Its 2:07 am
So coming off our first RLJE/Shudder film,the cheetah and I decided to taste our luck with a most promising Scream Factory release called “Camp Cold Brook”. With the legendary horror master Joe Dante on board not only as a producer,but also lending his name “Joe Dante Presents” on the film’s cover,”Camp Cold Brook” looked like a solid pick right there but adding an beloved scream queen in Danielle Harris in the cast as well,all I could say to the cheetah was “hit that damn play button”!!
In a very weird case of deja vu,”Camp Cold Brook”s plot is almost the same as “DeadTectives”. Jack Wilson (Chad Michael Murray) is the host of a reality paranormal show called “Haunt Squad”. The show has been on for three years but Jack is being told that his show is going to be cancelled at the end of its current season. Of course Jack has an idea for “the biggest show” yet which not only buys him the rest of the season but also a 4th season as well….
Now he has to actually come up with a killer idea and soon he and his teammates are hunkered down trying to come up that idea. The rest of the team includes Angela (Danielle Harris) who handles the moniters,Kevin (Michael Eric Reid) who handles the cameras and electronics and Emma (Candice De Visser) who assists where she is needed. Jack and the team go over several ideas but they’re just covering the same tired places every other show has covered. Emma then suggests a new place,one that no one has ever covered,the tragedy at Camp Cold Brook which was a church run youth camp. 30 years ago,28 campers and staff were killed on one terrible night. It was said that woman who had lost her daughter due to a carelessly driven camp van,was also a witch who had gotten her revenge by poisoning some of the campers who then rose up and killed everyone else before committing suicide.
The camp was then abandoned by the church and no one has been there since. Jack likes the idea and soon the team is flying to Oklahoma and headed towards Camp Cold Brook to see if it will work as an episode of “Haunt Squad”.
The locals in town,including the sheriff,aren’t overjoyed to see Jack and his crew,they rather not have the memories disturbed.
One waitress,Marie (Cate Jones) tells Jack that her sister was killed that night. It takes a small “donation” to the sheriff before he allows the crew to go to Cold Brook. He and his deputy transport the team to camp and leaves them there,since no cell service can be had,the sheriff tells them “not to get lost”.
The team goes about setting up base and starting hooking up the cameras. The group bonds over a campfire and makes small talk before heading to bed. Jack wakes up,he senses something is off. He grabs an camera and looks outside,the fire they made made and put out earlier is going again. By the time Jack gets there,the fire is out but the firepit is cold.
From there,the camp begins to manifest different eerie events,Kevin gets tossed into a river while setting up a camera on a bridge.
Angela sees what appears to be ghosts on her moniter while Emma and Jack start noticing different Native American symbols…the tension starts to rise among the group and even when they try to leave,they can’t. While they try and figure out what is going on,the answers are a lot closer then they suspect……
Wow,if I read my review…..I would be so into watching “Camp Cold Brook”. But the plain truth is that this movie is bad and I mean really bad when you consider the cast involved and Joe Dante as an producer. There are so many things wrong with “Camp Cold Brook” but the biggest issue was it was BORING. The run time is 89 minutes but nothing happens until the last 15 minutes and even then,the main “twist” feels completely shoehorned at the last minute. There is zero build up or suspense leading to the ending,its just dumped into the last 15 minutes almost like an afterthought.
The characters are paper thin and behave in ways that aren’t reflective of how they would act being that they had worked together for years. I had a hard time believing any of these folks would fall apart at the drop of a hat ESPECIALLY since they were looking for the strange and unexplained,I would see them being excited at first and then slowly change their minds.
The fact the sheriff would drop them in the camp without transportation or a radio for a week was also laughable and hurts the overall feeling of the film. There are other items that don’t ring true that cause you to shake your head and go “yeah,right”.
The cast is game,Murray and Harris are doing the best they can,De Visser’s Emma gets zero character development and considering how she is the linchpin to the story,she gets very little screen time. While she only has the one scene,Cate Jones stands out as the waitress who lost her sister. Her look of pain and loss even after 30 years rung perfectly honest and heartfelt.
I know its a horror film and we’re supposed to suspend our belief on what we’re watching but if director Andy Palmer and writer Alex Carl want to insult the viewer with weak writing and poor direction,well expect to see some push back because “Camp Cold Brook” is a complete disaster and one of the worst films we have watched this year. Joe Dante deserves better.
“Camp Cold Brook” is rated “R” for language and has a run time of 89 minutes. Special features include a 20 minute feature with Palmer and Carl talking about the film,cast and crew commentary and a blooper reel.
The cheetah and I both gave a thumbs/paw down to “Camp Cold Brook”
What was the last film you watched that let you down after high expectations? Drop a comment below.