Maybe it says something about me that the only movie in this trio that even halfway did it for me was the one that slapped a grindhouse filter over the film…
CAMP HELL (2010)
Horror never gets tired of bashing religion, and this one is more about the bashing than the horror. Dana Delany and Andrew McCarthy play a couple of extremists who send their son to a religious camp. But before the boy even gets there, Jesse Eisenberg scores a five-minute cameo because he was relevant when the film was made (it wasn’t easy for me to find poster art that didn’t feature him as the star). He says some profound stuff to the holy man that leads the camp before disappearing into oblivion.
If you’ve seen any movies about extremist religious camps, you’ve seen pretty much all that goes on here as the kids at camp are lectured about the evils of rock music and sex. Even Journey is considered evil, but somehow, homosexuality never comes up – how refreshing.
The eeriest part of the film is the nightmare sequences in which the kid has a dream about some demon (that we don’t see) pursuing him and talking to him. The leader of the camp also finds a few signs of satanic rituals taking place in the chapel.
Then at the end of the film, there’s a faux possession scene, and sex pretty much gets blamed for evil coming to the camp. I want to go to that camp.
MONSTERS IN THE WOODS (2012)
After an opening scene of a couple having sex in a tent and being attacked by a deformed guy with a bird beak, I had high hopes for this indie. I then had about half those hopes dashed.
Monsters In The Woods totally nails the look of a 1970s creature feature, complete with a grindhouse filter over the film. And the monsters that terrorize a small indie movie crew in the woods are fucking awesome. They’re like these big upright bug things and they are amazing.
The problem is the “plot.” There’s not much of one to follow or stay interested in. There’s just loads of dialogue between cast members as the movie jumps from one seemingly random scene to the next with absolutely no cohesion, occasionally recapturing your attention with a monster attack.
Only at the very end of the film is a clear plot suddenly defined, and the twist it delivers would had an even better impact if everything that comes before it had been logical and entertaining.
KNOCK KNOCK (2015)
I truly think Eli Roth likes to just fuck with us because he is one of the lucky ones who can get his movies financed. I mean, the man gives us a home invasion movie in which Keanu Reeves delivers a performance that makes us laugh out loud…when he’s being tortured.
So, Keanu is a loving dad who scores some time home alone without the wife and kids. The house is in the middle of nowhere, but two pretty young girls show up at the door in the rain. After much hesitation, he lets them in to use the phone. Hey, Keanu initially deserves props for resisting the temptations as these very sweet girls slowly morph into a couple of sluts (the two actresses are the best part of the film). Once they offer him a blow job, he goes from “No! No! No! No!” to “No means yes!” so quickly he practically pushes their heads down.
It’s pretty tense watching things spiral out of control for a while, but eventually the stupid hits hard and ruins everything. I laughed when the girls torture Keanu with headphones and he repeatedly screams, “You’re going to make me deaf!” This is one of those reminders that Keanu should just make Bill & Ted 3 and save his reputation in the movie industry.
Another laughable highlight is the art dealer that comes flitting in to pick up a sculpture Keanu’s wife created. When he discovers the girls have vandalized it, they try to seduce him. As soon as he says “You’re barking up the wrong tree,” I was like, “You go, girl!” But then…he starts threatening them with his street cred. Um…more like hustling in drag on a street corner cred, would be my guess. When the art dealer runs off in terror, he finds Keanu tied up in a room, but instead of locking the door and untying Keanu as Keanu insists, he screams, “I have to save your wife’s sculpture!” and runs out to try to stop the girls from bashing it to pieces with hammers. You’re not going to believe what happens to him.
Just when you think it can’t get any better, we get to see Keanu – gagged and buried up to his neck – trying to react to a video on Facebook of him having sex. It’s like trying to make the dude act and chew gum at the same time.