Camp Twilight is a 2020 Florida-made modern day slasher film about a group of at-risk high school students who are offered passing grades in exchange for joining their principal and a couple teachers on a weekend camping trip at a local park. As you might expect, Camp Twilight was produced with little-to-no budget, and it clearly shows. That said, I’m not sure how much this really hurts the film.
The film opens with a news report that Camp Twilight has just recently re-opened under new management. Coincidentally, it is also the 30th anniversary of over a dozen murders that occurred at the park, and ultimately closed it to the public. The reporter interviews the state’s park director, who assures the public that Camp Twilight is perfectly safe. To prove that this man has no clue what he is talking about, the interview is intercut with a sequence featuring a young couple being killed by an axe-wielding assailant at the park. The opening credits soon follow and, just as coincidentally, they also seem to last for 30 years.
Camp Twilight tends to waver more on the comedic side of things, as evidenced by the following sequence when the park rangers find the bloody campsite the next morning. This scene seemingly exists only to showcase the film’s co-star, Dave Sheridan (Scary Movie, Frank McKlusky, C.I.), playing yet another goofy, eccentric character, and to allow a certain cameo appearance. That said, the kill scenes are not carried out in comedic fashion, and the film does get much darker and dramatic in the final act.
As for the “slasher” aspect of things, Camp Twilight adds nothing new to the formula, but to be fair, not many “slashers” (or psuedo-“slashers”) of the past 30 years have. There’s not a “kill” here that you haven’t seen countless times before, but generally they tend to be a bit more bloody and graphic in other films of the sub-genre. As far as these things go, Camp Twilight is probably “middle of the pack”, albeit lower-middle. There are dozens of slasher films that are better, and probably twice as many that are undeniably worse (especially in the last 20 years alone).
What helps Camp Twilight stand out from the rest of the ever-growing pack, at least somewhat, is an exceptionally entertaining performance from horror film vet and slasher icon, Felissa Rose (Sleepaway Camp). Rose stars as “Jessica Bloom”, one of the teachers who will be chaperoning the camp-out. Jessica is hilariously out-of-touch with her young students, and provides more than a few laughs in her often over-exuberant attempts to “liven up” the trip. As Rose co-wrote the script with the film’s director, Brandon Amalotte, I’m sure that writing to her own strengths as an actress helped with the performance.
Despite these more comedic elements, Camp Twilight does throw in some teen drama if only to create at least one “red herring”, but as these are supposed to be hormonal teens (and in some cases, look to be portrayed by such), it should be somewhat expected. However, as mentioned prior, the film does take a darker turn in the final act, leaving its humorous intentions far behind. As such, the film’s tone is wildly inconsistent, which will undoubtedly turn off many a viewer.
Camp Twilight does feature some strong language, implied teen sexuality, one quick moment of gratuitous nudity, and (of course) numerous killings. Overall, the film feels incredibly tame, even by the standards set forth by numerous other no-budget slashers. As also mentioned, blood is really quite minimal, and “gore” is pretty much non-existent. While being far from what I would call a “bad” movie, Camp Twilight is still a pretty hard one to sell.
Those who do stick it out will find that the film, as well as the majority of its performances, are better than they may have first assumed, which was definitely the case with me. I fully expected to hate this film, but I didn’t, so that’s ultimately the compliment to be had. Viewers may also be pleased to find cameos and bit roles from the likes of Vernon Wells, Linnea Quigley, and more.
Camp Twilight was distributed by Dark Coast, and was released to streaming sites on November 1st, 2020. The film is available on InDemand, DirecTV, Vudu, FlixFling, and Fandango.