Sleepaway Camp II: Unhappy Campers


Title: Sleepaway Camp II: Unhappy Campers
Rating: 4/5
Genre: Horror, Comedy
Starring: Pamela Springsteen, Renee Estevez, Brian Patrick Clarke
Director: Michael A. Simpson
Duration: 79 mins

Ah, Camp Rolling Hills. A summer camp of teenage angst and drama. Innocent girl Molly has fallen for handsome Sean. Rob is trying his damnedest to get bad girl Ally to notice him. Kids Charlie and Emilio are trying to capture all the pretty girls topless on camera. And transsexual psychopath and counselor of the week Angela Baker wants to rid the camp of all the "bad" campers and leave only the good.

On the surface, this seems like your average slasher flick. But once you've seen it as many times as I have, you pick up on so many subtleties. First of all, there is so much conflict between characters that if it were a more serious movie it'd look like a soap opera. Virginal Molly's awkwardness around slutty Ally, who is fighting for the affection of the same boy, and her companionship with outcast Angela, who may or may not have a girl crush on Molly and who head counselor TC has eyes for, is a perfect example of the emotional depth and complexity apparent in this rather silly movie. Second of all, this film is very satirical at times, both blatantly and subtly. There are pop culture references all over the place. The characters are all named after 80's "brat pack" members; two of the stars are siblings to celebrities (Pamela Springsteen is Bruce's sister, Renee Estevez is Charlie Sheen and Emilio Estevez's sister); and horror icons Freddy, Jason, and Leatherface are spoofed in a double-death scene.

Sleepaway Camp II is full of memorable characters thanks to the talented actors and writing involved. It's also easy to see that everyone had a blast making this movie as it has a very fun vibe throughout. The direction gives the movie a very fast pace and the photography emphasizes the lush forest and rustic cabin settings. The soundtrack features songs from Anvil, Obsession, The Dead Milkmen, and Hurricane. We are also treated to the best sing-a-long in any horror film, "The Happy Camper Song," sung by Pamela Springsteen. Lastly, the death scenes are creative, bloody, and unique. The most memorable is a nasty drowning in a leech infested outhouse.

It is my opinion that this is the best entry in the Sleepaway Camp series. There is no doubt that the first film is an all-time horror classic with one of the best endings in history, but part II offers everything you could want in an 80's slasher film. Part III was filmed back to back with part II and features the same satire, complex character relationships, and hijinks.

Trailer (contains nudity)

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