No wonder the movie is titled "Camp Hell."
I understand the intent of putting Jesse Eisenberg front and center on the cover, the art of which suggests a camp-counselor slasher in the style of Friday the 13th, but The Social Network star has little more than a cameo, and the film is unfortunately more of a drama.
I say unfortunately not because its bad, but because its based on true events to be exact, those of its debuting writer/director George VanBuskirk. He grew up in a strict Catholic community in New Jersey called People of Hope, where kids were sent to the religion-based Camp Hope for two weeks each summer to have so much guilt surrounding their natural bodies hammered into them, it qualifies as soul-crushing abuse.
His fictionalized self is Tommy Leary (Will Denton, Fright Night), in whom Father McAllister (Bruce Davison, X-Men) takes a heavy interest. Tommys not a bad kid, but because hes ravaged by hormones, hes a target of the adults. I got a tiny Donnie Darko vibe off Tommys mental faculties as a result of the camps policies and actions.
Things for Tommy arent any better at home, where his parents (Andrew McCarthy and Dana Delany, whos playing the polar opposite of her hedonistic S&M queen from "Exit to Eden") practically equate impure thoughts with first-degree murder.
With strong performances all around, its a well-made movie, if not particulary one Id want to revisit. Its important to note that Camp Hell is not anti-Christian, but anti-crazy Christian. There's a huge difference. Rod Lott