Camp Hope (2010)

   

Produced, Written & Directed by: George VanBuskirk

Starring:

Will Denton .... Tommy Leary
Bruce Davison .... Fr. Phineaes McAllister
Christopher Denham .... Christian
Connor Paolo .... Jack
Valentina de Angelis .... Melissa
Sasha Neulinger .... Jimmy
Andrew McCarthy .... Michael Leary
Dana Delany .... Patricia Leary
Caroline London .... Rose Leary

Release Date: Limited Theatrical: August 13, 2010

 
Rating:

 

A troubled teen named Tommy Leary (Will Denton) is sent to a bible camp by his religious parents where he meets his camp counsellor Christian (Christopher Denham) about the rules there and having his mind poisoned about good and bad deeds.
He also meets a girl named Melissa (Valentina de Angelis) who manipulates him to sneak out at night with her.
The head preacher Fr. Phineaes McAllister (Bruce Davison) makes his stay less welcoming making him refuse to see the girls at the camp.
A demonic force is at the camp in which everyone ends up by having the same nightmare along with satanic pentagrams suddenly displayed at their camp chapel including possessions occuring.

 

The story starts off in an interesting fashion with a family gathered together to say a prayer in which this left me an impression that these people are taking religion too far as well as the youngest child Rose snitching on her brother Tommy telling them he has sinned for having a girlfriend in which this seemed like a brainwashing belief and fearing that he is going to be in alot of trouble.
Then there's a head priest named Fr. Phineaes McAllister talking to a disturbed teen as this kid acts paranoid in which this is a nice key to the story giving you a feel that something nasty is going to happen later on and well written in. Makes you look forward to seeing the terrors later on.
Then we see the family drive through a wooded dirt road and are troubled by some backwooded headbangers which nicely draws to the story too for anyone who rebels against religion. Plus we see Tommy's father Michael Leary doing a blessing for his son before going to camp as I was convinced right then this family was a little dysfunctional with their beliefs.
Then when Tommy enters his cabin soon afterwards he meets his camp counsellor Christian telling them the rules of no rocks music, magazines and other stuff most people have fun in which this looked well put in on a brainwashing religious environment by having too many rules on your typical everyday teenage lifestyles. Christian also grabs a comic book from one of the campers named Jack in which you have a feeling that he will make judgements on him since it's a Spawn comic also I felt he was going to tear it up and he just does that. This was a nice touch on a counsellor you don't want to have while being at camp in which I was starting to enjoy this flick already by having these types of roles.
Then we have Fr. Phineases McAllister preaching about the rules at the campground and how bad it is with lusting with a boy and a girl and then this looked nicely put in for a start on a horror story too making you think that some demonic events will happen later on effecting the kids at the camp or even possessions making me look forward to watching this even more.
Also there's great nightmare sequences involving poor Tommy which looked dark and creepy on him being trapped in some dark hole in the ground or even him discussing about his Grandfather warning him about the campground when a group of them gathered up with Christian is discussed which seemed cool to watch this too and perfectly put in and then moments on him running away in the woods which keeps you in suspense but really we find out he's playing capture the red flag and is troubled by those headbangers again as I love a film involving troublemakers in which you have a bad feeling that a fight might break out then or later on.
Then we have a nice suggested romance with a girl at the camp named Melissa towards Tommy about secretly sneaking out to meet her and then Phineases later on approaches them and calls her a tramp in which this left me an impression that this preacher is not a good person at all which works for a horror flick perfectly.
There's some good horror demonic moments when some of the kids spot some figures displayed but then are set differently with Mother Mary moving her head which looked creepy.
There's even a moment with Phineases acting disturbed while listening to his tape recorder making you wonder if he was possessed as well as spotting headless doves underneath his pillow in which we all know this is Satan's doing so the horror is coming together more and more and this looked well done in general.
What's really suspenseful is when both Melissa and Tommy get together and are about to have pre-marital sex out in the woods as the setting here looked dark and perfect. However they keep their clothes on. They also hear a sound which makes you cringe as to wondering if they will end up getting caught since there's plenty of brainwashing by the people working there and will explode if they see this.
Another nice jumping moment is when Melissa sneaks back into her cabin and all the girls start crying out an evil chant in their nightmares making this scene look effective and dark or even when Phineases encounters satantic pentagrams at the chapel in the campground which also looked nicely effective.
To top it off the next day is when Tommy is forced to call his parents on what he did confessing a sin and the father making out he will disown him as this was perfect peer pressure and mind poisoning on how far a family will go with their beliefs.
Also it was nice to see Jack stand up to Christian and brawling it out on him along with speaking his mind which grew a smile on me for being a horrible camp counsellor.
What was nicely drawn together is Jack and his father talking to Tommy's parents on that troubled teen that was discussed in the beginning of the film that was badly poisoned by Phineaes and what him and his sibling did nearly possessing suicide as this definetely makes you think on how far you can go with someone's beliefs onto another plus some demonic possessions too that occurs here. It seems to twist the plot onto Tommy and his sister Rose as this looked clever on how this was drawn in too.
There's also cool possessions on one of the austistic campers changing his voice as all of this was powerfully written in too since alot of bible camp horror flicks needs to have something like this too.
Bottom line is the film is based on true events which I can understand since many people have discussed these types of situations. The story seemed like a psychological drama at first and then the horror does come into it which all of this looked exciting to watch. Sometimes the story lagged a little too long though and there's the odd disappointing moments in certain spots when you expect to be frightened and at times it doesn't happen. Otherwise this was well done and worth chacking out if you like bullying religious fanatics and dysfunctional family members.

