Sleepaway Camp II: Unhappy Campers
- Street Date:
- June 9th, 2015
- Reviewed by:
- Bryan Kluger
- Review Date: 1
- June 11th, 2015
- Movie Release Year:
- Scream Factory
- 80 Minutes
- MPAA Rating:
- Release Country
- United States
The Movie Itself: Our Reviewer's Take
'Sleepaway Camp' easily became one of the biggest cult horror classics back in 1983, mostly for it's truly shocking twist of an ending. That ending is still talked about today and might be responsible for some of the horror movie twists we see today. The first film played into the big foray of slasher teen horror films of the late 70s and early 80s. It did almost nothing to separate itself from the group of that particular horror genre with the exception of the ending and the high amount of unintentional comedy.
That being said, the first 'Sleepaway Camp' movie was your basic straight-forward slasher picture, fake mustache and all. Five years down the road with the talk and somewhat success of the first film, the studio wanted to make a sequel. They left the original director and writer alone and instead got two newcomers, who really haven't done much since then, however they acquired the siblings of a few famous people to be in the sequel, which is called 'Sleepaway Camp II: Unhappy Campers'.
The second installment works on a few levels, mostly in that it doesn't take itself seriously whatsoever and knows exactly what kind of movie it is. In fact, it parodies the first film, as well some of the horror movie monster classics, including, 'Texas Chainsaw Massacre', 'Friday the 13th', and 'A Nightmare on Elm Street'. Even the poster and front cover of this movie has the main star carrying around the Freddy Krueger glove and the Jason Vorhees hockey mask. Another reason this sequel is so much fun and not quite that scary is it really only shows one kill after the next. It's not necessarily a bad thing either when you have a collection of idiot characters that you hope meets their grisly demise the instant you meet them.
That's where our famous and likable anti-heroine comes into play, Angela from the first film. We are at another camp a couple of years past the events of the first film where Angela (played by Bruce Springsteen's sister Pamela Springsteen) is an actual camp counselor. The campers this year are heard and seen telling the gruesome stories of the murders that happened at another camp a few years ago, which is when Angela starts to dispose of these teenage campers who always seem to be want to get frisky with one another.
No matter if it's part of a tree, a fire, or a chainsaw, Angela can easily take out a camper or two without breaking a sweat. One of the main campers we follow is Molly (Emilio Estevez and Charlie Sheen's sister Renee Estevez), who actually likes Angela, but is trying to figure out why her fellow campers have gone missing or are being sent home, according to Angela for bad behavior. That's the basic plot for the sequel, which is actually quite fun. The deaths are hilarious and gruesome, and the one-liners are spot on.
The big shocking reveal from the first film is touched upon here in more detail, but who really cares, right? Angela is Angela, the murdering and smiling beast she is no matter what, and that's what makes 'Sleepaway Camp II: Unhappy Campers' a solid sequel.
The Video: Sizing Up the Picture
'Sleepaway Camp II: Unhappy Campers' comes with a decent 1080p HD transfer presented in 1.85:1 aspect ratio. This sequel looks quite good for being more than 27 years old and is a definite upgrade and improvement from the previous VHS and DVD releases. That being said, this release has more issues than the first film. Throughout the movie, there seems to be a problem with grain fluctuations. It really is all over the place, particularly during the nighttime sequences or lower lit scenes. The grain actually makes the image murky and uneven at times, which is unfortunate. However, during the day time scenes, the image looks rather great with strong detail and bright vivid colors.
Detail during these well-lit scenes show wonderful closeups that reveal every scar, pimple, ounce of blood and sweat, and individual hair on the actor's faces. Even the hilarious 80's clothing look very good here. Colors are bright and vibrant here as well and are well-balanced. They pop off screen, but during the darker scenes, they get a bit muted. Black levels are mostly deep and inky, but can get off path. Skin tones are natural as well. For the most part, this sequel has an organic look for the mid-80s in the low budget range, however the grain is a problem here with it not being consistent. Other than that unfortunate business, this image looks good.
The Audio: Rating the Sound
This release comes with a lossless DTS-HD mono track and sounds good for what it is. I just don't understand why we didn't receive a 5.1 option, considering this is a fun horror film with tons of comedy. Sure, the audio does a great job being a layered and full sound, but it never fully immerses you inside the camp or the 80s. Sound effects are fun and zany, and always match the style and tone of the film without being overly loud and annoying.
The score and music in the film always add to this unique if not hilarious movie, but never sweeps you away. Dialogue is also clear and easy to follow, and free of any pops, cracks, high shrills, and hiss. I just wish this had a bigger sound, but for what it is, this mix sounds very good.
The Supplements: Digging Into the Good Stuff
Audio Commentary - Director Michael A. Simpson and writer Fritz Gordon deliver a fun and engaging commentary track about tackling the sequel to the iconic first film. They discuss their actors, shooting on location, and the difficulties of the short shoot. This was a fun listen.
A Tale of Two Sequels Part One: Back To Camp (HD, 29 Mins.) - Here is a great behind the scenes bonus feature with interviews with the cast and crew that give us some tidbits on the production of the movie.
Abandoned: The Locations of 'Sleepaway Camp II and III' (HD, 16 Mins.) - An enjoyable look at the locations used for the two movies.
Behind the Scenes Footage (HD, 14 Mins.) - Vintage B-roll film of the actors rehearsing and cameras being set up with optional commentary from Simpson.
Short Film: Whatever Happened to Molly? (HD, 1 Min.) - Well, find out what happened at the end of the film.
Still Gallery (HD, 7 Mins.) - Slideshow of images from the movie and behind the scenes.
Trailer (HD, 3 Mins.) - Trailer for the film.
HD Bonus Content: Any Exclusive Goodies in There?
There are no HD exclusives here.
'Sleepaway Camp II: Unhappy Campers' does everything you want in a sequel of this caliber. There's more blood and guts, excessive nudity, and enough death scenes for two films. It's funny and down right entertaining. Plus, I can only hope that Bruce Springsteen and his family watch this movie around the holidays. The video and audio presentations are both commendable here and the extras are all worth watching. If you're a fan of the franchise, this comes HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
- 50GB Blu-ray Disc + DVD
- 1080p MPEG-4 AVC
- English: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0
- Audio Commentary
- Behind the Scenes Footage
- Theatrical Trailer
- A Tale of Two Sequels Part One: Back To Camp
- Abandoned: The Locations of 'Sleepaway Camp II and III'
- Short Film: Whatever Happened to Molly?
- Still Gallery
All disc reviews at High-Def Digest are completed using the best consumer HD home theater products currently on the market. More
about our gear.
Puzzled by the technical jargon in our reviews, or wondering how we assess and rate HD DVD and Blu-ray discs? Learn about our review methodology.