We open to a disembodied prologue in which three young women (notably including Bree Olson, porn star-turned-HUMAN CENTIPEDE 3 babe) enjoy some girlie talk on the first night of their summer vacation to a remote island spot together. They dream of hooking up with some of the local studs, and begin to prepare themselves for a night out.

However, their plans are soon cut short by the intruder lurking nearby, blade in hand...

As the film begins proper, we're introduced to the incredibly vain Warren (Jim O'Rear), a tanned TV star whose latest job finds him in the woods where he's to host a new show called "By the Pound". The idea of this show comes from its aged producer, who desperately needs a hit after his last reality game show ended in calamity. Here, the concept is kept simple: ten obese men are confined to a woodlands-based 'boot camp' where they will fight to lose the most weight in a bid to win the $1,000,000.00 jackpot prize. It's essentially "The Biggest Loser" all over again.

With doctor James (Carl Donovan) on hand and professional coach TA (G Larry Butler) overseeing the fitness regimes, what could possibly go wrong?

As we get to meet the supersized contestants via their filmed introductions for the upcoming show, we learn that this group are as nerdy and annoying as they are disparate. From wise-talking Greg (Daniel Emery Taylor) and smirking Jeremy (Nicholas Huntsman), right through to ridiculous Goth Darc Ness (Ernest Douglas Nichols), it's tempting to wish that these guys would lose so much weight that they'd simply disappear altogether.

Apparently someone else has a similar idea: as if the gruelling jogs through the local foliage and early starts weren't enough, as if the restrictive diets and torturous temptations of forbidden fruits weren't a mental torment too far for these fatties already, someone starts picking them off one-by-one.

But who, and why...?

There are a lot of positives to consider when reviewing CAMP MASSACRE (its generic retitling, from FAT CHANCE for home video, not being one of them).

Production values, while clearly limited, are overcome by virtue of nice crisp HD photography, taut editing and keen camerawork. Interiors are well-lit, while stylish colour-filtered lighting brings a flair to night scenes that we don't often see in such low-budget fare.

The soundtrack, a generous selection of pop punk tunes, is impressive. As are the unusually assured, finely judged performances.

Even the opening titles sequence, which recalls GREASE in the way its accomplished cartoon graphics foreshadow some of the ridiculous set-piece highlights to come, are highly impressive.

In terms of Daniel Emery Taylor's script, CAMP MASSACRE retains its above-average score. The dialogue is fast, pithy and often genuinely amusing. The filmmakers are also savvy enough to provide a regular supply of boobs and gore in-between the gags.

So, with all that taken into consideration, is CAMP MASSACRE therefore a new classic-in-waiting?

Not quite, no. The main reason is the film's whopping 129-minute running time. No matter how good the script and how proficient the performances are, this runs far too long to achieve maximum impact either as a comedy (the jokes wear thin about an hour-or-so into proceedings) or a murder mystery (the genre trappings are too long in coming).

In fact, some judicious editing could've trimmed this otherwise enjoyable film down to size, effectively transforming from a bum-ache and into the snappy, clever little slasher pastiche it has the potential to be.

Still, if you can sit through a film that outstays its welcome by a hefty 40 minutes, you'll be rewarded by solid character performances, some successful gags and lots of splashy bloodletting. Oh, and the sight of the comely Ms Olson going full-frontal in the shower (though if you've ever frequented YouPorn etc, you can of course witness her getting up to a LOT more than that ...).

This region-free DVD, from MVD Visual, opens up to a static main menu page. There is no scene selection menu but the film can be navigated through by way of a whopping 64 chapters.

CAMP MASSACRE is presented uncut in its original 16x9 widescreen ratio, and is treated to a vibrant transfer which truly shows off its lighting and photography skills to the max. It's a wonderfully crisp, detailed and bright presentation.

Likewise, the English 2.0 audio track on offer does a solid job throughout.

The only bonus feature on offer is a 109-second trailer. This does a fair job of pinpointing the film's tone somewhere between titters and terror. Of course, it also doesn't shy away from suggesting Ms Olson features a lot more prominently in the film than she actually does.

CAMP MASSACRE is a good film but at 129 minutes in length, it's simply far too long to sustain interest. Be aware too, that while Ms Olson is featured in all promotional materials and billed near the top casting-wise, she's actually in the film for all of 5 minutes.

Review by Stuart Willis

Released by Itn Distribution
Region All
Not Rated
Extras :
see main review