Here we have what turned out to be a happy accident, as this review was originally to be something that I couldn't end up finding. Therefore, some last-minute research on something to replace it lead me to this title that actually turned out to be right up my alley. I will say that it's not exactly the best of its kind. But it does take a different sort of turn with the typical "camp counsellors in the woods" scenario in its overall execution. It's not what I'd call entirely original, but it seems to borrow from all the right things to make it all work.
The film kicks off with the lead camp counsellor for Camp Clear Vista, Sam (Fran Kranz) running away from something, panicked, sweaty and covered in blood. He uses his cell to contact his friend, Charlotte, better known through the film as "Chuck" (Alyson Hannigan). Chuck is a hardcore horror fan who works at a comic book store called "Rings of Saturn". Sam explains that a killer is on the loose at camp, and begins recounting the events to her in an effort to get her advice on the situation. It's not long, however, before the obvious is stated, and the walkthrough Chuck gives Sam becomes a little more than she bargained for.
One thing I picked up on, whether it was on purpose or not, was the names of a lot of these counsellors. One by one, we had Carol (Olivia Jaye Brown), Ted (Jesse Gallegos), Steve the "Kayak King" (Bryan Price), Drew (Sara Catherine Bellamy), Alice (Clara Chong), Heather (Carol Jean Wells), Freddie (Jack Murillo), Nancy (Savannah DesOrmeaux), Brad (Patrick Walker), Jamie (Jenna Harvey), and Sam's last summer fling he's still in love with, Imani (Brittany S. Hall). I won't go super detailed on some of the character names here, but I will note that a lot of it feels like nods to horror icons - namely 'Elm Street' characters (at least some of them).
Back to the film itself, I thought the dark comedy worked really well here. I appreciated Hannigan's sort of casual take on the whole situation, and a lot of her delivery is pretty funny. There she is, chatting on her phone in the middle of her store talking about murder, blood, killers etc. Therefore, we get a LOT of hilarious customer reactions, as they are all hearing it out of context. I might suggest that side of it is the highlight of the film, as everything else is more or less pretty typical stuff - the only difference being that we're following who might be the killer as opposed to the teenage movie meat waiting to happen. They also used this scenario with two of my favourite horror comedies, 'Behind the Mask' and 'Tucker and Dale vs Evil'. So I think I've found that I definitely have a thing for a good horror/comedy feature that's more about the killer and not so much the innocent victims.
I feel like I should also bring up the quality of the kills in the movie. I'm not gonna sit here and say it's amazing, but there's a lot of that old school 'Friday the 13th' spirit put into this where it's more about something quick and brutal to make the audience go "OOooh!" I've never been one for the torturous aspect of the kill, so this is what I personally prefer. Kills in a movie are like a cup of coffee; everyone has their formula for a good cup. Anyway, for whatever reason, I found it almost refreshing to see kills like this. That sounds really awful, I know, but all I mean is that this felt like it took it back to the old school style that movies like 'Halloween' and, again, 'Friday the 13th' perfected. Of course, maybe I've just been under a rock and missing out on a bunch of solid titles that have gone over my head.
This is a title that can be found on Shudder right now, and I'm not altogether sure where else, so watching it could be a bit tricky. That said, this isn't quite as up there as something like 'Tucker and Dale' where I wanna drag horror fans in by the ear to watch it. But it is something I'd recommend to horror fans to check out, if they can, nonetheless. It strikes me as one of those "throw on any old time" movies that don't make it onto anyone's "favourites" list, but it's enough that you could be in the mood for it every once in a while. I think if nothing else, a horror fan can have some fun with it. I know I did.