Bloody Summer Camp (2021) Review
Bloody Summer Camp is the third film, and the third slasher, from writer/director David Kerr (Curse of the Slasher Nurse, Return of the Slasher Nurse), so I think it may be fair to say he’s a fan of the genre. And, he certainly gets the film off to a proper start as two councillors on their way to Camp Trustfall suffer vehicle issues and find out just how dangerous the woods are at night.
Also in classic slasher style, we then join Tiffany (Kay Leahy) and her friend Kimberly (Chanda Rawlings) on their way to the camp, also to be councillors. Tiffany wants to give the kids the same fun times she had there as a child, Kimberly just wants to party. The other councillors include wheelchair-bound Donnie (Brendan Lynch), obnoxious jock Zach (Matthew Sharpe, The Bad Witch, Pungo: A Witch’s Tale), Todd (Cody Faulk, The Haddonfield Nightmare) and Mike (Wayne Townsend).
There’s also camp director Michelle (Felissa Rose, Knifecorp, Camp Twilight) and the camp’s owner Bob (Bobby Langford) as well as plenty of other miscellaneous employees including Nurse Korek (Julie Anne Prescott, H.P. Lovecraft’s Witch House, Hi-Fear) and Larry (Christian Jensen, Dead Men Tell No Tales) the pervert cook, along with the occasional passersby to provide enough victims to fill Bloody Summer Camp’s just over two-hour runtime.
And we’ll get this out of the way now, there is no reason for Bloody Summer Camp to be two hours long. It would have done just fine at an hour and a half or even three quarters. Way too much time is wasted on references that only the most devoted fans of 80s slashers will notice and jokes that aren’t nearly as funny as Kerr thinks they are. A lot of this, especially in the first half-hour, could have been cut out. It’s a tribute to how good the rest of the film is that this doesn’t ruin it.
And Bloody Summer Camp is very good for the most part. The film does a great job of capturing an 80s feel without the need to shoehorn in references with the exception of Sheriff Wilmore (Dave Sheridan, The Resort, The Special), and his character’s use of them is one of the not-so-funny jokes I just mentioned.
We also get plenty of kills ranging from burnings to a tire iron through the neck, castration and other assorted hackings and slashings. Amber Fulcher does a great job of providing the kind of gory practical effects that made films like Friday the 13th, Sleepaway Camp and The Burning so memorable.
On the other hand, Bloody Summer Camp’s killer, Devilmask, is nothing special. They do have a cool mask, but the Jason Voorhees style urban legend attached to them is bland. I realize that’s probably at least partially intentional, 80s slashers were filled with Jason clones. But the best of them at least tried to personalize their killer. They would have been better off skipping the urban legend bit and making the actual killer’s identity harder to guess. With so many characters it shouldn’t have been so obvious.
Overall though, Bloody Summer Camp is a fun throwback to the blood and boob fueled slashers so many of us grew up with. Only this time we can see the gore in the movie rather than in photos of deleted shots in Fangoria, or when an unrated VHS finally gets released. David Kerr’s upcoming film Go Away looks like a take on home invasion films that falls somewhere between Funny Games and House on the Edge of the Park. I’m curious to see what he does with that genre. I just hope he keeps the running time in check.
Bloody Summer Camp is available on VOD and Digital platforms from Gravitas Ventures. You can check the film’s website or Facebook page for more information. And if you’re looking for more films like it, FilmTagger has a few suggestions.