Movie Review: Summer Camp
Director: Alberto Marini
Writers: Alberto Marini, Danielle Schleif
Stars: Diego Boneta, Jocelin Donahue, Maiara Walsh
In his feature length directorial debut, Alberto Marini brings us the story of four American camp counselors who have come to work at a children’s camp in Spain. Unfortunately, there is a strange virus plaguing these grounds that turns people into rage zombies. First of all, why do Americans insist on working at camps in foreign countries? Or at any camps for that matter, because camp counsellor = death. And do we really need a random virus to incite rage? Don't think so. To add one more thing to the, “Haven’t we seen this before?” list, the film opens with a woman running blindfolded through the woods. I don’t know about you, but I’ve seen more than a few films open just like this, but I digress.
Starring Jocelin Donahue (The House of the Devil) and Diego Boneta (Scream Queens, Rock of Ages) they are joined by Maira Walsh and Andrés Valencoso and it’s a great group. Everyone is beyond beautiful and who doesn’t love to see beautiful people die one by one? No spoiler alert necessary because the film opens with a news report of the three missing American camp counselors. That’s right:three. So, someone makes it out alive. Or do they?
In a paint by numbers story of a slowly unfolding, mysterious virus all of our characters take turns being afflicted and everyone’s mettle is tested. Christy (Donahue) is quickly set up as the token spoiled American rich girl, all the way down to her Burberry scarf, but she proves to be surprisingly tough. For horror fans in the know, this is not surprising, but it’s fun to watch her character evolve. Walsh is no slouch either in the fierce female category. In fact, it’s fun to watch these two go toe to toe as they try to navigate survival in a crazy, unknown reality. Along with Boneta, who is just so puppy dog eyed, that it’s hard to take him seriously when he’s raging, the three begin to deduce the source of the virus and how to contain it. In an interesting twist, the effect of the virus only lasts twenty minutes. This allows for our characters to wait it out a couple of times in an effort to keep their numbers up while trying to evade the other infected people and, simultaneously, figure out the cause of the virus.
While it cannot be said that any new ground is being broken, Marini gifts us with a strangely beautiful virus movie. His use of color, lighting and shadows is a fest for the eyes and all of the actors appear to be having a great time. Summer Camp starts out a wee bit slow, but it builds nicely to a supremely fun and satisfying OMG moment when the kids finally arrive for camp. It’s also nice to see beautiful people who are smart enough to figure out what it is that they’re fighting, rather than just running around and dying. While ambivalent endings are not always embraced by all, I found this one to be fun. Summer Camp is definitely worth the trip, but don’t get your hopes too high.