Monday, June 29, 2015

Film Review: Sleepaway Camp 2: Unhappy Campers (1988)

Sleepaway Camp 2: Unhappy Campers (Review)
United States/1988
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: Yes

"If you like entertaining b-movies and need to kill 80 minutes, this is worth a rental or stream."

At Camp Rolling Hills, counselor Angela Baker (Pamela Springsteen) kills the bad kids...

Sleepaway Camp II: Unhappy Campers is a very basic slasher. So, there's a camp — Camp Rolling Hills. There are a bunch of counselors and campers — many which we never actually meet. Then, there's Angela Baker, who, from the very beginning, kills campers and counselors she deems bad. That's everything in this plot. A camper/counselor does something rotten, Angela kills them, then subtlety jokes about the death — rinse and repeat. Fortunately, it's less than 80 minutes long, so it never feels too dull or repetitive. The ending was also decent.

 Sleepaway Camp II is a decent film. The plot is very basic, but it's functional. You don't really get much character for anyone but Angela and a few counselors. Otherwise, there are plenty of violent deaths, boobs (I counted at least 17), and sly humor to satisfy Friday The 13th fans — or really any other slasher fan for that matter. Is it top-tier horror? No. Is it fun? Yeah, I suppose. It doesn't have a lot going for it, but it's not necessarily bad, especially if you're accustomed to b-movie goods. If you love gory b-movies, then you'll at least enjoy this one. And, it's barely over an hour long and well-paced — not a bad time killer at all. I laughed a few times, too. Although I compare it to Friday The 13th, it's really more of a spoof of the genre — which is also fairly refreshing.

On the other hand, if you're looking for something suspenseful or truly frightening, you'll be sorely disappointed. Although it's a slasher at heart, it's not really a traditional horror film. Sure, there are plenty of deaths, but there is absolutely zero suspense or buildup. There wasn't a single second during this film where I was actually frightened. For what it's aiming for, which is basically a mocking of the genre, it also isn't at it's absolute best. A few chuckles here and a few duds there. So, it's not a horror film, and it occasionally misses otherwise.

The acting is mostly robotic and bad — to be blunt. The performances don't feel authentic. Pamela Springsteen shines above her cast mates, though. Springsteen is surprisingly energetic and evilly charismatic — I really liked her performance. The film is shot well enough. The music was fairly standard — nothing iconic but nothing bad, either. The practical special effects are often blatant, like the head in a TV. However, I absolutely adore practical effects, so I loved this film's gory, over-the-top deaths. Director Michael A. Simpson crafts a decent slasher. It's severely lacking in suspense and horror, but it is enjoyable thanks to its b-movie charm — which may have been unintentional. The tributes to other classic slashers was also great.

Overall, Sleepaway Camp II: Unhappy Campers is a decent slasher. It has gory deaths with great practical effects, some surprisingly funny and black humor, and plenty of nudity — just like the good old fashioned slashers. It is a b-movie, though. It suffers from a lack of suspense and actual horror. It's also very repetitive and fails to leave an impression other than Angela's dastardly and peppy character and Pamela Springsteen's respective performance. If you like entertaining b-movies and need to kill 80 minutes, this is worth a rental or stream. If you're looking for something that's actually horror, look elsewhere.

Score: 5/10
Parental Guide: Strong violence and gore, sex and nudity.

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