IT KILLS: CAMP BLOOD 7
Director: Mark Polonia
Year of release: 2017
Country of origin: USA
Running time: 69 minutes (Don't recall it being this short but as the case doesn't include a running time I'll go with what the IMDB says).
DVD/Blu ray: Both
Tagline: "Float this".
Also known as: Camp Blood 7
Casting the spotlight on the slasher genre
Story: On their way home during a college break five students take a shortcut through the area of Camp Blood/Blackfoot. Noticing an attractive hiker, one of the girls Anne immediately becomes smitten and persuades the others to pick him up and give him a lift. They come to find out that the man is called Bishop and is visiting to search for the truth surrounding his wife who went missing in the area some months before. Suspecting foul play he and one of the female students Lizzie who has recently been researching urban legends believe the disappearance could be linked to the notorious Camp Blood killer. Dropping the guy off at a lake and campsite the kids decide to explore a little themselves before continuing on their way home. As you can imagine this turns out to be a big mistake as a freak in a clown mask is once again roaming the woods. As the friends return to where they left the car they are dismayed to find it missing. Stranded, they re-join Bishop at the camp site where the whole group are preyed upon by the killer clown.
Good points: There are several references to previous slasher films which I liked. The obvious ones of course are The Burning and Friday the 13th which has always kind of been the case to an extent with this franchise but more than ever this time with the introduction of the lake and camp grounds. Also one of the latter deaths is reminiscent of the ending of The Final Chapter and the Bishop character is a lot like Rob from that same film. We also have a wheelchair bound character evoking memories once again of a past Friday film plus The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Fall Break is also mentioned once or twice which is relatable to The Mutilator. Though not a slasher there is something near the start that was probably inspired by Jaws. Lastly one of the characters mentions something about taking photos for extra credit which could be a reference to Carnage Road. Well maybe I’m pushing it with that last one but you get the idea!
In one small piece of continuity the mask is the same used in part 666 which is good as that entry definitely had one of the stronger masks in the franchise. There is a marginal difference this time with the hair now being both purple and blue whereas formally I think it was all blue but other than that they are pretty much identical. The rest of the outfit is better this time around than what we saw in 666 going back to the more traditional boiler suit from the earlier films which I prefer.
I probably sound like a broken record much of the time in these reviews constantly repeating myself. I’ve made this upcoming point several times before I know about other films but it holds true here so I’ll bring it up again. I like how the main group of characters aren’t particularly attractive and instead more like your everyday Joe’s, a few even being a bit on the pudgy side. Although eye candy is nice and something I can appreciate and even occasionally list as a positive I’m also a stickler for realism so when we se a more natural looking group it gets a tick from me. . Regarding the group I also thought the exchanges between Anne and Drake were good and Anne’s flirting with Bishop humorous. .
The deaths were pretty good and offered a bit more variety than those we saw in 666. The intestine one in particular stood out as did the one with the road flare which is another nod to the Friday the 13th franchise now I think of it. The gore effects were hit and miss sometimes looking solid enough for a low budget production and at other times downright bad such the back stabbing to Ginny near the start. On the whole though I felt they were acceptable and didn’t ruin the experience (at least for me).
Bad Points: Other than the mask which I mentioned before there is little, if any, continuity with the other films in the franchise. Camp Blood itself looks very different, a huge lake and cabins are now prominent though this wasn’t really a problem in itself as it made a nice change. Plus they have always hinted the site was vast so I guess this could just be a part of it we haven’t seen much of before. What did bother me though is that when talking about the legend of the area none of the previous killers or characters are mentioned. Tricia was a big part of the first two films and could have been name dropped or even Raven could have been mentioned. We don’t hear anything of the reality show from Within the Woods or the cult from last time out either. Instead we get some cobbled together story about counsellors being found dead, something which never happened in any of the previous films. Also it was a missed opportunity with Bishop as they could have used his wife to link this to a past film from the series. After what happened with parts 4 and 5 I don’t want to encourage flashbacks but a short twenty second or so clip of a female death of a minor character from one of the previous films would have been nice with the idea being this was his wife. By the end though we were still none the wiser as to who she was.
Minor spoilers: There are several unrealistic parts. For example early on a hunter with a shotgun is approached and murdered by the clown. It would be a huge risk for the killer to approach an armed man so boldly though taking into account he was only armed at the time himself with a flare. We get some very lame looking running from people in peril which I know was a complaint for some for the original but at least there people were dealing with injuries which isn’t always the case here. In another typical slasher bit of silly-ness the killer seemingly manages to get into the vehicle ahead of the survivors which would appear to have been impossible. Other things to mention that make things look amateurish include blonde hair protruding from the clown mask on the boat near the start and a very fake looking strangulation attempt on a female victim by the killer.
As is the case with the rest of the franchise this all looks very cheap which I don’t particularly mind but it will put many off. This one does feel a bit more sloppy than some of the others as well in terms of the editing, for example I saw a microphone or something creep into shot on one occasion. The set also looks bargain basement in the same vein as the police station from 666. You can tell they aren’t really at a proper camp grounds. The acting from the Jeb and Katie characters at the store/garage is noticeably bad as well.
The ending is rather strange, anticlimactic and a let-down really as it doesn’t reveal who the killer is. This is touched on a bit in the early stages of the next film but they should have given us a “to be continued” message or something to let us know this seeing that the films don’t always follow on or acknowledge their predecessors.
Verdict: Flaws and all I’d class this as a fairly solid entry into this long running series. I liked the characters in this one and the numerous nods to other films in particular Friday the 13th. The deaths and blood and gore are hit and miss but mostly get the job done. Compared to some of the previous films this isn’t bad at all but it would have benefited from more continuity following on from the previous outing and a more definitive ending. Spotty it may be yet it remains good fun overall.
Bodycount (contains major spoilers):
1)Tommy: Pulled underwater, decapitated head soon floats to the surface.
2)Ginny: Stabbed multiple times in the back on the boat.
3)Hunter: Road flare shoved into what looked to be his cheek.
4)Jeb: Decapitated, head found on woodpile.
5)Katie: Hand cut off and then stabbed multiple times.
6)Terry: Impaled with a knife through the top of the head.
7)Bishop: Parts of his arm are cut off before he is slashed in the neck.
8)Anne: Stabbed in the stomach so that her intestines begin to slip out. She is later strangled with them.
9)Lizzie: Killed by an axe blow to the chest.
10)Drake: Impaled with a knife through the back from the killer hiding behind him in the car.