Before the kids arrive, Antonio always has
the counselors at Camp El Buho perform trust exercises, so he basically
deserves to die. He is also a real cad, but he is not the only staffer hoping
for extracurricular hook-ups. Unfortunately, they instead get a major dose of pathogen-based
infection horror in Alberto Marini’s Summer
Camp (trailer here), which screens as part of the Film Society of Lincoln Center’s Scary Movies 9.
El Buho is an English immersion camp, so Antonio
only hires native speakers. That means we are off the hook for subtitles. Both
he and Will have eyes for the adventurous Michelle and Christy, the spoiled
princess. Unfortunately, one of them goes stark raving nuts before they can put
the moves on anyone. And then there were three.
However, they learn too late the ill
effects of the infection are only temporary. In fact, this becomes a major
source of confusion for the surviving trio, as each counselor goes through
periods of enraged zombie-like infection and subsequent recovery, forcing them
to constantly shift their alliances, usually at the most awkward times.
Frankly, this macabre partner swapping gets down right inspired, as Marini maniacally
cranks up the paranoia.
Previously known for writing Sleep Tight and co-producing films in
the [REC] franchise, Marini shows
wicked talent for helming outrageous bedlam in his feature directorial debut.
Early on, he pulls off a devilish bit of misdirection and he keeps the
panic-driven narrative hurtling along at warp speed. He has an instinctive
sense of when to tease and when to payoff prior foreshadowing. He and
co-screenwriter Danielle Schleif have penned a delightfully slick and twisted
narrative that pays homage to 1980s dead camper horror films, but gives the
genre a series of new and fresh spins.
Arguably, the cast is not so much acting as
they are running like mad or ferociously tearing each other apart. Still, Diego
Boneta has his moments as his character, Will, takes one almighty beating. He
also foams at the mouth quite well, as do Jocelin Donahue and Maiara Walsh. They
are all well-served by the creepy old converted mansion that now serves as Camp
is hard to find fault with a film that suggests druggie squatters are major bad
news (like they didn’t have enough problems already). Although it is almost
entirely in English, Summer Camp might
be the best Spanish horror film since the second [REC] installment. Gleefully dark and grisly, it is the sort of film that reminds fans
why they dug the genre in the first place. Highly recommended for midnight
movie patrons, Summer Camp screens
this coming Monday (11/2) at the Walter Reade, as part of Scary Movies 9.
Labels: Horror Movies, Scary Movies 9, Spanish Cinema