Camp Dread isn’t the most original of horrors. It’s a schlocky movie that tries to balance the 1980s style slasher movie with the modern day reality television phenomenon. The film stars scream queen Danielle Harris and Eric Roberts and a host of untalented unknowns. Sadly, the only thing that makes this low grade horror worthwhile is Roberts’ performance – and he is too good for this sort of drivel.
I have often said that what makes a great horror movie is the characters and Camp Dread features some truly atrocious leads. You don’t really care if they live or die, you just want get to the end of the film. This is never a good place to be, especially when it’s a film is supposed to entertain. Admittedly, Camp Dread features some good moments, it has a few inventive kills and the occasional interesting bit of dialogue but for the most part there isn’t much to recommend.
On a visual level Camp Dread isn’t much to write home about either. The cinematography is bit flat and it has that modern day digital sheen, a look that is becoming more and more frequent in low budget films. It would appear that slowly but surely the art of creating the beautiful image is slowly eroding. It is likely that this more anything is what will make or break the digital revolution. If you are just going to point a camera and shoot action then you have two make sure that you have a good script.
Aside from Roberts and Harris the acting in Harrison Smith’s shocker isn’t very good. In fact, it’s pretty bad. It could be that the script just isn’t up to scratch, but I don’t think it matters who’s delivering these lines. Smith appears to be trying to make a Scream style deconstruction of the horror genre, blending in a few modern touches but the ideas are just not there. The script isn’t cohesive and it just moves along aimlessly from one set piece to another, punctuated by poor dialogue.
Camp Dread is a film that will never be remembered. It’ll be forgotten, washed over and stuck in a discount rack only to be seen by a few unfortunates. Eric Roberts and Danielle Harris are better than this and there are more noble horror movies out there deserving of their talents. Having said all that, they got paid for it and I imagine it only took a few days to shoot their parts, so it could have been worse. Not by much though.