They say the past should be left behind, but in the eerie tale Camp Cold Brook they remain front and center. Thanks to the insightful approach from director Andy Palmer and steady as they come acting from veterans Chad Michael Murray (House of Wax) and Danielle Harris (Hatchet II), Camp Cold Brook is a cut above the average horror film.
Reality show host Jack Wilson (Chad Michael Murray) is on the ropes, as his program Haunt Squad is on its last legs. Running out of ideas, crew Emma (Candice De Visser) suggest they travel to Oklahoma and investigate Camp Cold Brook, the site where campers were drowned in a nearby creek some 20 years ago.
Sarcastic cameraman Kevin (Michael Eric Reid) points out that this obscure place has barely been covered by other paranormal shows, so why bother? Emma counters that by checking out Camp Cold Brook, they can make their mark on unclaimed territory (reality television wise). Jack and the show’s producer Angela (Danielle Harris) decide that’s the best move, and they’re off to what Kevin describes as “hicksville in the sticksville.”
Director Andy Palmer (The Funhouse Massacre) could have turned Camp Cold Brook into another found footage movie based on the premise, but he eschews that notion and also decides to keep the actual violence to a minimum (if you’re looking for a gorefest, you’ve come to the wrong place). In its stead, Palmer slathers a ton of suspense and chills into this low budget affair. Palmer makes due with the resources at hand, and his mounting of the film’s climactic night scene, juxtaposed a montage of a haunted memory, is well executed.
Chad Michael Murray and Danielle Harris are always solid actors to anchor a project, and it’s also a plus that Michael Eric Reid and Candice De Visser also bring their “A” game to the proceedings. Palmer, who has a background in reality television, has crafted Camp Cold Brook into an effective ensemble driven thriller (there is no “I” in team, after all!!).
Revered filmmaker Joe Dante (Gremlins, Burying the Ex) is a producer on this feature, and a few nods to the director’s work is littered throughout the tale for his diehard enthusiasts (Courtney Gains, who starred in Dante’s The ‘Burbs, is featured in the opening scene as the suit who may pull the plug on Haunt Squad). These little nods, thankfully, are not intrusive to the tale’s execution, as Palmer keeps everything in focus.
There are a couple of twists in Camp Cold Brook that, though predictable, add a welcome layer to the story. It’s an engaging tale that delivered a satisfying denouement, it would be interesting to see what Palmer could do with a bigger budget at his disposal.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
Camp Cold Brook is now playing in theaters and is available On Demand.