Customer Reviews: Return to Sleepaway Camp
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon May 1, 2011
Known for having a shocking surprise ending, Sleepaway Camp (1983) is a classic 80's slasher, written and directed by Robert Hiltzik, that has gathered a huge cult following over the years. Two "unauthorized" sequels followed in the 80's, which did not involve Hiltzik, or stars from the original film, Felissa Rose and Jonathan Tiersten. With the support of fans still interested in seeing another sequel, Hiltzik resumes the story more than two decades later, in Return To Sleepaway Camp (2008) a direct to video release. This review contains significant spoilers, so proceed at your own risk.

Hiltzik completely ignores the events in the previous two sequels, and resumes his story some twenty years after the infamous events at Camp Arawak, where transgendered Angela Baker (Felissa Rose) went nuts and committed a number of shocking murders. At Camp Manabe, new owner and bird lover Frank Kostik (Vincent Pastore) has Ronnie Angelo (Paul DeAngelo), a former counselor at Arawak, on his staff. Life at summer camp is much the same, with lots of fun activities, adolescent pranks, and hormones running wild.

Hiltzik attempts to replicate the vibe from the original movie. This time the featured recipient of abuse is the camp troublemaker, Alan (Michael Gibney). Frequently provoking fights, harassing girls, and throwing tantrums, he is picked on, and made the brunt of cruel jokes by almost everyone, as he tries to make friends with fellow camper Karen (Erin Broderick).

As before, the first kill is set in the kitchen, as a cook takes a fatal dive into a deep fryer. The second kill is even more spectacular, where a stoner type kid is turned into a human torch. The crimes bring Sherriff Jerry to the camp to investigate. He speaks with a voice box because he lost his voice due to cancer, and it's pretty obvious that there are some other issues with the Sherriff. Suspicion for the killings falls on Angela, but her cousin Ricky Thomas (Jonathan Tiersten), reports that she remains institutionalized.

After another tantrum, Alan runs off into the night, starting a night of bloody terror. Kostik gets some unexpected headgear, while in the woods, Randy (Byre Cooper) a counselor, has a part of his anatomy yanked off, and his girlfriend Linda (Jackie Tohn) gets caught in a trip wire. During the killing spree Ricky arrives at the camp, and joins Ronnie and Sherriff Jerry, in the search for Alan.

As in the original, the best parts of the film are the nasty kills, which are pretty creative, and display lots of variety. Hiltzik still has a cool sense of style for shooting horror, and the level of gore and graphic violence, is cranked up to high this time. Loyal fan support over the years is why this film was made, and Hilting delivers more of what the fans loved, keeping things at a very juvenile level, with lots of childish dialog. In his acting debut, Michael Gibney is effectively obnoxious as Alan. The late Isaac Hayes, has a brief role in the last film of his career. The cast may not get to display much of their acting skills, but it hardly seems to matter, as long as the blood flows. The big surprise reveal, probably isn't much of a shock by the time it occurs, as it is evident pretty early that Felissa Rose has returned.

Proving that fans can make a real difference, superfan Jeff Hayes was the force that helped get the major players together, and provide the impetus for the sequel to be made. Hayes served as consulting producer for the film, and contributes some of the bonus materials. Intended mainly for the fans, some who have been waiting over twenty years for a sequel, Return To Sleepaway Camp is a pretty solid effort. The original film was crudely juvenile and charmingly unsophisticated, and the sequel retains some of that same flavor. The film really steps up to modern levels in the violence and gore departments, delivering solidly. After so much time had passed, Hiltzig probably didn't have many options for bringing back Angela, so it's fairly easy to go with the rather silly plotline. It's time to go back to camp!
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I freaking love this movie - no, it's not scary or creepy or anything like that, but if you've ever seen any of the SC movies, you know what you're in for. Personally, I thought this was was a pretty fun one, but only if you're in the mood for something light-hearted and you don't expect anything more than you've already gotten in the previous movie. The SC franchise really seems to have a love-hate relationship with the horror fan base. People either "get" it and are on board for cheesy jokes, cheesy acting, and cheesy kills, and love em, or they really, truly hate em. This one, for me, is the second best, after the original (which, while the same humor-wise) has one of the freakiest and most memorable final 30 seconds of any horror film ever made. I've seen this one probably five times, and I recently rented it again, just for the lolz.
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on February 24, 2013
Return to Sleepaway Camp(2008) takes place after Sleepaway Camp(1983) and ignores the sequels produced by Double Helix Films.
I thought this horror comedy was a fun guilty pleasure. Critics and Sleepaway Camp fans consider this film the worst installment in the series. Kids and camp counselors at Camp Manabe are getting butchered. People suspect that a fat kid named Alan is doing the killing. This film delivers gory death scenes and lots of foul language! The film stars Vincent Pastore, Isaac Hayes, Johnathan Tierston and Felissa Rose. This film is packed with pretty girls with large breasts! This movie was shot in 2003, but it was shelved for five years. It was released straight to DVD in 2008. Return to Sleepaway Camp is no classic, but it's still watchable.
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on November 12, 2008
First off i am a huge sleepaway camp fan, i love all 3 movies and can watch them all over and over again. When i heard that they were making another one i was more then thrilled. But i started to get impatient when the kept pushing it back further and farther, i was starting to think that it wasnt going to be released but it finally came out and i bought it that same day.

