Camp Hell (2011)

There are not enough synonyms to describe how boring Camp Hell is, but here’s a few anyway: dull, uninteresting, cloying, lifeless, monotonous, long-winded, yawn worthy, soporific, and a total mega-blah fest. Apparently sloths are so slow they have moss growing on them. This shit’s got trees.

Tommy Leary (Will Denton) is having nightmares about a demonic figure. They’re snappy and ridiculous and ultimately very disturbing for him. This is more worrying because he’s been packed off to Camp Hope, a Bible camp for suburbanite children, where “sins of the flesh” is strictly forbidden (along with rock music, comic books, wanking and basically everything else a teenage boy needs in order to survive his adolescence).

Naturally everything does not run smoothly and after a lengthy introduction to the camp and its people, naughty Tommy goes for a dry hump jean-jizz in the woods with one of the girls and unleashes a demonic force on the camp. This might sound exciting. It’s not. The demonic force is simply very irritating and massively random.

Possibly preachy, possibly anti-religious, possibly the most boring film I’ve watched all year, Camp Hell finishes of the 2011 horror calendar with a pathetic wet slap rather than a huge bang.

One of the main problems with Camp Hell is how it’s a giant sack of lying filth. IMDB claims it was made in 2010, but the Camp Hope banner and T-Shirt suggest it was actually 2007. Released almost 5 years after it was made? That’s a good sign! But that’s because the likes of Connor Paolo and Jesse Eisenberg are actually more well known now. Ah yes… the curious case of Jesse Eisenberg. Check out the posters below:

If you’re thinking “Hey, wow, Jess Eisenberg’s in it! The guy from Zombieland and Oscar-winning The Social Network! Awesome!” then prepare to be severely disappointed (as well as bored). Eisenberg is in Camp Hell for less than six minutes in two scenes, both of which feel superfluous and don’t affect our main character.

It is shameless stuff and the DVD cover is so incredibly misleading that Eisenberg is actually suing Lionsgate Entertainment for three million dollars! Apparently he was paid three thousand dollars – a fee significantly lower than his usual appearance fee, poor him – and was therefore rightfully surprised to find his face splattered over all the marketing material. Eisenberg fans should avoid Camp Hell. Wait, I mean film fans should avoid Camp Hell.

So what are the plus points for Camp Hell? Connor Paolo of Stake Land fame is superb, playing the roguish Jack, whilst Oscar-nominee Bruce Davison gives a reserved but otherwise excellent performance as Father Phineas McAllister. In fact, all the actors give decent performances, it’s just they have absolutely nothing compelling to work with.

The fault of Camp Hell lies directly on George VanBuskirk’s shoulders. The writer / director based this film on true events and then filmed it like a cripplingly dull documentary. There are moments of intrigue and surprise violence, but otherwise it’s a long trudge through boredom city, destination: nowhere.

Camp Hell is dullness heaped on lies. I might join Jesse Eisenberg in suing Lionsgate Entertainment, but not because they’re stealing my face for advertising purposes, but because they stole some of my life and I want it back. Avoid this unless you’re an insomniac looking for an instant cure. Camp Hell is not worth your time.

Rating: ★★★☆☆☆☆☆☆☆

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