A Reunion to Forget: “Return to Sleepaway Camp” Review

I was so excited for RETURN TO SLEEPAWAY CAMP when I first heard about it. Actors Jonathan Tiersten and Paul DeAngelo reprising their roles, rumors of Felissa Rose returning as Angela and Robert Hiltzik writing and directing again… I was so there! And then I heard it was going to ignore parts 2 and 3 and be a direct sequel to the original, much like HALLOWEEN H20. That pissed me off a little bit but I was still very excited. Finally, a friend of mine got a copy of the finished product and we sat down to watch it, I couldn’t have been more pumped. Instead, when the film was over… I was pissed off! And here’s why…

First of all, this film opens up with a very annoying rock theme song. Sure, the soundtracks for 2 and 3 were loud and obnoxious, but in a good way. This band was literally just annoying, but at least it set the tone for what was to come. During the opening fart-lighting sequence, we are introduced to Alan, an ugly, annoying disgusting excuse for a human being. He is the butt of everyone’s jokes just like Angela was twenty years ago. The only difference is, he deserves it and is practically begging for it every time he opens his mouth. Soon, those that pick on him end up brutally slaughtered. Camp co-owner Ronnie, who survived the Camp Arawak murders, believes that Angela may be back for some reason, but the killer could be anyone from Alan himself to Angela’s cousin Ricky, who lives not far from the camp… for some reason.

This annoying sequel tries to go back to the feel of the original with the character of Alan being picked on just like Angela was. The only problem is, in the original Angela was a very sympathetic character. Sure, you suspected her but you still cared for her. Alan, on the other hand, is so annoying that you never feel sorry for him. In fact, he definitely deserved to be murdered by Angela. That’s not to say his humiliators didn’t deserve to die, because they’re all terrible characters as well. Almost all of them are very unlikable and stereotypical in the worst ways. So basically, our main character is a pain to watch, the supporting characters are just as bad, and the two characters from the original film are pretty much totally wasted.

Now, there were just a couple of things I did like about the film. The death scenes were fun and reminded me of some of the deaths from 1-3. There was definitely a playful vibe to the killings, which was very nice. I also enjoyed Isaac Hayes’ cameo as The Chef, he was one of the most likable characters in the film and I wish he got more screentime. RIP Isaac! The ending also brought a smile to my face, as horrible and cheesy as it was. But overall, this film is very annoying to watch. If you’re going to ignore 2 and 3 and go back to the original, then maybe you should make the movie at least almost as good as the original! I really hope that Reece’s script works out so that someone can save this once amazing franchise!

–Brian C Tyler

2 thoughts on “A Reunion to Forget: “Return to Sleepaway Camp” Review

  1. I never saw all the hype of the previous sequels, and I didn’t get around to this one until a couple years back. I found the DVD for maybe $3 at my local grocery store.

    The movie has it’s moments I’ll admit. Maybe I like it even more than the previous sequels, but that doesn’t say much. Or maybe it says how much I disliked the previous two. Anyway, this film was in serious need of a script doctor. Most of the characters are annoying and unsympathetic, especially the sorry excuse for a lead Alan.

    Though I like the idea of previous characters returning, I can’t help but think Jonathan Tiersten was completely wasted. He returns as Ricky, and that’s it. He has no real importance to the story. What should have happened was Ricky himself goes into the woods to comfront Angela and try and put an end to the bloodshed. And I’ll probably be shunned for this, but even Angela felt forced in. Why couldn’t the film involve a new killer; one the audience at first believes is Angela? I buy the idea of JASON and FREDDY returing so much, as they are superhuman, but the idea of Angela coming back over and over is kind of boring and predictable. 🙁

    If I were to write a SLEEPAWAY CAMP sequel, sorry but Angela would either only have a cameo, or be omitted from the film altogether. But consider yourselves lucky I gave up on fan fiction a long time ago.

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