ARROW IN THE HEAD REVIEWS

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Summer Camp (2015)
Written by: The Arrow
Director: Alberto Marini

Starring:
Diego Boneta/Will
Jocelin Donahue/Christy
Andres Velencoso/Antonio
Maiara Walsh/Michelle
6 10
PLOT-CRUNCH
Four camp counselors prep up a campground before a slew of brats are to show up and drive them nuts. Their progress is slowed down via an “infection” that drives people mad!
THE LOWDOWN
SUMMER CAMP is REC franchise producer and screenwriter in his own rights Alberto Marini’s directorial debut. And for his first merry-go-slash behind the camera he decided to take on a subject matter that is very close to the successful series he has helped streamline: kids Vs. infected peeps… but with a twist! Personally, I’m f*cking sick and tired of the “infected” subgenre. It gained heat with 28 Days Later and for me it ended with REC 2; so when I realized that’s what this flick was about, I groaned “oh no, not again”. On that once this baby got kicking, I got some smiles out of it.

After a cringe inducing first act (more on that below); SUMMER CAMP finally got its shit together and delivered a fast paced and grisly ride. Talk about pulling a complete 180 – SUMMER CAMP went from garbage to fun stuff, just like that! And the more the clock ticked forward the bolder and the cleverer the film became. The flick slyly toyed with our pre conceived notions of the “infected” subgenre to mess with us in terms of the HOW and WHY behind the madness. The flick did the same thing with the usual tropes that come with these types of films. It often would lead me into one direction and then BAM, backhand me stupid with a sudden and unexpected turn of events.  But the biggest asset this one sported was the “twist” that it tagged on to the whole “infected” spiel. Now I won’t spoil it here cause I’m not that a-hole, but I will that say that it definitely elevated was could have been just “more of the same” and gave the chain of events an added layer of fun and oomph.

Another plus was that the film wisely used the themes of “trust/mis-trust” in terms of our four leads. They didn’t know who to trust and neither did I and that sly “The Thing-ish" game kept me on my toes.  Casting wise, although Maiara Walsh, Andres Velencoso and Diego Boneta did fine with the flawed screenplay they were given, it was Jocelin Donahue that stole the show as the spoiled and cunning hottie; her character made the boldest of moves and that resulted in her being more interesting to me. Add to that a glossy look, some visceral gore moments, a handful of effective jump scares, a healthy mean streak and a deliciously bleak sense of humor and you get a fluffy yet witty horror ride! 

Alas, the first act of the movie was so painful to sit through I almost walked out right f-ing there. The dense set up/chain of events was laborious to endure, the acting was totally off, the dialogue made my ears (and ass) bleed (that whole girl has to call her mom spiel was so mishandled, it was embarrassing) and the characterization was so stale that it made this crap that I’m writing right now sound interesting. Thankfully I stuck with the movie and got rewarded for it. Finally the thing had its fair share of dumb character moves to serve the plot and an ending that had me divided split in the middle: on one end it was VERY clever, on the other end though it came with a mammoth plot hole that somewhat urinated on what it had just achieved.

At the end of the neck snap though; SUMMER CAMP wound up being a clipped paced, messy and wittier than the norm offering. Worth at least one watch, if you're able to tough out that cringe inducing first act!

GORE
We get a lot of gory surprises here and they are one of the film’s main strengths hence I won’t spoil them. Trust me though, you will see red (and lots of black goo)!
T & A
Everybody kept their tops on! What kind of summer camp is this???!
BOTTOM LINE
Once it’s sloppy, badly written first act was out of the way, SUMMER CAMP wound up being a gory, funny, mean spirited and fairly ingenious ride. One that took what we know about the “infected” subgenre and used it against us while tagging a fresh twist on it all that gave the whole a much needed boost. Yeah that first act blew goats, we got some dumb moves to serve the plot and the clever finale was semi ruined by that huge gaping plot hole tagged to its ass but on the whole, I saw it, had some fun, nobody got hurt, I wrote this shit and now I'm out of here...
BULL'S EYE
Scheduling conflicts resulted in Álex González being replaced by Andrés Velencoso.

Jocelin Donahue played Young Lorraine in Insidious: Chapter 2 and was the lead in The House of the Devil.
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