror movie characters don’t all need to be geniuses, but these four characters are so stupid that their inability to escape the danger eventually becomes comical.

        This is Italian director Alberto Marini’s first feature film, though he has had a rather successful career as a screenwriter and story supervisor thus far. This is why it is so shocking to find that the screenplay is one of the weakest elements of Summer Camp. Though, this is not to say that the rest is fantastic. The acting is passable, mostly just with consideration of what they had to work with. The look of the film itself is often extremely dark, and when the cinematography isn’t poorly lit, it often employs shaky camera movement to hide the lack of choreography in the action and missing dramatic stakes in the narrative. And the nearly non-existent special effects are enough to disappoint even the truly dedicated genre fans.

        The DVD release comes with a Digital HD copy of the film, but there are no extras on the disc itself.

Entertainment Value: 3.5/10
Quality of Filmmaking: 4/10
Historical Significance:  2/10
Special Features: 2/10

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