Summer retail Hell sounds like a much better option for Judge Gordon Sullivan
Summer's Over…Time to Die!
Brad Sykes has been responsible for a number of low budget horror films, starting with 2000's Camp Blood and its sequel, cleverly titled Camp Blood 2. Mark Polonia is also a low budget filmmaker primarily known for horror, though he got his start much earlier with Splatter Farm way back in 1987. For reasons that are not entirely clear, Sykes has handed the reins of the Camp Blood franchise to Polonia, and the result is the confusingly titled Camp Blood: First Slaughter. If you've been waiting over a decade for the completion of the Camp Blood trilogy, then this is sure to please. For everyone else it's best avoided.
When a group of college students investigating the legend of a killer clown surrounding Camp Blood go missing, only their footage can explain their terrible fate.
Assuming I remember correctly—and I make no promises—Camp Blood: First Slaughter opens with a series of The Blair Witch Project-style interviews featuring various "townsfolk" opining on the dangers of "Camp Blood." Then we get a couple on a houseboat menaced by the clown killer from the previous entries in the series. All seems expected, with the couple about to meet their doom at the hands of the killer clown. But then, a new masked killer emerges to kill both the clown and the couple. We then cut to a classroom, where a professor will ask her students if the "Killer Clown" of Camp Blood is a myth or not. She tasks them with proving or disproving the legend, and the group of students eventually set out to the woods (after a lengthy sequence involving their evening activities the night before the trip). Then, we get an interruption in the form of a "news story" that tells us our group of kids disappeared in the woods and we're going to watch their "unedited" video footage. The last 30 or so minutes of the film unfold in found footage style.
What all this should indicate is that Camp Blood: First Slaughter is a busy film. It has a lot of "plot" and tries to both tell its own camp story while also tying up the "Camp Blood" franchise. For all that busyness, though, not much actually happens in the film. The interview segments that open the film are tedious, as we've seen that stuff before. We have no investment in the first couple who get killed, and their deaths are neither shocking nor titillating. When we finally get to the main group of victims, the film lingers on scenes that go nowhere, like one young woman hearing something funny in her house, exploring and finding nothing. Sure, it pads the running time, but to no significant purpose. By the time we get to the main group the narrative has largely ground to a halt, and combined with the found-footage conceit makes the last act pretty tedious.
Sadly, neither gore nor nudity saves this film from its tedium. In fact, there's no nudity to be found at all, and the gore goes from okay to terrible. The okay stuff is practical, with some decent Karo Syrup style red stuff here and there. The terrible is the use of digital blood, which looks like somebody is throwing paint on the screen rather than having blood come out of a human person. Beyond the blood, the film could have used more gore proper as well.
The DVD itself isn't terrible. The film gets a clean and bright 1.78:1 anamorphic transfer that does a fine job with the various digital sources of the film. The images itself is often heavily processed, including lots of fake video distortion and other effects to demonstrate how "raw" the footage is. The Dolby 2.0 Stereo track is similarly okay, but limited by the source recordings. Clarity is fine, but because of the variability in the sources there can be significant differences in volume from scene to scene. Keep the remote handy. There are no extras.
I do kind of admire Camp Blood: First Slaughter for at least trying something new. Though the film's style often comes off as desperate rather than interesting, at least they tried something different. And, I have to say that if you sit through the first 65 or so minutes of the film you'll be treated to a plot twist that, while not novel, does do a surprisingly good job of tying up the film and connecting it to the wider Camp Blood franchise.
Camp Blood: First Slaughter is yet another microbudget camp slasher film. Those who were clamoring for a sequel to the first two Camp Blood films might enjoy the direction this one takes, but most viewers can safely skip it.
Could be bloodier, but not guilty.
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