Camp Blood (2000)

Brad Sykes' no-budget slasher horror is let down by lackluster scripting. Prism DVD UK R0 DVD.

The Film

Two bird watchers are hacked to pieces in a forest by a killer in a clown mask. Later, four friends plan to go camping in the same forest, they take a local guide who tells them the story of the killer around the camp fire. The next morning the group awaken to find their guide dead and they start to get picked off one by one by the clownfaced killer...

Writer/director Brad Sykes, according to his profile, graduated from the Boston University film academy, worked for Paramount pictures and had won screen writing acclaim during the 1990s. His screenwriting on Camp Blood would belie this. The production was obviously very low budget and the writer seems to have used this as an excuse to justify a threadbare plot and non-existent characterisation or tension - certainly there is no reason for making the main characters so annoying, Jay in particular spends most of the film swearing and acting unpleasantly.

While realism is hardly a concern of most slasher horror films, there seems to be no attempt to make the scenario plausible, the group set off on their hike with no gear or food and they seem to have no interest at all in the outdoors. Plot wise, the first half just consists of finding the camp and the second just running from the killer so accordingly the pacing is very much on the slow side, things finally pick up towards the end with what looks to be an attempt at an interesting twist, but it all ends without any resolution as though Skyes did not know what to do with the ideas. Even exploitation, where most low budget horrors can make themselves interesting, is somewhat lacking, the only nudity comes in the prologue and with such a small cast there are few kills.

Behind the camera, Sykes does a more assured if uninspired job and the film never escapes its low budget feel, originally filmed in 3D (although this print was flat), there are a few of the usual 'in your face' shots. The bloody effects are blood heavy with only minimal gore, but generally look quite good, although the film is let down by very poor location choices - this remote woodland just looks like a country park and there is clearly graffiti on the rocks and a road bridge in the background during one scene. The music is a mix of generic cues.

Acting is better than expected for the genre, particularly considering the mediocre script. Perhaps most amusing is that the annoying Jay character is played by my namesake.

It would be unfair to criticise a lot of Camp Blood - the obviously tiny budget means that this production was always going to be very limited and the actors and production team seem to be doing their best, however there is no excuse for such a lazily written script, nor the annoying characters. One to miss.

In Brief
Anyone famous in it? No-one
Directed by anyone interesting? Brad Sykes - director of a few small horror films including Witchcraft XII: In the Lair of the Serpent (2002) and Plaguers (2008).
Any gore or violence ? A little blood but nothing gory.
Any sex or nudity? One brief topless scene at the beginning.
Who is it for? Not recommended to anyone.

Visuals Original aspect ratio - 1.33:1 fullscreen. Colour
Picture quality looks to be shot on video, but colours are completely out, possibly due to 3D process.
Audio English stereo - sounds okay.
Subtitles None
Extras The disc includes:
  • Trailer
Region Region 0 (ALL) - PAL
Availability Available on its own or in various multi-pack incarnations..
Other regions? Available in the US with red/blue anaglyph 3D variant.
Cuts? Believed to be fully uncut. Titles and credits are in English.



All text in this review written by Timothy Young - 23rd March 2012.
Text from this review not to be used without authorization.

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