Cheerleader Camp: To the Death 2014 Review

Cheerleader Camp: To The Death 2014

Directed by: Dustin Ferguson

Starring: Jarad Allen, Jennifer Banko, Karrie Bauman

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Review by Luisito Joaquín González

So, a killer stalking cheerleaders that are training in some remote woodland in a film called Cheerleader 5767665454565657687879898Camp. Have we seen that before? I don’t know anymore… I’m going back to sleep.

Yes457687878776654565767687878 so here we have another extremely rare one from director Dustin Ferguson, the guy who also gave us Doll Killer, which I’ll review for you soon. In many ways, Ferguson reminds me of Gary Whitson, because his films are generally lowest of the low in terms of budget, but tick the boxes in terms of genre recognition and fun. Whitson has done a fair bit in his career, but nothing outshines the accomplishment of discovering the beautiful Tina Krause. Could Ferguson go on to achieve something similar?

 

A year ago, five cheerleaders were horribly mutilated and burned to death by an unknown 43456576878798877665656565someone replacing the water source to a sprinkler hose with sulphuric acid. Now, a group of girls return to the same site to prepare for the regional dance off for the first time since that fateful accident. Amongst them is Tanya, a youngster who was replaced on the last event due to her being ill. Living with the guilt that she escaped certain demise, she becomes a mother figure to the more sensitive members of the troupe and stands up to the lead bully. Almost as soon as they arrive though, their coach wanders off into the night and is seemingly slaughtered by a masked killer. Stranded with no contact with the outside world, the girls have to overcome their 5567687878777665657687878798differences and do battle with the psychopathic assailant.

Cheerleader Camp kicks off with the aforementioned acid/sprinkler sequence, which despite not being delivered as well as it could have, still provides a gruesome shock. There’s perhaps nothing more frightening than the thought of having a molten liquid thrown in to your face and Ferguson tops it off with some tacky gore to boot. After an impressive credit sequence (the film has an awesome soundtrack), we meet the teenagers that will narrate us through the synopsis. It’s here that Camp somewhat loses some credibility, which is mainly because of two things. Firstly, the acting is extremely erratic and seems to 4456565768787766565657687descend into the depths of absurdity every time something happens that requires emotion. Secondly – and perhaps most importantly – the audio and clarity of the picture jumps from bad to abysmal at the drop of a hat.

There was a scene early on that saw Tanya explain her nervous behaviour on the trip. The dialogue was so difficult to hear and comprehend that I turned the volume on my TV up to 45. This was absolutely fine until the music kicked in and deafened everyone within a 200-yard radius. It’s strange because at times, Camp looks to have been comfortably produced, but then every now and then we are given lengthy set-ups that look to have been filmed on an old-skool Nokia. I guess in a way that my opinion of the film’s visual and audible quality could be re-used to describe the entire movie. We get a couple of genuinely out-there nightmare sequences and some creative camera 4456576879898876656565placements that show panache from the director. These few moments of credibility though are often diluted by something unnecessarily inept that appears just moments after.

Overall, it’s fair to say that Camp achieves the feat of paying tribute to some of the genre’s lesser-known titles superbly. I’m sure that I’m not the only one that’s tired of the amount of new-age entries that are so desperate to prove that they’ve seen more than one eighties-slasher that they broadcast each tribute in neon lights. It reminds me of those short fifty-year olds that buy a Ferrari to compensate for their insecurities (party sausage??). Well in Cheerleader Camp, the homages are more under-played and the Jeep (similar to the one from the first Friday the 13th), a plunger murder (Bikini Island) and the killer’s guise (Girl’s Nite Out) are much more refined. In fact the only obvious acknowledgement was a verbal nod to Cropsy from 45656576878787877665656565The Burning. Oh and talking of the killer’s guise, here we have one of the best. A maniac in a Panda suit… Brilliant! I was somewhat surprised that there was no featured nudity, but Karrie Bauman, who played Sophia, certainly provided some eye-candy.

Recently, I was in my town centre in desperate need of some Wagamama action. My heart sunk when I noticed that my local chain was closed for refurbishment. Highly disgruntled, I headed off to buy a pack of Japanese noodles from Tesco, which was only a cheap compensation. Cheerleader Camp is very similar, because it’s an extreme budget example of the parts of these films that we adore. Sure, it’s certainly not going to win any awards, but it does offer some pretty fun scenarios. El cheapo fun for sure, but fun all the same…

Slasher Trappings:

Killer Guise:√√√√√

Gore:√√

Final Girl:√√

RATING:

434565768787877665768798

Posted on July 25, 2015, in Slasher and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.

  1. Well, if a panda suit worked for you, you should check out the Ozploitation flick, The Director’s Cut. That one had a koala…a creepy koala…

  2. By the way, finally get to see this and I believe six cheerleaders got acid bathe…unless there’s a twist from the killer’s confession. You’re right about the audio, can’t hear a thing…

  3. Dustin Ferguson

    Thanks for the review! I wish there was something we could do about the audio. My audio guy was using a wireless capture device attached to the camera for the sound. Because we filmed this literally in the middle of nowhere (seriously had a 2 mile walk thru a dense forest from where we could park the cars) we had lots of interference to the signal. Meaning it resulted in some pretty messed up audio that I had to run thru several filters just to get it to the point of being able to follow along. It is actually more improved in the final cut, because little do some people know, my distributor at the time uploaded a small resolution UNFINISHED .mp4 screener copy to Amazon for that streaming version. I only found out it was even released when it randomly showed up on Amazon with no explanation from him! So I apologize for the technical quality of the film. The badly compressed, over contrasted and barely audible version that was (wrongly) released doesn’t do it justice.

    • Hi Dustin, it’s a pleasure to have you aboard! As I hope I conveyed in the review the film is a great tribute to the slasher genre. I would love to see the better quality version. BTW tonight I’m watching Terror at Black Tree Forest! If you would like any more movies featured, just give me a shout 😉

      • Dustin Ferguson

        Oh god, Terror at Black Tree Forest was my first film (I’ve done 25 films so far), so I don’t expect that to be a great review 😉 I’d love for you to check out Die Sister, Die!, Gloved Murderess or Silent Night, Bloody Night 2. Those are far better examples of my directing abilities. I noticed you mentioned Doll Killer as well, keep in mind the “technical issues” with that one are intentional, as it’s meant to be like you are watching it on a badly damaged bootleg tape 😉

      • Hi Dustin, I’ll definitely check all of those out – thanks so much 🙂 I’ll make a note of what you said about Terror at Black Tree Forest

  1. Pingback: Terror at Black Tree Forest 2010 Review | a SLASH above...

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