The tagline for the new horror film The Campus is “Morgan’s going to die tonight . . . a lot.” That’s the perfect summary for this J. Horton directed indie flick that, though intentionally tongue-in-cheek by design, hits the mark.
Robert (Robert C. Pullman) is an explorer who years ago stumbled upon a supernatural force out in the desert. Years later he passes away after breaking a deal with the devil, and now his estranged daughter Morgan (Rachel Amanda Bryant) is attending his funeral.
What Morgan doesn’t know is dear old dad kept her at arm’s length actually out of love, as he did not want evil forces to claim the life of his baby girl. But thanks to Robert’s own greed and ambition the chickens have come to roost, and Morgan will continually die as a way for paying her father’s debt.
As a supporter and fan of indie driven projects, I was absolutely impressed by Horton’s decision to shoot most of his narrative within a confined production space. Using the most out of your budget is key, and watching Horton rely on practical effects rather than incessant jump scares or CGI driven shots was also a pleasure to see.
Since Brian De Palma’s my favorite filmmaker (and one of my top De Palma films is Raiding Cain), my love for cinema often begins and ends on a visual level. I’m all about movie moments that will stick in my head for years to come – and there’s an eye popping out of your eye socket that absolutely checks that box.
Credit goes to Rachel Amanda Bryant for pushing through all of her death scenes with aplomb and conviction, and coupled with Horton’s solid use of scene composition, The Campus succeeds as an engaging and surprisingly scary B-level horror flick.
The makers of The Campus (full disclosure – the film’s producer Sean Reid is a friend) know they are not making a Merchant Ivory production that’s riddled with meaning. Rather, the filmmakers are using whatever resources they have to provide viewers with solid and memorable entertainment (there’s a funny line about never messing with someone from Glendale, Ca. that also had me laughing).
It will be interesting to see what other projects Gas Money Pictures have down the pike, as one can see a ton of grit and heart was poured into this production. I also loved the film’s uncompromising ending, and though The Campus has its share of flaws (even at 84 minutes, it could have used a few more minutes of tightening), I thoroughly enjoyed The Campus.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
The Campus is now available via Amazon Instant (it hits iTunes and VUDU later this month) and will also be available on Blu-ray and DVD in April.
If you haven’t checked out this month’s episode of CinemAddicts, a movie podcast I do with Anderson Cowan, take a listen below as we discuss the Nicolas Cage picture Looking Glass, the New York City set romantic drama Permission, and the Thomas Middleditch/Jess Weixler dramedy Entanglement.