What we have here is a homage to the 'Camp Site Slasher' popularised by such films as 'Sleepaway Camp', 'The Burning' and of course 'Friday the 13th'. While in my opinion the film doesn't improve on anything that went before it, it is a fun ride, and one that will be enjoyed by anyone with more than a passing interest in the Slasher sub-genre. It also features Felissa Rose and Danielle Harris, two people who have a history in the Slasher sub-genre.
A group of young offenders are sent to a camp where they are informed upon their arrival, that they will be taking part in a reality television show helmed by the creator of 80's slasher franchise called 'Summer Camp'. The creator of said Slasher franchise hopes that this reality show will see 'Summer Camp' get a reboot. Each person must spend the first day setting up camp while trying to avoid a killer who will (pretend to) pick them off one by one, with the lone survivor winning a prize of one million dollars. Unfortunately for the young offenders, the pretend kills soon become real, and the stakes they are playing for increase as they get picked off one by one.
The film tries very hard to show it's love for the campside slasher, and in some ways it succeeds. The atmosphere is just right, creating tension and then allowing you to relax through laughing before shoving a scare down the throat of the viewer and splashing the screen with blood. While the acting isn't really that good (minus Eric Roberts, Felissa Rose and Danielle Harris) it definitely gives it a feeling of the low budget slashers of the 80's, and really helps the film more than hinders it.
The cinematography is beautiful and captures the camp site wonderfully. The movie does start off incredibly slowly, but this is where the character development comes in, and does make you relate to the characters more, even if none of them are that likeable (I am sure that was how the audience is supposed to feel about them).
The film does feature a fair few kills, and one that had me laughing to myself involved a prosthetic leg and it's user in a particularly memorable kill. There are also some sly nods for slasher fans out there, who will either laugh with joy or cringe at things such as someone finding a fridge with a broken lock and saying "I hope no one loses their head".
While not being anywhere close to perfect,'Camp Dread' is a decent homage to a time gone by, and is a fun, if uneven venture in slasher territory.