Review Date: June 23, 2000
Released by: Anchor Bay Entertainment
Release date: 7/25/2000
Region 1, NTSC
Widescreen 1.85:1 | 16x9: Yes
Angela (Felissa Rose) lost her father and brother in a boating accident when she was a child. She's never quite recovered from it, having major social problems that cause her to get picked on quite a bit. Now, 8 years after the accident has taken place, Angela is off to Sleepaway Camp with her cousin Ricky (Jonathan Tiersten). They arrive to camp and go their separate ways, Ricky heading off to the boys cabins and Angela off to the girls. Angela immediately begins having trouble as she is caught staring at Judy (Karen Fields), another camper the same age as Angela. Judy tells Angela to quit it and soon the teasing that fills Angela's life begins again, by both counselors and campers.
Matters only get worse when people begin dying at the camp. At first it seems like only a few accidental deaths, but as the body count continues to rise and the deaths no longer look accidental, people realize that there is a killer on the loose. Some of the campers leave but others stay (don't ask me why), including both Angela, Ricky and Judy. Also staying is a boy named Paul (Christopher Collet) that has a romantic liking for Angela. And it seems Angela likes him back, until she catches him kissing Judy in the woods.
Finally the police show up and the counselors begin to round up all the missing campers. Turns out Paul, Ricky, Angela and Judy are all missing. Have they become more victims to the killer? Or perhaps one of them, or some of them are the killer. What the counselors do end up finding on their search is something more horrifying than they ever could've imagined.
Unfortunately, I didn't find this movie very good, which is unfortunate since I did hear some good things about the movie prior to seeing it. One of the good things I heard is that the ending is quite a shocker, which I agree with (more on that later). But there are so many things that make this movie bad. Horrible acting from everyone except Felissa Rose (Angela), an extremely weak plot full of holes, the fact that it's extremely predictable (minus the ending) and the total lack of gore for a slasher film are just some of the things that make this movie bad.
Now to the ending. The ending was extremely cool. I watched the film with my brother and wife, and we all had our jaws dropped at the end of the film. It was just a total shock and was the unpredictable part to the movie. I don't want to spoil it for anyone, but based on the ending alone I'm going to recommend people give this movie a try. Perhaps some of you will like it. But if you think you're going to be renting a Friday the 13th, think again. Friday the 13th is Oscar worthy when compared to this film.
Anchor Bay presents Sleepaway Camp in an anamorphic 1.85:1 widescreen transfer. Overall the transfer is clean with a very sharp image. There are some minor print blemishes that show up on the screen, consisting of a few scratches and a few vertical white lines popping up here and there. Not many specks were present and only a few daytime scenes had noticeable grain. Unfortunately, a good number of nighttime scenes were overly bright, exposing even more grain in the image, often causing it to appear hazy. Colors were overall solid, though in some scenes colors were slightly faded. Red stripes really stood out in the tube socks and short shorts, but in some scenes you'll see that the greens in the forest are a bit faded.
Sleepaway Camp is presented in Dolby Digital Mono sound. Sound was crisp and clear with no distortion detected.
Anchor Bay provides the theatrical trailer and a commentary track with director Robert Hiltzik, star Felissa Rose and moderate Jeff Hayes. Sadly, I can't say the commentary track was all that good either. They didn't really give much technical information about the film or how things were done. They really just played along with the film, goofing at various parts of it. They do talk about some of the other cast and crew members, but given both the director and lead actor were in this commentary I expected a lot more insight on the film. When Felissa did manage to ask how a few things were done all we're told is, "that's movie magic", by director Robert Hiltzik. Jeff Hayes doesn't do much talking at all, which is quite sad given the fact he runs the web site www.sleepawaycampmovie.com, which is dedicated to the Sleepaway Camp movies. There is a nice story behind how Jeff Hayes helped get the commentary track on this DVD. He should've discussed that a bit in the commentary and the fact that he didn't is just sad. Definitely check out Jeff's site though, since there you can read the full story of how he helped get this commentary created for the DVD. You'll also find behind-the-scenes photos from the commentary recording and lots more cool stuff on the Sleepaway Camp movies.
The movie is fairly weak for a slasher film but the ending was extremely cool, so I recommend people at least rent the film and give it a try. The DVD is good quality on both a video and sound level, but sadly the main extra, the commentary track, isn't very informative and ends being a bit of a bore. But for all you Sleepaway Camp fans I have no doubt you'll want this DVD in your collection, given there's no doubt this is best the film has ever looked.
Movie - C+
Image Quality - B
Sound - A-
Supplements - C+
- Running time - 1 hour 24 minutes
- Rated R
- 1 Disc
- Chapter stops
- English Dolby Digital Mono
- Audio Commentary with Director Robert Hiltzik, Star Felissa Rose and Moderate Jeff Hayes