Felissa Rose as Angela
Jonathan Tierstenas Ricky
Karen Fields as Judy
Christopher Colletas Paul
By Ronnie Angel
So many things come to mind when watching Sleepaway Camp. Many emotions are jarred by both the themes in the movie and the movie elements themselves. One is a certain nostalgia that comes up from remembering summer camp moments from childhood. Another is the uncontrollable need to burst into hysterical laughter at certain points during Sleepaway Camp due to both the dated quality of the flick and the sub par acting. Sleepaway Camp has cheesy written all over it. This is a great movie for inviting buddies over, cracking a beer and laughing at it all together (the cop with the magic marker moustache is especially hilarious, among other things).
But then, there is a twist at the end that quickly silences the laughter – one that is quite horrible and disturbing even by horror standards. When it’s all over you will want to watch it again. Sleepaway Camp is a very dark and disturbing movie. It is also a very good and effective horror movie. Even today (2006) it is unique.
Sleepaway Camp starts with a family out for a fun day on their boat. This quickly turns tragic, however, when there is a horrible accident that leaves both the father and brother dead.
Fast forward several years to the surviving daughter, Angela (Felissa Rose in a great performance), living with her cousin Ricky and her severely disturbed aunt Martha, and getting ready to go away to summer camp. It’s obvious that the terminally shy Angela is not right from the get-go, as she never even says a word for the first half of the movie, and even after that her dialogue is minimal.
Upon arrival at the camp Angela is tormented by the other kids and almost molested by the cook. This is where the fun begins, as the cook soon needs to be hospitalized after falling (being pushed?) into a boiling pot of water. Then the bodies start to pile up. More and more of the folks who torment Angela wind up dead.
Angela’s cousin, Ricky, always sticks up for Angela and reacts violently to the teasing by the other campers. This leads the camp owner to believe that Ricky is the killer…but is he?
Throughout all of this mayhem in Sleepaway Campthere is a back story going on. Angela finds love and a glimmer of hope for her sad life, and slowly starts to come out of her shell. Later on though, all hope disintegrates and she completely loses it.
Now there is really no big secret in the whole movie as to the killer’s identity. This is pretty much known all along. But therein lies the big twist in the movie. Angela, it turns out has a horrible secret and when you see it for the first time it is truly shocking.
Sleepaway Camp is a really great horror “cult classic”. Several sequels have spawned, and the film has gathered quite a huge following. If you like slasher movies or cheesy fun horror movies or very disturbing movies, then this movie is definitely for you.