Whoah, the acting sucks in this "Friday the 13th" rip-off. Still, this film has managed to carve itself a major worldwide cult following. I must confess I don't fully understand why. Needless to say, "Sleepaway Camp" has diehard fans who are hoping the franchise will continue into the new millennium. The movie's fanbase is so large, in fact, that it has its own official web site.
You know the routine already: A tragic accident at a lakeside camp spawns a series of vengeful murders years later.
Unlike the "Friday the 13th" films, this one actually has kids in the camp—not just promiscuous counselors. The crushes and little dramas of these kids make up most of the story, until a teenage boy saves his mute sister from one of the cooks who, it turns out, is a child molester.
A mysterious attacker later manages to scald the molester, almost to the point of death. A number of killings follow. "It's an accident!" the camp owner cries each time.
It naturally turns out—spoiler ahead—that the mute girl is the killer. She went insane because she saw her father having gay sex with another man. When he was killed in a boating accident by the lake years ago, she just couldn't take it. Oh, yeah—and she's really a boy!
It's a long story, one not worth retelling. This lame-ass combination of "Little Darlings" and "The Burning" lacks creative killings and any real suspense. The ludicrous twist ending—borrowed from "Reflection of Fear"—was gruesome and something of a pay-off, but doesn't make up for what's a suck-ass movie.
But it was successful enough to launch a brief franchise. The sequel, "Sleepaway Camp II: Unhappy Campers" was released five years later.