Ricky attends summer camp with his cousin Angela, where a series of grisly murders occurs.
I’d tried watching this several times but could never get past the awful acting during the film’s opening. I can’t say the acting improves—the performances vary from passable to awful—but the film has its strong points.
Foremost, it’s a camp slasher set at a camp with children. You wouldn’t think this a rarity, yet, up to this point, the Friday the 13th films had featured camps populated only with teen counselors arrived early to prepare the facility before the kids arrive.
Sleepaway Camp proffers a lakeside camp teeming with kids, and staffed by a bonkers group of characters. A pederast cook and shady owner. The requisite bitchy female counselor, and the surprising muscle-bound-but-sensitive male counselor. The male teen fashions—think crop tops and short-shorts—had me roaring.
As for the kids, Ricky’s fine, but Angela wanders through the movie with a perpetual deer-in-headlights stare that teeters between creepy and hilarious. Their nominal antagonist, Judy, proves an inspired caricature. Think Lolita by way of Jersey.
And yet, in a so-bad-it’s-good way, Sleepaway Camp charms in its earnestness. The body-count may be low, but the gruesome practical effects shine.
Indeed, the tone and performances reminded me of Friday the 13th: A New Beginning. Though unlike that film’s left-field twist, I saw this one’s big reveal coming.