Return to Sleepaway Camp



Year: 2008
Director: Robert Hitlzik
Cast: Michael Gibney, Vincent Pastore, Paul DeAngelo, Isaac Hayes, Erin Broderick, Christopher Shand, Jonathan Tiersten


I am a huge fan of the original Sleepaway Camp film and its two original sequels.

Like most fans of the series, I was ultra-excited when I heard that the original director was going to make his own sequel to his film. Though I do like the Unhappy Campers and Teenage Wasteland, they are tad to thick on the humor than I would have preferred. So, I waited and waited and waited patiently for this film to finally be released. Well, it was, and while I appreciate the nostalgic feel to the film, and the fact that is a slasher film through and through and knows its origins, the film, for me, was a huge let down for ONE reason alone: the character that we are suppose to sympathize with the most and who is by all accounts the main character of the film (Alan) has to be one of the most annoying characters in film history. He is rude, disgusting, nasty to everyone, and not likable in the least. When campers pick on him, we root them on and I really wanted him to be the first to die.

What made the first film effective was that Angela, who got picked on the very same ways Alan does in this film, doesn't deserve it. She is quiet, sweet, and introverted. She doesn't cause any problems for anyone, so when the people who harass her the most begin to meet their deaths, the audience can silently cheer. Having a unlikable main character can ruin any film, and this is a prime example.

If you can get past the annoying Alan, Return to Sleepaway Camp follows virtually the same plot as the original, but with less originality and more clich├ęs. Ronnie, the counselor from the original, now owns his own camp. Typical teenage behavior is shown, and when the campers begin picking on Alan (who again, DESERVES IT!), they begin to meet grisly deaths. Ronnie quickly blames Angela, even going as far as to accusing another counselor who is OBVIOUSLY much to young to be her, of being Angela. Unfortunately, due to a pretty lame disguise, the killer's identity is not hard to figure out. The "Angela" aspect of the film is also played down quite a bit, so much so that this really could have been any typical camp slasher unrelated to the Sleepaway Camp series. Yes, Angela is mentioned, but she is hardly a crucial component to the plot, and even the ending is abrupt and explains very little and certainly isn't the return to glory that one of the most interesting slasher film killers in history deserved.

There are some creative kills, but I honestly thing the original sequels are better and more brutal in this department. The acting is atrocious by most involved and the script is just really bad. In the end, I wanted more from this film and expected the original director to really bring it. Unfortunately, he didn't and the film pales in comparison to the original and even to the original sequels.

I only hope that if Sleepaway Camp: Reunion DOES happen, it is much better than this. The series deserves it.

Fright Meter Grade:

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