Friday Night Frights: "Sleepaway Camp" (1983) | Movie Review

Genre: Horror, Slasher
Release Date: November 18, 1983
Runtime: 1 hr. 24 min.
MPAA Rating: PG-13

Welcome back to Friday Night Frights! This week we are talking about an 80s slasher Sleepaway Camp (1983). I have to say, the more movies I watch the rarer it is for me to be really surprised at the end. But Sleepaway Camp did it, my immediate reaction after I finished it was something along the lines of "What the fuck did I just watch?!" Let's start at the beginning though...

After a tragic accident, Angela has been living with her very strange aunt. The girl is very shy and awkward, so when she is sent away to summer camp she is greeted with a lot of bullying. Oh, and also people keep getting murdered. Sounds like a perfect summer getaway, doesn't it? As it happens in most slashers, we watch the unknown killer take out the victims in bizarre ways until the final reveal. And this movie will definitely raise some eyebrows with its final reveal.

Look, Sleepaway Camp is a pretty average 80s slasher. A lot of the acting is forced or just bad, some scenes are bizarre, some dialogue is questionable, some people clearly could have gotten away instead of letting themselves be murdered... But there is something about it that makes it worth watching. Part of it is, as I mentioned, the ending—I think it's ingrained in my memory for the rest of my life. But aside from that it's the kind of movie that's very much product of its time, one that we can look at now and realize how unintentionally funny some scenes are while others have dialogue that would never make it into a final script of one of the current releases. It also has some pretty creative and disturbing kills, which is a must for a slasher.

Is Sleepaway Camp a masterpiece? Absolutely not. Is it even a good horror film? Depends on how you like your horror (I'm leaning towards "no"). But I can easily recommend it to anyone looking for a weirdly entertaining old-school slasher with an unforgettable ending. And after watching it, I can't deny that on some level I definitely enjoyed it.


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