21st September 2018 (Canada), 2018 Festival Circuit
Camp Crystal Meph has reopened but the curse of killer Johann Van Damme continues. Camp 'Death' has been given a new life as rehab center for mentally ill adults yet an unseen evil begins to murder campers and staff alike. Has Johann risen from the grave or is this the work of a copycat?
Dave Peniuk, Angela Galanopoulos, Darren Andrichuk
The 1970’s and 1980’s were notorious for putting hyperbolic warnings in their movie previews. Things like ‘Don’t see this movie alone’, or ‘The film so shocking, they tried to ban it in 60 countries!’. Usually, they’re simply marketing nonsense, a feeble attempt to bring out a false sense of bravery in those willing to proceed and ignore the signs.
The trailer for Matt Frame’s utterly insane Canadian comedy horror Camp Death III in 2D! carries one such caution. In its closing seconds, it repeatedly recommends those who did not laugh at the preceding 90 to stay away from the final product for fear of being upset – and it may be the wisest piece of advice I’ve heard all year.
Camp Death III in 2D!‘s semblance of a plot sees councillors at Camp Crystal Meph, the site of horrific killings in the past, try to re-open the site as a retreat for those, shall we say, less mentally able. Enter a variety of zany characters, all of which in danger of being the next victim of notorious serial killer Johann Van Damme.
And that’s pretty much it. Casting coherent plot aside like a used tissue, Camp Death III is unapologetically juvenile, toe-curlingly puerile and quite possibly the wildest horror I’ve ever seen. Its bar is set so low you could step over it; I rolled my eyes so frequently, I looked like wrestling legend The Undertaker during his entrance to the ring. It embraces its shoestring budget and accepts the challenge of not letting funding get in the way of a good time. In fact, some of the CGI did impress me, especially those involving gory deaths.
Take note, though: I said some of the CGI. In what appears to be a deliberate mocking of ever increasing reliance of special effects in infinitely bigger budget productions, Frame puts one of the most blatantly obvious displays of computer trickery on show during a hover bike and lightsaber chase (???) that would make even the most amateur film student cringe.
But most importantly, I laughed. More than once, actually. The whole charade is just so unpredictably bezerk that it’s impossible not to get on board with it. Impromptu musical numbers, murderous puppets, rubber chickens – it’s like Frame raided the prop box at the local theatre and conjured up the most bizarre uses for anything and everything he could find. Camp Death III switches up genre and tone at the turn of a corner and doesn’t give a damn if you like it or not.
What makes it work so well though is the willingness of all involved. There’s no hesitation from its extensive cast here, meaning the outlandish antics are exhibited to their full potential. Extra credit goes to Darren Andrichuk as the potty-mouthed and even fouler tempered Mel Boogjumper. This cantankerous character undoubtedly got the most laughs out of me for his vitriol-filled insults and a fuse shorter than a thumb tack.
Admittedly, Camp Death III‘s enthusiasm for escalating surreal humour eventually became a tad exhausting for me by its conclusion as it almost literally flies off the handle in its final act. My brain hurt from trying to figure out what in the blue blazes was going on, so I ended up submitting to Frame’s demented creation as it landed a barrage of blows overflowing with bizarreness.
Nevertheless, Camp Death III is a horror/comedy experience like no other. If you prefer your brand of humour to be a little more sophisticated, this probably isn’t the movie for you. Heck, even fans of slapstick and physical humour will likely find this to be too much. But the harsh reality is, if you made the conscious (but in my opinion very wise) decision to watch Camp Death III after watching the trailer, you brought this unhinged, uninhibited absurdity on yourself.
And you can’t say you weren’t warned. Many, many times.
Enthusiasm of cast, especially Darren Andrichuk as Mel Boogjumper
...All of it?