Blood, teens, and camp, oh my! The newest release from TriCoast and DarkCoast, Camp
Twilight, hits VOD later this year. Directed by Brandon Amelotte, this throwback to the
slasher films of old pays obvious homage to films like Friday the 13th.
The film focuses on a handful of "troubled" teens in danger of flunking out of high school.
They are offered an opportunity to earn extra credit at Camp Twilight. Their chaperones
include their Principal, X (Barry Jay Minoff), and their teacher, Jessica Bloom (played by genre legend Felissa Rose of Sleepaway Camp fame, who also co-wrote the film).
Upon arriving, everyone is forced to hand over their electronics, which means no phones
and no way to call for help — a necessary ingredient for any successful slasher formula. Of
course, being stuck in the woods without a phone or access to social media may be the most
terrifying aspect of the film for anyone over the age of 25.
As you might expect, it doesn't take long before things start to go horribly awry, and people
begin to die.
While the film borrows heavily from Friday the 13th, it does take its own turn, delivering
enough in the way of originality so that it stands on its own and doesn’t feel entirely
With that said, Camp Twilight isn’t afraid to wear its influences proudly on its sleeve, with
plenty of nods to horror classics. In one scene, Rose’s character mentions the group is
headed to a sleepaway camp, which is a nice reference to the cult classic film that launched
her career. In addition, most of the kids are named after real or fictional horror icons, with
monikers like Loomis, Sydney, and King. These are nice touches for fans who grew up
watching 80s and 90s horror. In fact, love for the genre shines with the casting, which includes many horror icons of the past and present; I won't tell you who, see if you can catch them all!
Unfortunately, as the film progresses, some of the limitations of low budget filmmaking
become apparent, which may take you out of the experience a bit. There are some glaring
audio issues and lackluster cinematography. However, given the restrictions of budget and
the difficulty of shooting at night in a remote location, these issues aren’t difficult to overlook
and make allowances for.
The potential for a truly wonderful experience was certainly there.
Perhaps, the over-reliance
on nostalgia is understandable, it doesn’t always translate for modern audiences. Sometimes,
things from the past should stay in the past — an actual line uttered in the film.
Some, if not all, of the performances were over-the-top and inauthentic, but in a way that felt
like they were straight out of 1983, almost as if this was intentionally done. I can’t say for
certain if that was the case, but I wouldn’t be surprised if this was part of the intended
homage. If it was intentional, I appreciate the passion for these wonderfully cheesy films of
horror past. But it doesn’t quite work here.
The delivery of lines often felt stilted, as if they were reciting the lines rather than feeling
them as characters. Perhaps a little more time spent on development of the characters
would have helped the cause.
With that said, no film is perfect. And I do appreciate what Camp Twilight was attempting to
achieve. There's room for nostalgia in film, and there's certainly room for more slasher flicks.
Still, I would have liked to see this one polished a bit more, which would have greatly
enhanced what is already a pretty fun ride.
Camp Twilight hits VOD on November 1st.