THE DEADLY CAMP
Director/Writer: Bowie Lau / Cast: Anthony Wong, Benny Lai, Winnie Leung, Samuel Leung, Lam Tsz Sin, Chak Pui Wan, Ling Ling Chui, Cham Nam Wing, Andy Tsang.
Body Count: 13
I spent a fair whack of time asking about the movie when I backpacked around China in 2006-07 and nobody had heard of it – but were practically brimming over with all manner of American straight-to-DVD horror films to distract me with instead. This may well have been the universe looking out for me as, twelve years later, getting through this pretty abysmal flick made the 81 minutes feel like twelve years.
In spite of being made in 1999, if the mentions of cellphones and DV cameras were removed, you might think this was unearthed from 1984, as three teen couples take a boat out to a deserted island for “3 nights of partying!!” but run afoul of a bandage-masked dweller of the jungle who doesn’t take kindly to intruders and rocks a mean chainsaw (where is he getting the gas for it?)
Also on the isle are four smugglers looking for their missing friends (‘sawed up in the prologue), posing as ‘condom salesmen’ (a trade which they even have a song about), who accidentally set fire to the mentally disabled son of bandage-dude, who then hunts them down to take revenge.
Eventually, things turn into a sort of pre-Wrong Turn turn as two of the group are captured. Despite hearing them scream, the others decide to wait on the beach until the boat comes back! When the killer comes to them instead, they flee into the trees for a showdown, until athletic lead Ken goes all MacGuyver with tentpoles, rocks, rope, and a radio playing a slushy ballad to bait the killer in.
The Mandarin to English translations are mostly reliable, albeit with a few cute grammatical slips (“it’s so scaring!”), some surprising nudity, and a really awkward scene where a captured victim attempts to teach the killer’s son to masturbate in preparation for raping the guy’s own girlfriend!
Sadly, the low-end production values, bizarre tangents (the ‘erotic jokes’ scene is just… well, you wait n’ see), and shallow characters do nothing to help an already years out of date plot that sadly wasn’t a reaction to the Scream-smart resurgence.