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2.7 out of 5 stars
Camp Hell
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on September 19, 2014
Format: Amazon Instant VideoVerified Purchase
Awesome
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on July 26, 2013
Format: DVD
Before Kevin Smith's Red State, obviously inspired by the WBC, came this independent and slightly more subtle made look at religious fanaticism. What's weird though, is this film was a little more kid/teenage friendly. My biggest question is though, why was either film trashed? I have a couple theories: they depicted something fanatics don't want revealed, and the results were less than favorable. As for the idea of this being advertised as a horror film with Jesse Eisenberg, lighten-up! Did anyone complain like this over the Scream series, when Drew Barrymore was killed during the first 10-20 minutes of the first one? Answer me that! This film pointed out what may happen when religion is shoved down someone's throat, I've been there myself. The difference is, I know not all Christians act like this, but I've come rather close to renouncing my faith a few times myself, for different reasons. Bruce Davison and Andrew McCarthy are a good example of intolerance, on both sides of the spectrum. Yes, I'm a Christian myself, but I refuse to shove my beliefs down anyone's throat, until they try it on me. Then, all bets are off!
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on February 23, 2013
Format: DVD
What the hell did I just watch? The only scary thing about this film is that there are really religious freaks out there, who are willing to send their kids to camps like this. The producers of this movie must have known how awful it was, because they put a big picture of "The Social Network Guy," Jesse Eisenberg on the cover, and list him as the star, when he's in the movie for all of 2 minutes. The star is Will Denton, who you may remember from the short lived TV series, Kidnapped. He was pretty good, so was Gossip Girls, Connor Paolo. It's too bad they didn't have an actual script to work with. It really just blows my mind that things like this get made. No one in their right mind would consider this movie worth their time.
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on November 21, 2012
Format: DVD
This movie is basically a mockery of overly religious Christians, yet shows how some God believers actually act. The concept of this movie is basically "We as Christians are right. You are not. If you are a sinner, the devil will haunt you and you will go to hell." Within 10-15 minutes of the movie we arrive at Camp Hope with the main character, Tommy Leary. The male campers are given a strict set of ludicrous "Christian" rules that include: A dress code policy, no sighing, no comic books, no cell phones, no food, no music, and no 1 on 1 time of any sorts with the female campers. More mockery comes in when the boys' camp counselor is made out to look like a bully who sees the flaws in everyone else but himself.

Throughout the course of the movie you you will come across parts that leave you with more questions then answers and will just confuse the heck out of you. Satan also rears his ugly head throughout this film, stalking the campers, but mostly Tommy Leary who seems to be in the Devil's high interests. I will not give away the ending but all I will say is that it once again leaves you with more questions then answers. This is not even really a horror movie. Like I mentioned, this movie is mostly a mockery that shows you exactly how many religious freaks act and react to certain things. If you're looking for a good horror movie, keep on scanning this site for one. If you're looking for a movie that makes fun of a group of people or involves the Devil then be my guest and rent/buy this movie
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on July 28, 2012
Format: DVD
I'm really surprised at the overwhelming number of negative ratings here on amazon for this film. Sure it's not the most interesting film out there, and categorizing it as horror is definitely a mistake since only the final 20 minutes were actually scary, but the storytelling -though cliched in a few spots such as the romance between the one boy and a girl he meets at the campgrounds- is pretty decent.

Anyway Camp Hell is about a boy who goes to a religious camp and has to deal with an overbearingly uptight counselor that probably has good intentions by sending an important message on how teenage boys are supposed to properly go about their lives without sin, but ends up looking more like a gigantic control freak instead. Given how strict the rules are, and how the message is thoroughly stressed over and over again that anything such as comic books, pornography, sex before marriage, rock and roll music, etc. is against God's wishes, I can imagine viewers getting rather annoyed that this subject carries as the main theme for WAY too long without any additional substance to back it up, or any frights and fears for that matter.

The reality is that this particular camp is NO place for a group of teenage boys. You can't have at least *some* temptations, especially when there's a group of female campers right next door.

Anyway, there's an evil presence in the camp and without spoiling what happens, the "evil" isn't necessarily what I was expecting at all. The ending is fantastic because throughout all the madness that takes place, a message about making your own decisions pertaining to your own beliefs is where it counts.

The fight with the group counselor that the one boy gets involved in is the notable high point of the storyline. You just KNEW a fight was going to occur sooner or later given the boys eagerness to turn against the system. Also the main character meeting up with a girl and rocking the cradle in the woods at night (and then lie and sin about it) is another memorable segment, because they apparently pay for their actions near the end of the movie.

Overall, good movie. Not a horror unfortunately (far from it in fact) and the storyline drags for about 25 minutes longer than it should but otherwise solid film.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on March 20, 2012
Format: DVD
There are a number of things a DVD manufacturer can do to entice a viewer to watch their product. They can pay out the nose for advertising. They can use viral teasers to get people talking. Or they can take a name star that is in a movie made long ago, paste his/her face on the cover and pretend that this is who stars in their film. Such is the case with CAMP HELL.

Look at the cover and what do you see? Jesse Eisenberg front and center. Having risen to star status with the films ZOMBIELAND and THE SOCIAL NETWORK, he has become a marketable commodity. And even though his scenes in this film are perhaps less than 10 minutes tops, its his name and image that will sell the picture. When these sorts of things happen it doesn't bode well for what the final product actually is and while this movie does raise some interesting questions, it seems more determined to be a hatchet job than a give and take film concerning religion.

