Starring: Eric Roberts, Danielle Harris, Kyle Patrick Brennan
Director: Harrison Smith
Has any single actor done more than Eric Roberts to help keep the bargain bins full of direct-to-DVD product? He’s back at it again with this solid Cabin in the Woods wannabe, in which he plays a washed-up horror movie director who gathers together a bunch of messed-up rich kids, supposedly to recreate in reality TV format his hit movie, Summer Camp, but something else appears to be going on as the youngsters start dying for real.
Roberts is as reliably sleazy and slimy as ever, when he’s around. Alas, he disappears from view for whole chunks of time, leaving you in the company of the usual round-up of knuckleheads, Barbies and emo girls. The murders come steadily but, apart from one where a guy gets beaten to death with his own artificial leg, they’re handled in a rather bloodless, routine manner until the last twenty minutes, when things get more lively and people start running around with machetes, and the movie makes a late claim for memorability with a scare gag wherein someone is struck dead with a severed head fired from a catapult. Keen to seem knowledgeably cynical about the nature of the film industry, Camp Dread is more ambitious than the superficially similar outward bound blood-fest I Didn’t Come Here To Die and it passes the time amiably enough, but it could have done with being helmed with more conviction.