Nostalgia Cinema: Our Review of ‘Camp Cold Brook’

Posted in Movies, Theatrical by - February 13, 2020
Nostalgia Cinema: Our Review of ‘Camp Cold Brook’

There’s something about summer camp that just gives us the willies…

While Camp Cold Brook is hardly reinventing the wheel, it’s a decent little self contained horror thriller that reminds us of how we maybe shouldn’t go looking to deep into the woods or the darkness that surrounds us because we’re never all that certain what is out there.

Reality TV producer and host Jack Wilson (Chad Michael Murray, House Of Wax, Riverdale) finds himself in a tough spot when his show Haunt Squad is about to be cancelled. In a last-ditch effort to spark ratings, he and his producer Angela (Danielle Harris, Halloween, Halloween II) choose to film their next episode at the legendary Camp Cold Brook, which was host to a horrific incident when the young campers were drowned in a nearby creek 20 years ago. Their arrival begins like any other episode … but when this remote, backwoods camp begins to reveal its secrets, the TV crew find that they’ve gotten more than they bargained for.

It’s cookie cutter horror to be sure but Camp Cold Brook has a really comforting sense about it as it almost plays like comfort food because while you can probably anticipate where it’s all going you can’t help but appreciate the ride.

Director Andy Palmer has a solid but unremarkable track record but you can see this as a genuine love letter to the trashy horror movies that he cut his teeth on as a kid and with Joe Dante on board as an executive producer there is an old school vibe that comes through the film and Dante tries to recapture the hey days with Roger Corman in his youth.  Palmer gives it genuine flow and the script from writer Alex Carl has some fun winks to the genre and unlike some other entries in the ‘haunted children’s camp/ghost hunting’ genre we actually get some actual character development and we find ourselves getting invested in this team of ghost hunters even in the midst of a premise that is basic and more than a little silly.

Star Chad Michael Murray never quite hit the level of stardom he experience on his run with the hit TV show One Tree Hill but he’s been working pretty steady since and he shows that off here as our leading man.  He works well with Danielle Harris who is a stalwart veteran in the genre game and the material all has a sense of foreboding along side some moments of comedy and levity.

The pacing of it all is a little uneven but not to the point that it will take us out of it all and while it’s hardly high art it has a very clear sense of what it wants to be doing as it takes us back to a time when those dusty, well-worn VHS of Nightmare on Elm Street & Friday The 13th were what Friday nights were made of.

As long as you don’t come to Camp Cold Brook looking for something fresh and new, it works just fine as a piece of horror nostalgia you can get lost in for 90 or so minutes.

This post was written by
David Voigt is a Toronto based writer with a problem and a passion for the moving image and all things cinema. Having moved from production to the critical side of the aisle for well over 10 years now at outlets like Examiner.com, Criticize This, Dork Shelf (Now That Shelf), to.Night Newspaper he’s been all across his city, the country and the continent in search of all the news and reviews that are fit to print from the world of cinema.
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