I wonder how many great films fall completely under the radar of the masses, never to be seen. I’m sure there are tons of amazing horror films out there that I’ll never watch or never even hear of. It’s a shame, but it is an unfortunate reality. Luckily, I was able to watch at least one more of these films, as I fear Alberto Marini’s Summer Camp will fall tragically into this realm of unheard of gems.
Summer Camp tells the story of four American/English-speaking counselors who have volunteered to work at a Summer camp in Spain. Shortly after the group arrives on the grounds, things start to get out of control; Something is turning the group of strangers into blood-thirsty, rabid animals one by one. Now they must figure out what is causing the transformation and get the hell out of there, before it’s too late for them all.
I don’t know where the press was for this film, but I missed it all entirely. I saw no trailers, read no plot rundowns, and heard no reviews or ratings whatsoever. The first chance I had at hearing of the film’s existence was from the home release date announcement. On a whim, I decided to snag a copy of the DVD and I could not be happier with my decision to do so! Summer Camp is a great horror flick that needs to be seen by all.
Without reinventing the wheel entirely, first time director, Alberto Marini, and co-writer, Danielle Schleif, were able to breathe a revitalizing breath into the virus sub-genre. Summer Camp is well-written, well-thought-out, and highly entertaining from start to finish. The entire cast is extremely talented and the special effects are on par with all of the great films of this era.
I had no idea what Summer Camp was about upon pressing ‘play,’ but after the first 15 minutes or so, I was hooked. As soon as the first virus-inducing attack occurred, the level of tension was elevated to its pinnacle and did not let up one bit. With no lull in the action whatsoever, I watched like it was my first horror movie viewing ever. My eyes felt like they were as wide open as they have ever been as the characters on screen transformed into ravenous shells of their former tame selves. Beastly snarls, veiny complexion, blackened eyes, and drooling mouths were a perfect look to instill fear into viewers and it did so successfully.
I’ve seen a countless number of zombie/outbreak/virus films and I can’t remember the last time I got excited about one of the infected being on my television screen. This, my friends, is a true testament to the talent of the actors whom comprised the cast and to the impressive-looking special effects and make-up used to create such awesome transformations.
Summer Camp‘s main cast consists of Diego Boneta (television’s Scream Queens), Jocelin Donahue (The House of the Devil, Holidays), Maiara Walsh (VANish), and Andres Velencoso. I was extremely impressed with every single performance — Diego Boneta portrayed the sensible Will perfectly, while Jocelin Donahue’s pretty rich girl, Christy, was far from her innocent role in Ti West’s The House of the Devil, yet still executed flawlessly. Every one fed off of each other brilliantly, making it extremely difficult for me to choose who I liked the best.
I’m not sure if this film is known outside of the US on a larger scale, but I have yet to hear anyone mention anything about it here. I hope this review reaches some people, aiding in spreading the word of how great it truly is. Summer Camp isn’t a film that has new or inventive ideas, but its execution is amazing, making it one of the better horror films I’ve seen this year.
I cannot urge you enough to go out and purchase a copy today. It is now available on DVD, Digital HD, and On-Demand from Lionsgate.
Summer Camp deserves a final repulsive rating of 4 bitten off nipples out of 5 from yours truly.