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Sleepaway Camp-- My take on the movie with spoilers!

There’s a strange delectation to be derived from viewing movies that were released a few decades ago. There were so many interesting stories, so much rawness in filming and in my opinion, filmmakers didn’t shy away from telling a story they wanted to.
Writing can be a very honest profession because truth and passion is what is ultimately reflected in the final product. Without these two elements, any story can fail.
That is why, I have always felt that the eighties produced the best horror novels and movies, although I can’t say I’ve watched or read all the works.
I must have read about Sleepaway Camp when I was doing my research on cult horror movies and though I had come across the spoilers, I still wanted to watch it but couldn’t find a way to do so.
When I finally did, my attention was more on the fashions of that era rather than the story and it wasn’t because I knew the ending. All I could think of was, now I know why they are called “shorts”.
Apparently, in the eighties, shorts only covered the top part of thighs. Surprisingly, more curse words were used than what we see today and that too, coming from kids.
Though not appropriate to show to kids, I have to say that whether it is acceptable or not, kids do come across profanities fairly early on and no amount of censorship curtails this. So while many writers shy away from using curse words, it does bring a dose of reality to the characters and situation. If someone is being me a to you, the immediate response to that is a retaliation of swears. You’re not really going to whine about the other person being mean and unfair, are you? You’ll call them for what they are behaving like.
But like I said before, it is up to the parents and guardians to make sure the kids don’t watch inappropriate content. You can’t really blame a writer for trying to keep it real and produce a well-told story that you can connect to.
Sleepaway Camp is not for kids. And it isn’t only because of the profanities.
The story begins with two kids on a boat with their father. They push their father off the boat and the vessel wobbles and drops the kids in the water as well. Not far from them, three teenagers are goofing off on a motorboat and while the couple is talking to watch other, the water skier tries to warn them to turn. The girl obviously doesn’t listen and by the time they notice the kids, it’s too late. At first, all we see is the water skier screaming over and over. Then the father’s body floating and after that, a child’s float. One of them was apparently killed in the accident.
Eight years later, the surviving child is revealed to be Angela whose aunt is a complete schizo and keeps talking to herself while her cousin Ricky is more sympathetic to her.
At camp, Angela is bullied by her bunkmates when she doesn’t talk or participate in their activities. She also barely eats and this is noticed by the supervisors who take her to a kitchen and make her talk to the cook.
One of the cooks is a pedophile and takes her to a quiet place but Ricky arrives in time to save her. The next minute we see the cook falling over and the pot of boiling water falling on him. We seem him screaming and rather than the camera panning away, we see the scorched face of the cook and the blisters bubbling and him screaming in pain even as he is being led away by the paramedics.
Paul, one of Ricky’s friends is the only one of her peers who is nice to her and when he talks to her, she finally responds.
The other campers get peeved and harass her further but Angela responds with a look. Toward the end, when she gives her bullies the “stare”, you can see some madness in her eyes.
Angela becomes the obvious suspect to the viewers even though she isn’t to the other campers yet. Anyone who harassed Angela is killed so it is kind of obvious it is her. There’s no suspense in that, is there?
Apparently there is. The shocking twist is revealed right at the end. Literally just a few minutes before the end credits roll.
Yes Angela is that killer but guess what? She’s actually a boy. She’s Peter, Angela’s brother. It was Angela who had perished in the boat accident.
The psycho aunt had always wanted a girl and when it came time to adopt Peter, she decided he needed to live as a girl.
A hint of that is shown when Angela and Paul are making out and she has flashbacks of watch8 goner father in bed with his friend, and in the next scene, she sees Peter pointing at Angela.
The poor kid is not only traumatized by the boating accident but also by his aunt who was never fit to take care of him.
How terrible is it that you watch a horror movie and end up feeling sorry for the killer?
She even kills Paul in the end because he was caught making out with Judy after Angela rebuffed him.
When the others find her in the beach, she’s naked and cradling Paul’s severed head. It is only then that the truth is revealed.
For the eighties, I thought it was a bold twist. Then again, maybe the eighties was a bold time.
Anyway, it was an enjoyable movie with a good pace and well-written twist.

Scare scale:4/5


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