Sleepaway Camp - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Sleepaway Camp Reviews

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½ November 22, 2015
A great horror film that was critically misunderstood at the time of its release. The acting isn't great, but the unique premise and eerie atmosphere make this a classic in the horror genre.
November 10, 2015
Sometimes a twist ending becomes more famous than the movie it derives from ("The Crying Game," "The Sixth Sense"), and "Sleepaway Camp," a shameless 1983 "Friday the 13th" knock-off, is no exception: it contains perhaps the most shocking, most memorable plot jerk in the history of horror cinema. It is so out of the blue, yet so surprisingly believable, that we leave the theater stunned and disturbed, a sign of an effective horror movie if there ever was one. It's the sort of film you cannot watch a second time - knowing of what's to come will ruin that intense screech you may have emitted during first viewing.
All jolts aside, though, "Sleepaway Camp" is nothing more than a paltry slasher that gets more credit than it deserves simply because of its conclusion. Had it gone the "Halloween" or "Black Christmas" route, leaving the identity of the killer ambiguous one way or another, it would be a rote, boring even, foray into the genre, not necessarily because of its lack of blood but because of its lack of genuine suspense or interest as to what's coming next. Most who view the film as an important moment in the history of horror better think again - if it didn't have that final gut punch, would it be so infamous, so renowned? I don't think so.
It introduces itself with a laughable sequence set in 1975, with a family out boating for the day. It is a warm summer afternoon, perfect for familial bonding - laughs abound as father and his two kids, Peter and Angela, frolic around the starboard, pushing each other playfully into the water when need be. But such picturesque sun-soaked fun cannot last in a 1980s slasher movie, so it comes as no surprise when a couple of reckless teenagers with a motorboat fail to pay attention to what's in front of them for a good two minutes and crash into the family, instantly killing father and Peter.
Eight years later, Angela (Felissa Rose) is living with her quirky aunt, Martha (Desiree Gould), and spends every waking moment reliving the traumatic incident that destroyed her childhood. She hardly ever speaks, her overprotective cousin Ricky (Jonathan Tiersten) doing most of the talking. As the film opens, the kids are being shipped off to Camp Arawak, where they will spend the next month or so. Ricky is familiar with most of its goers, but Angela, shy and innocent, is mercilessly picked on, particularly by the melodramatically bitchy Judy (Karen Fields) and her sidekick, Meg (Katherine Kamhi). So you could say that the atmosphere reaches unfathomably tense heights when mysterious attacks and murders begin occurring left and right, the person responsible impossible to guess as a sleepaway camp holds hundreds of inhabitants.
Though it bears a concept worth a great deal of interest, writer/director Robert Hilztik does not have quite enough filmmaking skill to provide "Sleepaway Camp" with the self-referential tone it would so greatly benefit from. It feels like a parody in itself, with body builder counselors, sexually thirsty (and disgusting) camp head honchos, aggressively mean girls, and virginal youths as stereotypes that never seem to be in on the joke. What's more, the deaths, though a bit more inventive than its slasher peers (consider slaughters that involve a stickily situated beehive and a vomit inducing use of a curling iron), feel like a chore the film had to endure in order to stay in place as a dead teenager movie. They lack any sort of excitement, coming by hastily and without much payoff.
Perhaps I'm in the minority - its cult fanbase considers "Sleepaway Camp" to be even better than "Friday the 13th" - but the film is, in truth, a run-of-the-mill slasher that just so happens to be christened with a great ending. Take away its gimmick and what do you have? A snoozer.
October 31, 2015
Looks like the typical 80s slasher film but the ending (I have already seen) is awesome.
October 31, 2015
I love this film! Pure 80's gold, camp slasher movie that more than makes up for its lack of actual slashing with some beautifully amusing weirdness and the greatest final scene in horror film history. I will also just add that the fact this film did not win (or even get nominated for) the Oscar for Best Costume Design is an utter disgrace!
October 28, 2015
One of the BEST horror movie plot twists ever.
½ October 12, 2015
Sleepaway Camp is a superb slasher flick that deserves way more appreciation.
½ October 12, 2015
This is bad and good with elements in the bad column that boost my ranking quite a bit. Gould as Aunt Martha is so completely over the top it exceeds it's amateurishness to become a tour de force. The ending is one that should stick with the average movie goer for quite some time. There are many elements that make little to no sense, but i quite expected that.
October 4, 2015
A decent slasher with a twisted but yet not unpredictable ending
½ September 29, 2015
This film is Such an unpleasent, tasteless and for the most part an uninspired rip off of the film Friday the 13. The only reason that this isnt given a one star is the original somewhat creative ending. But even that is a bit tasteless and overall doesnt save the movie from being undisirable in my opinion. i give it 2 stars out of 5
½ September 29, 2015
Sleepaway Camp has arguably one of the most creepy and epic conclusions in horror movie history. That alone makes it a worthy watch and one of the best slashers to come out of the golden era of horror.
September 18, 2015
You can see the influence of Halloween (1978) and Friday the 13th (1980) in this movie but it's also kind of its own thing. I watched it because the ending is supposed to be one of the most unexpected twists and it was. Not a bad movie.
½ August 31, 2015
Psycockticly Tromaresque.
August 23, 2015
Bonkers crazy film that gets better with each subsequent viewing! For those of your friends who haven't seen this film you MUST make them watch it and DON'T spoil the ending for them! An @HDTGM classic!
½ August 22, 2015
An 80s slasher with a none expected twist - interesting though there is a lot of bad acting but still a good watch.
August 13, 2015
It's horrible but entertainment is high
August 10, 2015
A past boating tragedy, sarcastic teenaged campers, murders, and a shocking twist ending make up this classic 80s slasher which is one of those totally uneven low-budget films with inexplicable staying power.
August 9, 2015
sleepaway camp is my favorite slasher movie. the movie was made in the 80's around the time Halloween and Friday the 13th was made. you don't know who the killer is and the end is so shocking and chilling you will think about it for days.
July 24, 2015
Besides an exceptionally shocking ending, there's really not much else. The majority of Sleepaway Camp is standard fare for post-Friday the 13th slashers. [C+]
July 19, 2015
Jesus Christ, the ending! :O That is one badly messed up scene - the whole film gets bonus stars purely for the last minute!
July 18, 2015
A classic! Sleepaway Camp is great - terrible acting (part of it's charm), slutty teenagers... totally 80's. The reason this has such a cult following is because of the shocking reveal at the end. Shocking indeed...especially when you are only 14 when you see it the first time, haha!
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