Writer Alex Carl and director Andy Palmer (Witness Infection, Badlands Of Kain) combine two of the genre’s favourite tropes, ghost hunters desperate for ratings and a summer camp slaughter to create Camp Cold Brook. The result is certainly not what the plot or title would lead you to expect.
Jack (Chad Michael Murray, House Of Wax, Riverdale) is the lead investigator on the show Haunt Squad. He and the rest of the squad Emma (Candice De Visser, The Funhouse Massacre), Angela (Danielle Harris, Inoperable, Redwood Massacre: Annihilation) and Kevin (Michael Eric Reid, The Honor Farm) have a problem. Their network boss (Courtney Gains, Await the Dawn, Candy Corn) has informed them that short of a miracle this will be their last season.
So they gamble on Camp Cold Brook. Site of a bible camp until a murder/suicide took the lives of several children. Little known and seriously haunted it seems like a perfect choice. Of course, they find something they weren’t expecting. But for once, it’s something the audience wasn’t expecting either.
The first surprise is, unlike so many ghost hunter films from Grave Encounters to Investigation 13, Camp Cold Brook isn’t a found footage film. I’ve been slowly warming up to that format, but I’m still glad to see this break the mould and film conventionally.
Secondly, Camp Cold Brook doesn’t rely on kills and disfigured ghosts for shocks. It takes a very old fashioned approach that relies on tension and suspense. I certainly would have liked to have seen more of the ghost kids. I can also see the logic in keeping them in the shadows while concentrating on the bigger story. That of the witch and her revenge.
Unfortunately, that involved pulling a few revelations out of nowhere in Camp Cold Creek’s final act. These should have been set up, and more fully explored, earlier in the film. Instead, they feel more like convenient devices to wrap the plot up fast. This is unfortunate as they make sense and fit the plot, they’re just very poorly presented. And one very intriguing statement, “You know what we did”, is left hanging. I have my suspicions but some confirmation would be nice.
All that aside though, Camp Cold Brook is an enjoyable film. I went in with a split opinion of the two films I’d seen from Andy Palmer. This definitely tipped the scales for me. I’m going to have to find time to see his other films now.
Fun trivia, Joe Dante was an executive producer on Camp Cold Creek and had previously cast Courtney Gains in his film The Burbs.
Camp Cold Creek is available via Shout Factory’s distribution arm Shout! Studios. It will have a limited theatrical showing as well as a disc and digital release.