I loved the film but i do have a few problems with it. When i first watched it i wasnt really sure what to think, a part of me loved it and the other part was a bit disapointed. 1) Low body count, i was expecting a bit more but the first sleepaway camp wasnt to big in the body count area so i guess its not that bad. I did enjoy the creativity they put into the death scenes. The bunk bed one was nice 2) The character of alan was a little to over the top for me, was kinda getting annoying. They picked on him so much it was unbelievable. 3) The end...just watch it and you'll see. Your going to either love it or hate it but myself, i want to see what happens after that!!!

So despite the little problems it had i did enjoy the film. It really did feel like a sleepaway camp movie right out of the 80s. It was directed fairly well but i thought it could have been written a bit better. It was good to see most of the original cast return, and to see issac hayes(even though he was barely in it). I had a lot of fun watching it and if you dont take it too seriously and realize your watching a direct to dvd sequal to a slasher movie that was made 25 years ago then you should to.
So if you enjoyed the first sleepaway camp, then you'll want to see get this movie. So now i just have to sit and patiently wait for sleepaway camp reunion, lets just hope it gets made!!!
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on August 14, 2012
There is nothing like the original, and this movie doesn't nearly live up to it. Only worth buying to see the death scenes. (My favorite is when the killer makes a guy drink gasoline, puts a lit cigarette in his mouth, and he explodes.)

The acting an dialogue is pretty bad even for a B-movie. I didn't dig it. The kid getting bullied goes and picks fights with people. When they start picking back at him, he starts whining that no one likes him. It was so annoying. I was actually hoping he would get killed.

Several actors from the original movie appear in this one in adult roles (SPOILER!!!!!!!! - including Angela, who is actually the killer, not the kid getting picked on).
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on September 7, 2008
Be Careful! I just noticed a review on here stating that this movie was the full version of that craptacular "Sleepaway Camp: The Survivor" footage that was an extra in some of the Survival Kit Box Sets. This movie has absolutely NO relation to that. Return To Sleepaway Camp is a direct sequel to the unforgettable original Sleepaway Camp. Ronnie and Ricky are back and so are a bunch of gruesome murders at camp. This was directed by the writer/director of the original Sleepaway Camp and is a welcome return to fun who-done-it slasher movies!
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on October 22, 2008
I've been very excited about watching this, ever since I heard about it. I checked the IMDB almost daily for updates, and was constantly irritated that the release date kept getting pushed back. But I finally got to see it.

There's no cold open, straight to the credits. When I was watching the credits, they looked really good, and I was thinking to myself, "Wow, this is going to be a real movie. High production quality, etc." Then, the actual movie started, and it looked just like the last one.

I enjoyed this movie a lot. I thought they did a great job of making it a sequel, which is hard to do when the first one was made 25 years ago. It has the same feel, same style of writing, like it was made a year or two later.

Isaac Hayes is an awful actor, and Jonathan Tierston has only done one other thing aside from the first one, and that was in 1987. He is definitely not an actor. Vincent Pastore does a really good job. I was disappointed that Aunt Martha didn't make a cameo. She did something in 2006, but other than that, only the original.

If you were a fan of the first movie, I think you'll totally dig this one.
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on November 4, 2014
The movie is definitely a must-have for any fans of the Sleepaway Camp series. Felissa Rose returns as Angela from the original along side a few other original cast members. Overall the film is worth the little money it cost. Would recommend. Although the dvd I received had been busted in the shipping process from Amazon.
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<strong>Return to Sleepaway Camp</strong> (Robert Hiltzik, 2008)

Twenty-five years after the original <em>Sleepaway Camp</em> became a runaway cult hit, Robert Hiltzik got back in the director's chair for the fifth film in the ongoing (the sixth is in post-production as I write this; the fourth, started in 2002 and abandoned when the production company went bankrupt, is reported to now be finished and looking for a distributor) horror/comedy series. One would have hoped that Hiltzik returning to the fold would have meant a similar return to straighter horror, as the first movie wasn't played as a comedy, but one would hope in vain. Hiltzik has very much internalized the movies in between. The end result? A movie that combines the worst of all the pictures that came before it, with no inkling at all of what made them watchable.

Alan (Michael Gibney in his first big-screen appearance) is exactly the kind of kid an audience is least likely to feel sympathy for. He's a whiny little brat who complains to any adult in earshot that he's always getting picked on, which causes the older kids to pick on him, so he turns around and bullies those younger and smaller than himself. He also never bathes or changes his clothes (one of the few good touches in the movie is the degradation over time of the condition of his ever-present white T-shirt). Of course, he's the outcast, and you know where this is going if you've seen earlier movies in the series; those who pick on him start dying horrible deaths.

I think where Hiltzik went wrong with this is that in the original, which cleaves strongly to this same formula, while Angela wasn't exactly a sympathetic character, her extreme lack of socialization and uncomfortableness around others made us at least pity the poor kid. (Either that or Felissa Rose was really that bad an actress in 1983.) Alan is one of the least sympathetic characters in horror movies, maybe in any kind of movies, in a long, long time. I don't know about everyone else, but I was hoping he would be the first one to bite it less than five minutes in. It would be a spoiler to tell you the movie's biggest letdown, but given the placement of this sentence in this review, you're probably smart enough to figure out what it is on your own. A complete waste of time, notable only for Isaac Hayes' spoofing on the Chef character he played in <em>South Park</em> for a minute or so early in the film. * ½
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on March 15, 2015
Not the best or worst movie. Positives are some of the original cast are back and a half way descent story. Some negatives-- the acting was pretty bad, some really bad death scenes and effects. The boy who is the center of the movie is super annoying and hard to have sympathy for; not like in the first movie where you feel that the people are deserving of payback. Also, there was a counselor that was accused of being Angela that just disappeared from the rest of the movie.
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