Sleepaway Camp IV: The Survivor

sleepaway-camp-4rev Sleepaway Camp IV: The Survivor  (2012)    Rainbow Films/Horror    RT: 70 minutes    Rated R (graphic violence and gore, language, nudity, sex, drug and alcohol use- all involving teens)    Director: Jim Markovic    Screenplay: Tommy Clohessy    Music: John Altyn    Cinematography: Peter Davis    Release date: March 23, 2012 (US, DVD)    Cast: Carrie Chambers, John Lodico, Victor Campos.


 Sleepaway Camp IV: The Survivor isn’t a movie, it’s a greatest hits compilation. It’s a lot of footage from the first three movies sloppily cobbled together (with a few scenes shot twenty years earlier) to form what somebody thinks is a movie. In fact, the story behind this movie is infinitely more interesting than anything that happens in it.

 The makers started shooting a new Sleepaway Camp sequel in 1992 but had to shut down production indefinitely after Double Helix Films, the studio behind parts II & III, went bankrupt. The footage that was shot during this brief time was released on a bonus disc in the Sleepaway Camp Survival Kit DVD box set in 2002. It was unwatchable. In 2012, the decision to complete the unfinished film was made. They mixed all the kill scenes from the first three movies with about ten minutes (if that) of the unused footage. The result is the biggest rip-off of a horror sequel since Silent Night, Deadly Night 2 which also consists mainly of scenes from the first movie.

 sleepaway-camp-4There’s something resembling a plot in Sleepaway Camp IV: The Survivor and most of it you can only read about in the opening titles. A girl named Allison (Chambers) survived one of the massacres but can’t remember much about it due to a form of trauma-induced amnesia. Her psychiatrist suggests she return to the campground (now Federal property) where the murders occurred and spend the day. Maybe it will jog her memory. He arranges for a park ranger (Lodico) to meet her there and act as guide. Again, this is all related in the opening titles.

 The “new” scenes show the girl sitting by the water (in a bathing suit, of course), observing the trees, remembering all the murders. This goes on for nearly an hour. There are flashbacks. There are flashbacks within flashbacks. The scenes aren’t in any particular order. There’s voiceover narration that doesn’t make a lot of sense. After all the murders are shown, she encounters the ranger who tries to rape her. She runs away and encounters a hunter (Campos) in the woods. She kills both men and puts their bodies in an abandoned cabin. End of movie. It turns out the amnesiac is no other than Angela Baker herself. Duh, who didn’t know that already? Think about it. Who’s the only Sleepaway Camp character present at every killing? It’s not rocket science, people. It’s not any kind of science. It’s BS is what it is.

 You’ll no doubt notice that I neglected to give Sleepaway Camp IV: The Survivor a star rating. That’s on purpose. There’s absolutely nothing to review. It’s like asking a sports commentator to talk about a game based solely on the highlights reel. Yes, the kill scenes are cool IN CONTEXT. Here, there’s no rhyme, reason or rhythm to them. They’re just filler to help the “movie” (I have such a difficult time calling it that) hit the minimum length to make it qualify as a feature film. The “new” footage sucks. Because there’s so little of it, I can’t comment on things like acting, plot or character development. Not that any of those things matter in a Sleepaway Camp movie anyway. I didn’t even know this movie existed until I spotted it on Wikipedia while researching the franchise. I was lucky (was I really?) to even find a copy as it appears to be out-of-print (and for good reason!).

 Sleepaway Camp IV: The Survivor is bad even by the low standards of DTV horror sequels. It’s very poorly made; I’ve seen amateur home movies of family camping trips that look better. It’s nothing more than a ploy to get fans to spend their money on something that isn’t even worth the plastic wrap on the DVD. ‘Tis but a footnote in the Sleepaway Camp series. It’s best dumped in the same landfill as Lily Miranda (the camp owner from the third movie) and forgotten. It need never see the light of day again. Angela Baker deserves much better than this. 

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