Directed by: Robert Madero
Sometime back in the 70′s, there was a rock star who decided he had enough with the rock star life and disappeared from the ‘scene’. A few years later he resurfaced as the guru Timothy Bach and started a free love commune out in the woods. Everybody was happy and high as a kite until one day Mr. Bach lost his shit and killed everybody with a machete. (DO NOT EAT THE BROWN ACID) Jump to present day; five college kids are going for a camping trip and to make things spookier and more exciting, they want to camp on the land of Back’s Camp Utopia. Settling in to their camp site all is well until the girls stop putting out and people start to disappear in the night!
To kick this off, I will state that this is a cheap flick. There is a lot of low budget horror out there and in many cases this should not deter you from watching them. There are some true low budget gems out there. With “Camp Utopia” the opening sequence of The Guru’s love camp in the 70′s, while still showing its low budget roots, was still stylishly shot and enjoyable to take in. The blood and guts shown in the ensuing massacre were campy and over the top, but that’s a good thing. Buckets of blood and rolling heads are fun, and knowing they had a low budget, it shows that they still put in some good effort to get a presentable product as opposed to some red food coloring slapped about. With that in mind, you can imagine my dismay when the opening credit sequence finished. It all went down hill pretty fast from there.
Our basic plot driving “Camp Utopia” is a decent one; a drug crazed free love guru goes nuts and carves up his disciples. A fairly original turn and the irony of it is enough to make you smile. Even with the twists and turns written in and loose attempts and red herrings were acceptable even though they were clumsy; it’s a slasher flick, it’s what they do. What brought this movie down from mediocre to ‘oh god is it over yet’ is the lackluster cast driving it. Feeling rather stiff throughout and more importantly, annoying as F%#&, the cast manages to annoy and fumble through deliveries enough to pull you out of the movie. Sounding much like a group of high school kids screwing around at the lunch table I was holding my breath in anticipation of a random ‘Like….totally’ throwback to Valley. When you have a weak plot and no budget, you cannot have a cast that makes you hope for their deaths from get go. We need at least one person we can get behind and feel slightly bad for when they die. With this cast it was a matter of making a list as I watched on who I wanted to go first. Except for Ranger Rogers; I liked him, he had a good Carl Spackler vibe to him. (Gungagalunga.) His interaction with his toy poodle actually got a few laughs out of me. But when your viewers come out of a flick relating most to the sleazy minor character? You have problems.
So, the cast is annoying; there’s still a chance for this one to be saved when they get whacked, right? Unfortunately, no. Slasher flicks are just that; people getting brutally slashed by a killer. That’s part of the draw and why we rent them. With “Camp Utopia”, we don’t see anybody die. With most of the deaths consisting of either somebody taking one shot to the head from behind, or simply being discovered mutilated, the critical element to the genre was missing. Since there wasn’t anything to get behind with the cast or the killings, there wasn’t much to get behind at all. Again, the exception to this rule was Ranger Rogers. He at least kept things interesting.
So yes, “Camp Utopia” has some major issues. It’s rather slow, there is nothing going on mayhem wise, and the cast…well, I’ve driven my point home on them. There are some good things here though, if not few and far between. Some of the slight jokes against hippies were pretty funny and the killers rants to its dead mother were pretty entertaining as well. Unfortunately there was nothing else there to back it up. And the fact that the killer decided to do the deeds after smoking the Guru’s long lost stash of weed? That was pretty funny too.
In the end, the killer was at least effective; I feel like I lost two hours of my life as well.
1 whacked out stoner out of 5
NOTE: I also wanted to add, quite possibly the most disturbing thing out of all of this was that the main survivor girl? She looked like Jason Mewes with boobs. That’s pretty scary.