Four counselors at summer camp arrive early to prepare but get infected by a disease that triggers homicidal rampages. As they turn on each other one by one, the sole uninfected one must discover the cause and escape before he falls prey to his friends or to the disease.
In the film, SUMMER CAMP, the "El Buho" Summer Camp, is an English speaking camp located in Spain. It's a camp, in which parents, native to Spain, can send their children to learn English. It's a low cost alternative, as the camp hires on American counselors. This year, the head counselor, Antonio, and Will, are joined by 2 new female counselors in Christy and Michelle. The film joins the group 2 days before the camp, which is housed in an old abandoned manor, is set to open. Unfortunately, making it to opening day would be a challenge. The group initially feels that they have a rabies scare on their hands, when Will finds himself bitten by a dog that is behaving erratically. However, that is just the start of an even bigger problem. That's because, seemingly one by one, each of the counselors become infected with some kind of virus, which inherently, causes them to turn into ravenous cannibals. Initially, those yet to be infected are not sure why this is happening, yet initially they narrow it down to airborne pollen. Eventually though, they get a surprise, when they learn that they might not have figured things out after all, as they hope to survive the night, and make it to the first day of camp.
Directed by Alberto Marini, SUMMER CAMP is a simple story involving a viral outbreak, as a group of young Americna counselors at an international summer camp, prep for opening day, and of course things don't go smoothly. Storywise, SUMMER CAMP is a film that does not offer much in the way of new, as it is along the lines of many films that came before it. This film is much like CABIN FEVER, yet the results of the infection transforms the carrier into something most similar to the hyper, flesh eaters that we see in most zombie films these days. As far as build goes, for SUMMER CAMP, there isn't much of one, as the film moves from "point a" to "point b", fairly quickly. It attempts to keep up it's thrills via a number of fake outs - where we expect something to happen, yet it doesn't. For instance, when "Will"(Diego Boneta), is bitten by a dog, which is acting strangely, we assume that it is he that is then, the carrier of the virus, but he isn't. The action actually begins with "Antonio"(Andrés Velencoso). From there, SUMMER CAMP is one that follows things by the numbers. "Who's infected, and who isn't?", and what's causing this to happen - what's it's origin? It's pretty basic, kill or be killed" stuff. The most clever thing that SUMMER CAMP does is that, it at one point it swerves us. Just when we thought that airborne pollen was the absolute cause of the virus, it is revealed to be something different. At this point, things could have improved, yet as things progress from here, everything just becomes sillier and sillier. Deep into the film, we learn that the virus comes in waves. A carrier, gets sick, goes insane, however, after some time, it just goes away. They feel nothing, and have no memory of it. And then later, it seems to unexpectedly return to them, making them flesh hungry again. It's just silly stuff. I guess this is the film's attempt to be original in the way it tells this type of story But it's just too out there. Even for a film like this.
As for the acting in the film, it isn't bad. Unfortunately though, when it comes to character, the cast has very little to work with, minus a few minor details. For instance, Jocelin Donahue's character is a rich girl, Maiara Walsh's character "Michelle has a strained relationship with her mother, while Diego Boneta's character "Will" is a bit of a ladies man. Minor details like these are as far as the film dares to explore. This causes a disconnect from viewer to the characters. I felt that I never really knew any of these characters, as things just moved too fast. So, why should we root for them in the end?
Overall, SUMMER CAMP, is a film that is as simple as it's thoughtless title. It is one that quickly goes though the motions of the most common zombie film that we have come to expect. It's as if the writers had a copy of the blueprint, when it comes to making an outbreak film, and followed it closely. Unfortunately, a little too closely, as it has nothing of its own, aside from the fact that the infection can come and go. Which is not only silly, it makes the story worse.
IMPRESSION OF THE FILM
Going into SUMMER CAMP, as with everything, I wanted to like it. Despite knowing nothing about it beforehand, I hoped that it would be good. Unfortunately though, for the type of film that it is, it's pretty basic, with not much originality going for it. It's an unfortunate thing, because stars, Jocelin Donahue and Diego Boneta are good actors(I loved Donahue in THE HOUSE OF THE DEVIL), and for what it's worth Maiara Walsh is pretty attractive, too. So with that said, maybe you will like this one more than I did. However, I felt that it felt much too rushed and also felt very generic for it's type.