The acting was pretty goos for the most part as lead actor Will Denton (Tommy Leary) seemed to do well with his disturbed and quiet attitude in which he was believeable by acting troubled as well as having an emotional behavior too. He seemed to stady this role inside out and really was good by acting unhappy about his lifestyle. Does well breathing heavily and running into the woods. Performs well by having a nervous reactions on situations.
Bruce Davison
(Fr. Phineaes McAllister) certainly was very powerful as a head preacher in the film in which he had the great middle aged looks along with sounding uplifting and then changing that to having a disturbed type of attitude. He also was great by acting intense along with showing a perfect aggressive attitude. Shows a good calm seriousness towards a cast member as he does well getting hysterical and crying untrollably in which he was intensely driven in a great fashion here. Does well breathing heavily in his cabin and acting obnoxious and disturbed after listening to a tape. Does well screaming and acting physical towards his fellow cast member by smacking him around as this was highly energised. He drew this all in and was a great character actor.
Christopher Denham
(Christian) portrayed a perfect seriousness into his role as well as knowing on how to behave like a bullying camp counsellor with his obnoxious attitude. A nice approach by him introducing himself and discussing the rules in a cabin as he was good and clear with his words and coming across good and sharp along with knowing on how to act aggressive too as this looked very powerful on coming across as unpleasant with his actions. Does well acting emotional towards someone by asking him to pray for him as this looked sharply done. He came across perfectly onto the screen within all of this and showed a ton of great energy and not lacking one bit with all of this.
Connor Paolo (Jack) of course knew his stuff as a mischieveous teen who speaks his mond making this role come to life. He pulled off a good assertive and aggressive attitude and rolled with the punches terrifically as one of those smart assed but likeable types. I found his part quite effective too. Does a terrific job losing his temper screaming and shouting towards one of the cast members and then striking at him which this showed perfect timing and believeably physical and hyped up.
Valentina de Angelis (Melissa) certainly showed a good bubbly type of hyped up personality into her role and really knew on how to act like one of those un shy types showing some great spunk into her role. Does well speaking flirtatious towards a cast member and being charming. She was pretty good by performing this type of role on someone with a sense of adventure in their mind.
Sasha Neulinger (Jimmy) brought on a perfect autisic type of role with his stuttering and made this look very realistic with everything that he did making you wonder as if he's really like that or not. He looked right for this role too showing a nice expressionelss type of personality.
Andrew McCarthy (Michael Leary) certainly had an effective supporting role as a closed minded parent in the flick and really knew on how to be a religious fanatic and a good seriousness along with his strict attitude too. He shines on well even if he wasn't the main character in this one. Does well speaking prayers with his other cast members as his family in which was in a good serious fashion. Does well putting his hand on someone at a camp site doing a blessing which also looked powerful and seriously done.
Dana Delany
(Patricia Leary) brings on a great symathetic attitude as the other parent in the film showing a nice passiveness into her part of it. She knew on how to act calm with what she did as well as showing some good emotional personalities when something bad is happening. She portrayed a perfect loving type of family woman.

Headless doves are revealed underneath a preachers pillow
Wrists are slit
Trails of blood are exposed

The music was powerfully done in which we hear some hissing sounds as well as the odd drumbeats too. Plus there's good strong chanting sounds for when the demonic moments happen which really fits into the plotlines. There's also some nice piano type tapping in certain spots too. At times there's gloomy saxophone type sounds too in which we also hear during the opening credits. All of this is done by Gary DeMichele