KILLER CAMP (REVIEW)
Updated: Dec 9, 2021
Reviewer: Martyn Wakefield
A group of teens are welcomed to an American camp by Camp Counsillor, Bobby Mair. All of the campmates are there for one reason, to win money and there can only be one winner. All this while serial killer Bruce is on the loose killing off the cast at the beckoning of one of the gamers will. The twist being, all the money lost in the games, goes into the killers bank.
No, this is not the reimagined remake of FRIDAY THE 13TH, this is reality show KILLER CAMP and it may well be the closest thing to horror, fans will endure on prime time TV.
The blend of scripted horror and reality show may be a turnoff for hardened horror fans but there's a huge misjustice in judging a book by it's cover. Those who watch ITV2 may be more familiar with Love Island and reality dating shows but here is something truly original that brings together two worlds successfully.
Why KILLER CAMP works so well is because it never takes itself too seriously and is firmly in love with the horror genre more than its contestants. Without going into spoiler territory, the 2 seasons currently commissioned are full of head lobbing, sauna sizzling, toilet crushing death and it's in the imaginative filming of these scenes that makes KILLER CAMP a must watch.
Each week, the contestants vote off who they think is the killer, eliminating at least one of those people in graphic manner that wouldn't come amiss from from an Adam Green movie. Heck, I want a compilation of all of the kills.
Bobby manages to weave the real antics with very, very dark humour that will rips sides deeper than Bruce's axe. When the series gets tied down to who trust who, unlike MacReady, Bobby's way of diffusing the situation is by fuelling the motives for the suspects and his OTT bravado contrasts with the hidden secrecy of the real killer. This is a gameshow at heart and as with the best, it's the host who owns the game, nobody does that better than Bobby Mair. While the series sets it games and murders around the campmates, the unfolding drama of their time in camp is less scripted and actually works well as a character building exercise and one that keeps audiences guessing who the real killer is throughout.
With season one being just 5 episodes, it's a short introduction to rope you into the madness and by the time that's over, season 2 extends to 8 episodes providing another bout of guesswork and murder. Each weeks games a mixed between fun team building and rival making adding elements of doubt within the team mates. At times evolving into a game of CLUEDO if directed by Sean S. Cunningham, there are layers within KILLER CAMP that keep it punchy and prevent the format from getting stale.
The real stars of the show though are the end of episode kills. This may be teen TV but it hits the spot for the bloodthirsty. As the series go on the tropes hark back at a time in the horror genre when more is more and the stakes get higher and higher with some genuinely grizzly deaths.
Mixed between MISS MARPLE and FRIDAY THE 13TH via BIG BROTHER, it's easy to see why KILLER CAMP will struggle to welcome an audience outside of a niche. Horror fans will see the reality side as a turn off while reality TV fans want glitz, glamour and pampered guests. The overlap isn't a large viewership but it's one that should be expanding because if there's one thing that KILLER CAMP is, is a camp full of fun. It's not every day you can watch reality TV that contains strong bloody violence.
KILLER CAMP is showing now on ITV2 and ITV Hub.