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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Camp Massacre
Camp Massacre
Other // Unrated // May 19, 2015
List Price: $24.95 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Jeremy Biltz | posted June 3, 2015 | E-mail the Author
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C O N T E N T
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The Movie:
Reality TV has been used as an element in a lot of horror films lately: sometimes as a convenient excuse for horror films to get away with the found footage format, sometimes just reflecting its ubiquity in modern life. At times it works, as with the fine films Delivery or The Taking of Deborah Logan. At other times, it doesn't work so well, as with Jim O'Rear's film Camp Massacre, originally titled Fat Chance, which is centered around a weight loss camp reality show.

The film begins with three women planning on stepping out on the town, one of which is played by former pornographic actress Bree Olson. Before five minutes is up, we've seen Bree naked in the shower and she's dead, and these events don't seem particularly connected to the rest of the film. We move now to the camp, and meet Warren Gilley, played by co-director Jim O'Rear. He desperately wants this show to work, and is willing to do just about anything to make that happen. Natalie (Ava Cronin) is co-producer and all around assistant, Stefani (Megan Hunt is the sweetheart of a nurse, and Dr. Bartok (Carl Donovan) is the slightly too intense physician whose plan the weight loss regimen is based on. Is one of them secretly a vicious killer?

And then we meet the rotund contestants, who are too numerous to list. Little character development is done beyond "fat and nice", "fat and gay", "fat and goth", "fat and conniving", etc. Of course, we are meant to identify with the fat and nice one, Jeremy (Nick Huntsman), who develops romantic feelings toward Stefani, somewhat reciprocated. But what about the murders? That's what you really want to know about. Well, there are a number of murders, and the effects for these are actually pretty good. When people start disappearing, Gilley calls in a security consultant named Ritz, played by ex-wrestler Al Snow. But that doesn't stop the mayhem. Contestants and employees continue to die and disappear until we reach the inevitable and bloody conclusion.

Notice I didn't say "exciting" or "riveting" or "compelling" conclusion. That is because neither the film as a whole, nor the climax are any of these things. Camp Massacre purports to be a horror comedy, or at least wants its audience to view it that way. Unfortunately, it is neither scary nor funny, which would seem to be fatal flaws in this equation. The humor consists mostly of fat jokes poorly executed, with scatological and sexual humor thrown in for good measure. Most of the weight jokes are at the expense of the characters and mean spirited. In fact, the entire film is mean spirited and unfunny. The moment when a woman is straddling an obese man and asks him to eat a turkey leg while they copulate as it excites her sexually was particularly off putting. And this is but one example of off putting events and situations. The entire movie is like this. It was not an enjoyable experience watching it.

It seems that Jim O'Rear and Daniel Emery Taylor were genuinely trying to deliver a fun, campy, sexy slasher film. They were just lazy about it, taking the easy path at every turn. There's nothing easier than a fat joke or a bare breast in this kind of film. I don't object to either one on principle, but there has to be something more going on. Camp Massacre had the crudest, simplest jokes and the most pointless, shoe horned in nudity that I've seen in quite some time, and I tend to watch movies where these things aren't exactly rare. But this film just can't be bothered to come up with anything cleverer. The kills are moderately cool, the effects are good, but that's about all that's going for it. And for all that mediocrity, it's almost an hour and ten minutes long! Skip It.

The DVD

Video:
The image is 1.78:1 widescreen, and looks okay. There isn't really obvious grain or color washout or other issue. It's a decent looking movie.

Sound:
The audio is Dolby digital 2 channel, and is okay, though the dialogue is rather muffled and echo-y from time to time. Aside from that, no issues like hiss are audible. No subtitles or alternate language tracks are included.

Extras:
The only extra is a trailer for the film.

Final Thoughts:
Camp Massacre is too long by forty minutes, poorly thought out and haphazardly executed. Some of the performances are okay, and Al Snow is actually fun to watch. But a lot of the time it seems as if the actors are ad libbing, and not given the chance to work on it enough to get the timing or other performance beats down. The film is neither scary nor funny. Don't waste your time.

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