Religious aspects in horror films often add that extra creepiness. It gives chills unattainable by other scary elements. “Camp Hell” takes that element and gives it an ominous and inauspicious backdrop.
The story follows children of a Christian community in the suburbs of Jersey. These children attend Camp Hope as summer vacation winds down. Of course, this camp is located deep in the forest, because that is where there are no distractions, no bothersome evils of the real world and, of course, no help. Right there, stop, please, the plot just fell into a ravine. It’s simply not believable anymore. It’s a set up that has been played time and time again. It’s so blatant that the only reason the deep and unforgiving forests of these horror flicks are there is because it’s the only way to keep the plot somewhat believable in the area of salvation. You can’t be saved so easy when you are tucked away in the woods.
Leaving the scenery behind and propelling the story further, the children are taught the ways of the Lord and the dangers of the devil. A charismatic priest leads these teachings, but what he doesn’t know is that he has brought an evil with him. Sitting in a mental institution is a boy … a boy who claims he has gone through similar events in the past … a boy nobody believes. Again, I fear the plot is generic in its horror quest. There’s only so many similar story-lines we can have shoved down our throats before we realize we know the entire outcome of the film, thereby making the film unworthy of seeing.
Will I see this film when it is released on DVD? Of course. Let’s face it, us horror junkies can scrutinize a plot’s predictability and generic substance to its very core and yet we can’t help but watch — in the anticipation that THIS is the one, this is the one that’s really going to get under our skin and really going to bring with it a re-imagined and fresh approach to horror films. That being said, it is rare that we are right.
Judging by the trailer, I found myself more excited that Jesse Eisenberg (“The Social Network,” “Cursed”) is playing the boy who lived in the cuckoo’s nest. Dana Delaney, Will Denton, Andrew McCarthy, and Bruce Davison also star in “Camp Hell” and they are the reason that I will absolutely be checking out this film.
Expectations are low, this way if there is a glimmer of originality, or a spark of fear, I can not only say I was wrong, but can add a new horror film to my shelf.
“Camp Hell” arrives on DVD Aug. 9.
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