MONKEY REVIEW: Return To Sleepaway Camp

November 8, 2008

returntosleepawaycampRobert Hiltzik’s Return To Sleepaway Camp is a direct sequel to his 1983 movie Sleepaway Camp, one of the many, many summer camp slasher movies that followed in the wake of the original Friday The 13th, released in 1980. I’m pretty sure I deliberately skipped the original when it was first released to theatres, as by then I’d seen enough Friday The 13th knock-offs, but Sleepaway Camp has since developed a cult following mostly owing to its admittedly unforgettable ending. That said, Sleepaway Camp is certainly no model slasher film, being light years away from the original Halloween, the movie Friday The 13th was attempting to cash in on to begin with, but it’s reasonably entertaining for a low budget 80’s horror flick, and it’s almost a must see for horror film fans just for that strange ending. Return To Sleepaway Camp is set at the same summer camp a couple of decades later, and is soon plagued by a series of elaborately staged murders. What almost completely sinks this very tardy sequel, which is unrelated to the 80’s sequels, is the introduction of an overweight, obnoxious, bullying, seemingly mentally ill slob of a camper, Alan (Michael Gibney), who is so gross, cruel and over the top that it seems totally absurd and wrongheaded that the movie then decides you should have sympathy for him when campers and counselors alike begin to torment him in return. It’s also afflicted by one of the least surprising “surprise endings” I’ve seen in some time. For those looking for gore, there’s some third act violence and mayhem, but you’ll have to wade through a middle section where not much of anything seems to happen. It’s not really worth it. Issac Hayes has his last film role as “the Chef,” natch, though he only appears for a couple of scenes and then disappears before the bodies begin to pile up. I guess if you’re a fan of the original movie, and/or the two sequels that followed it (which I haven’t seen), then maybe Return To Sleepaway Camp will be worth a watch, provided your expectations aren’t very high. For all others, you may be better off saving your slasher movie dollars for the upcoming remakes of Friday The 13th and My Bloody Valentine (in 3-D, no less!).


(For a brief explanation of the Monkey Review rating system, click here.)


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