Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Film Review: Sleepaway Camp 3: Teenage Wasteland (1989)

Sleepaway Camp III: Teenage Wasteland (Review)
United States/1989
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

"...far from perfect, but it's certainly enjoyable."

After murdering a young woman on her way to camp, serial killer Angela Baker (Pamela Springsteen) assumes her identity and takes her place at Camp New Horizon...

Sleepaway Camp 3: Teenage Wasteland begins with this ridiculous introduction: Angela Baker driving a large garbage truck for no apparent reason, running down a young girl named Maria — who just so happens to be going to camp — then taking her identity. From there, Angela joins Camp New Horizon — a camp of sharing and caring between the different social classes. Of course, being the Angel of Death, Angela begins killing those she deems naughty — and there are plenty of naughty campers this time around. Using an arsenal of makeshift weapons, Angela creates, well, a teenage wasteland. It all leads to a satisfying conclusion — I chuckled.

Despite its outlandish introduction, I thought Sleepaway Camp III: Teenage Wasteland was better than the second installment, Unhappy Campers. I think it might be a little less graphic and there are less breasts, which is truly unfortunate, but it is far more balanced and even clever. Although I don't actually remember all of their names, the characters are much more distinctive, which is also good. Some death scenes are decent, some are gnarly — what you'd expect from a slasher. The humor was surprisingly the most fleshed out aspect of the film — it's much funnier than the second. It's still not a frightening film, though, but it's at least entertaining.

Again, the acting is hit-and-miss. Some of the supporting cast is horrible, some are serviceable. Like the previous installment, Pamela Springsteen steals the show; she's not as peppy, but her cynical/sarcastic energy is great. The film is shot well enough and the soundtrack is decent. Unfortunately for gore hounds, many of the death scenes are obscured by fast edits and wonky camera angles. (i.e. You usually see the aftermath or nothing at all.) Director Michael A. Simpson crafts a straightforward horror/comedy, although horror only in spirit. Writer Fritz Gordon cuts a lot of corners to make this work — it's best not to think about the many plot holes.

Overall, Sleepaway Camp III: Teenage Wasteland is a good film. It has some shoddy acting and sloppy writing, but the film is also filled with ruthless death scenes, great humor, and another strong performance from the deviously charismatic Pamela Springsteen. It's far from perfect, but it's certainly enjoyable.

Score: 6/10
Parental Guide: Strong violence and gore, some sex and nudity.

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