The film opens by letting us know that there is an extreme religious group known as the Community. Its members won't allow others to leave and if they do so continues to hound them. These few written words depict the group as a cult and the rest of the film continues to do so. Would I join them? No but then this depiction is as extreme as it can be.

We meet the Leary family headed by strict and stern father Michael (Andrew McCarthy) and mother Patricia (Dana Delany). Their oldest son Tommy is about to go to church camp. Hitting that golden age of puberty, he is beaten down emotionally and mentally to follow their rules.

The camp is a mix of boys and girls that are kept separated but within sight of one another. They mingle during select events. And all the campers are told that it is a sin to simply ogle a member of the opposite sex. Which made me wonder the whole time, if they're so concerned about them meeting in the dark or getting together then why have them all at the same location during the same week? Why not boys one week and girls the next? But then that wouldn't have led to any confrontations moving the film along.

Tommy and his friends joke around, make fun of the slow witted kid and can't stand their cabin counselor, a stick in the mud who displays a holier than thou attitude from the start. Given the rules you know that eventually one of these guys is going to break them and since Tommy has a thing for Melissa most bets would land on him. Those best would have paid off if you placed one.

At the same time all of this is going on, Tommy is having an inner conflict when it comes to faith. He's questioning his faith as most teens do at this age. But rather than discuss this conflict, the man in charge, Father Phineus McCallister (Bruce Davison) continues to tell the kids to think impure thoughts is a sin and to repent. Masturbation is a constant theme that he talks about and tells them all to avoid. The way these kids behave you know his plea is falling on deaf ears.

But Tommy's case is more than just jitters. There is the possibility that there is a demon determined to possess Tommy. And this demon is not new to Father McCallister. Tah dah! This is how Eisenberg fits in. Earlier in the film we saw him talking to the good Father from a mental institution, filled with fear for McCallister. Drawing images of black soulless looking creatures they look the same as things Tommy has drawn.

And here's where the interesting part comes into play. As the movie progresses we're never quite sure if there truly is a demon involved here or if it's just psychological turmoil inspired by the preaching that is going on. By the end of the film we're still unsure.

While some will think this is a horror film by the looks of the cover, don't be misled. It's more a religious film. And the depiction of anyone who believes in God is a negative one. Believers are to be mocked as extremists. Are there such groups? I don't doubt it. But this is never the case here and we're made to believe that this is the norm for fundamentalist Christians rather than the exception. Only those who turn their back on this group seem well adjusted.

It does raise some good questions about faith and beliefs but rather than take a route where these are discussed, questioning is forbidden and leads to excommunication. Had they taken that route, perhaps the movie might have offered a better balanced view of beliefs, convinced viewers that there are extremists out there. Instead by painting all with one shade of black, it makes you wonder about the beliefs of those behind the film instead.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format: DVD
CAMP HELL is not a horror movie and even though Jesse Eisenberg's face is featured prominently on the DVD's cover, he isn't in the movie very much.
The film's focus is on a charismatic Catholic church camp led by a fiercely fundamentalist priest played by Bruce Davison. Will Denton (from the FRIGHT NIGHT remake) plays a teenager who lusts after Melissa, a fellow campmate. Of course, this is considered a grave sin and Melissa leaves the camp in shame. Meanwhile, Denton has disturbing dreams involving some kind of demon.
CAMP HELL is tedious and quite dull. Based on "true events" the movie is talky, preachy and muddled in what it's trying to say. It's misleading marketing as a horror movie will certainly disappoint its targeted market. But as a film goes, it's just horrible.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format: DVD
More like 'Camp let's rip people off for a few bucks'
I found no viewing pleasure in this film what so ever,the premise and storyline were boring and had nothing to do with horror and Jesse Eisenberg was barley in it.I kept watching thinking ,ok any minute now it has to get better,it never happened.
I was also thinking wow,a new slasher flick with Jesse,maybe he owed the producer a favor or something of that nature and it's going to be good.no way,avoid at all cost ,pun intended.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on September 18, 2011
Format: DVD
Absolute WORST horror movie that I've ever seen - do not waste this amount of your life on this movie even if it's free - I can't believe I watched the whole thing waiting for 1 MINUTE of horror - this movie is worse than the lowest budget $4000 movie ever made. Ignore the star names - they are in the movie for less than 3 minutes and DON'T EVEN HAVE NAMES!
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on September 5, 2011
Format: Amazon Instant Video
I'm not surprised that the other reviews for this movie seem to be split 50/50 as to whether it is pro- or anti-Christian propaganda, but confused that no one seems to have grasped what's really going on here--Camp Hell (I wonder what the working title was?) is obviously a serviceable after-school-special-esque issue film about the dangers of extremist Christian doctrine when foisted on the tender minds and hormones of teens (I suspect the sect that runs the camp was cast as Catholic so as not to draw the rants of the actual Protestant camps that exist in a similar form) that couldn't find release unless the makers agreed to let the releasing company hire editors to sex it up (and very badly, I might add) by intercutting laughable demon footage stolen from another movie. Fairly certain all the scenes where possession is discussed, including Eiseberg's, were shot and edited in in post-production as well.

Because of this, nothing about this movie makes a lick of sense. It's a shame, really, because the lead performances by the teens in camp are strong and the basic message, that religious indoctrination ignores the realities of life, is a solid one.

Will add that this movie makes me wonder if Andrew McCarthy was ALWAYS this bad, and no one noticed back in the 80s because everyone was just as jacked up on coke as he seems to be naturally.

Anyway...skip it, unless you enjoy the frustrations of imagining the nightmare that must have been played out between the director, writer, and ham-handed editors.
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