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Review: Camp Twilight (2020)

If you and your girl are at a summer camp where fourteen people were brutally murdered, you should probably avoid drinking beer. And she definitely shouldn’t be showing you her boobs, however nice they may be. In the grand tradition of the genre, Camp Twilight starts out with a couple learning this the hard way. How many more will die before the end credits roll? Will their deaths have better effects? And will we see any more boobs?

Six high school students, including Maria (Brooklyn Haley, Paranormal Attraction, Desert Moon), in danger of failing are offered a way to still graduate. A weekend project at the Forest Lake Preserve led by Ms. Bloom (Felissa Rose, Ugly Sweater Party, A Nun’s Curse) and Mr. Warner (Barry Jay Minoff, Among the Shadows, The Tombs). The catch? No phones or other technology, which should be a huge red flag.

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So, along with last-minute addition Ms. Monique (swimsuit model turned actress Tracy Lear), they head out to Camp Twilight, excuse me, Forest Lake Preserve. They should be safe with the crack team of Rangers Bob Sheridan (Dave Sheridan, Scary Movie, The Special), Tom (Thomas Haley, Attack of the Unknown) and Art (Steven Chase). Of course, they’re not safe, and dead bodies start turning up everywhere

To round out the cast we get cameos by Linnea Quigley (The Barn, The Good Things Devils Do), Jessica Cameron (Red Eye, Puppet Killer), Vernon Wells (Fear of the Woods, Await the Dawn), and Camille Keaton (I Spit on Your Grave: Deja Vu, Cry for the Bad Man). Camp Twilight certainly doesn’t lack familiar names or talent.

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Brandon Amelotte makes his feature debut as a director, though he has fifty credits to his name as an assistant director. Among the films he’s worked on are several we’ve reviewed, including The Night Sitter, Midnighters and The Bone Box. He also co-wrote the film with Felissa Rose. Camp Twilight marks her first writing credit. It’s nice to see her branching out from acting.

While IMDB and the press materials I saw tag it as horror, there’s an obvious streak of comedy running through Camp Twilight. Most obviously, and obnoxiously, the park rangers. They’re insufferably stupid, to the point you wonder how they remember to breathe. The riffs on genre tropes however are a lot more subtle and effective.

When it’s being serious, Camp Twilight isn’t bad, though it is fairly predictable. It’s not as blandly by the numbers as Camp Blood 8: Revelations or any of that cursed franchise. But you’ll be able to guess what happens next most of the time. And I knew who would be doing the killing before they even left the school parking lot.

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When it comes to gore, there is a nice slit throat. But most of the kills are either offscreen or rely on flying blood. Perhaps they should have done without a couple of the cameos and invested in more and better effects. Because with a cast this big and so many victims, spicing the kills up would have made a big difference. So would a killer who had a costume scarier than a black hoodie and a ski mask. But that’s another matter.

One thing about Camp Twilight that does stand out is Brooklyn Haley’s performance. When I reviewed The Crossing I said she had a bright future in the genre, and she’s gone on to prove me right. She’s certainly up there with Dilynn Fawn Harvey (Clownado, Final Caller) and Jennifer Nangle (Irrational Fear, Malvolia: the Queen of Screams) when it comes to the best of the new indie scream queens.

DarkCoast will release Camp Twilight November 1st on VOD.

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