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Spirit Camp (2010)

DVD Cover (Kerosene Films)
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Genres / Traits: Horror Slasher Film Cheerleaders

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Kerry Beyer
Kerry Beyer
Julin
Julin
Brandon Smith
Brandon Smith
Megan Moser
Megan Moser
Amy Morris
Amy Morris
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Review by Chad
Added: January 25, 2011
This review is going up a day late, but yesterday was my birthday and I decided to treat myself to a piece of utter trash to celebrate. I'm a big fan of eighties-era slashers, as some of you may have noticed, and the DVD cover for Spirit Camp just screamed out to me - I'm not really sure what it is, but something drew me in. So, hoping for a good movie to celebrate my thirtieth birthday with, I popped it in and hoped for the best. Thankfully, I wasn't disappointed in the least: Spirit Camp is a great throwback to the days when slashers were king, and the film honestly felt like it could have come straight out of the eighties. That, my dear readers, is a compliment.

The storyline is as basic as every other film in the genre, and it focuses on a group of girls - bad girl Nikki (Roxy Vandiver), snooty Rachel (Julin), energetic Missy (Megan Moser), Amber (Katy Rowe), Blair (Alyssia Dujmovich), and Monica (Denise Williamson) - who are heading out to a remote cheerleader camp to brush up on their skills for the upcoming finals. They will be instructed by two pros by way of the bitchy Lindsay (Amy Morris) and the ultra-gay Brent (Jon Paul Burkhart), they'll soak up some sun, do a little drugs, have a little premarital sex, and eventually come face to face with the serial killer who stalks these grounds. Could it be the half-retarded groundskeeper? How about the psycho who just escaped from the local prison? Maybe it's the traumatized old lady running the place? Or maybe, just maybe, it's the person you'd least expect.

Smoking hot ladies clad strictly in cheerleader outfits, bikinis, or birthday suits in the leading roles? Check. T&A? Bingo, to a certain extent. Plenty of bloody kills, more red herrings than you can shake a stick at, and loads of false scares? Check, check, and check. Spirit Camp is as faithful to the eighties slasher formula as a modern film can get, and it's actually a damned fun movie to boot. It won't change your mind on the genre if you already dislike the finer offerings from it, but if you share my love of these cheesy little nuggets of nostalgia, you'll definitely love this movie. It's humorous when it's supposed to be, there's enough of a body count to keep the gorehounds entertained, and the tension is there. Is it a horror classic? No, but it's an extremely entertaining movie none the less.

As for the "goods", let's see: guys, the movie is a little light on the nudity. You do get some boobies out of the deal, but not as much as you may be accustomed to after sitting through some of the classics of the genre. There's plenty of scantily-clad ladies, but straight-up nudity? Not a whole lot. The gore side of things fares a little better, as even though there's not a whole lot of innovation with the kills (knives, axes, strangulation, etc.), there is a high body count and plenty of the red stuff. Again, the film is faithful to the slashers from the early eighties, and this "back to basics" approach worked for me here.

There's really nothing bad that I can say about the film other than it features some shady acting, but seriously: who picks up a movie of this nature for the acting? Very few slasher staples come complete with award-winning performances from all involved, so to expect that from a low-budget film would be downright silly. Truth be told, the acting was actually better here than in a fair number of other movies that have come across my desk, but by no means is it "great." The ladies did have good chemistry with one another, and again, they were all mighty attractive - that goes a long way in a movie like this.

So, there's not much more than can be said: if you enjoy eighties slashers, you will love Spirit Camp and you could easily pretend that it's a long-lost classic from 1983. If you're a fan of the staples such as Halloween and Friday the 13th but don't have much experience beyond those, check this one out and see why us slasher fans enjoy these flicks so much: they ain't high art, but they're damned fun movies. 8/10.
Volkswachter #1: Volkswachter - added 01/21/2022, 12:01 PM
I was extremely disappointed with this movie, but I am also a snob. I can't put my finger on exactly what it is about these 80s slasher throwback flicks that misses the mark, but there is something that is either missing, or something that is done in a different way that completely kills the enjoyment and immersion. I believe it's the way scenes are framed, and the way the camera is used; new movies like this remind me more of youtube videos than they do of actual movies.

There isn't much I can add as a synopsis that hasn't been said by Chad; but I will say that I disagree that this movie has an 80s slasher vibe to it. Maybe I've spoiled myself with the greatest slashers from the era and maybe it's hard to live up to the films I actually loved, but this movie can't hold a candle to films like Cheerleader Camp (1988)

First and foremost. I was able to correctly guess who the killer was the moment the killer appeared on screen. The red herrings were less herrings and more neon billboards with the words "NOT THE KILLER" flashing into the night rather than actual misdirection.

The overall tone and pace of the movie also felt very off, there was a lot of erroneous plot points that led up to nothing and a lot of back story that felt shoe horned and hamfisted into the plot for no reason other than to explain why one character knew how to pick handcuffs.

I wasn't angry with this movie, but I also wasn't stoked on it. This is not a movie I'd watch a second time. And I gave it a 3.7/10 without the tits it would have been a 1.5/10
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