Cheerleader Camp Movie Review

Release: 1988, Rated: R, Runtime: 89 min.

Part comedy, part horror, part awful, Cheerleader Camp is many things, but is it a good movie? You’re opinion on that, really comes down to whether or not you can get over the hilariously poor acting and overall shoddy looking quality and enjoy it for what is, a low budget 80s slasher, with a fairly clever ending. If you’re interested in finding out whether or not you should give this cheese-fest film a chance, pull out your pom-poms, do a little cheer and read on…

Short nitty-gritty plot description from IMDb is as follows: An unknown killer is killing off the members of a small cheerleader group at a remote cheerleader training camp.

This picture has something that scares me the most, sexy, mean cheerleaders.

The film stars Betsy Russell (Saw series) as Alison, a sexy cheerleader with a few mental problems, such as disturbing nightmares and strange moments of staring off into space. Alison and her sexy cheerleading squad, consisting of a ditzy sexy girl, a foreign sexy girl, a bitchy sexy girl, mascot sexy girl, Alison’s cheating boyfriend/squad mate (Leif Garrett) and finally overweight squad member Timmy (a guy who looks like a heavy set Kurt Russell) are on their way to the cheerleading camp, Camp Hurrah. They’re there to compete in what I assume is a state championship, but honestly, the whole setup looks kinda dodgy and probably is just an excuse for the locals to creep on the cheerleaders and that they do.

Yeah, that’s the kind of guy you want around your hot teenage daughters.

You see, Cheerleader Camp is full of suspicious and creepy individuals. You got the creepy groundskeeper, awesomely named Pop (Buck Flower), who sneaks a peek at the ladies and is always mumbling to himself and just looking all around serial killerish. Next, you’ve got the creepy old cook, who enjoys cocking one eyebrow, while he hacks away at some meat with a cleaver. Next you’ve got the creepy Sheriff, who stalks the women with binoculars, while hiding in the bushes from a far. Do you see where I going with this? Cheerleader Camp is full of creepy, creepy people. Which, when the killing starts happening, makes it harder to guess who the killer really is.

Cheerleader Camp has a nice dose of red.

Alison keeps having these strange nightmares, or day dreams of people dying and before long, that person dies. The movie will have you wondering if it’s her doing the killing, or maybe her sleazy boyfriend, who was last seen with one of the victims. Hell, it will also having you wondering if the killer is possible the person in the rooster costume. I will admit, the movie did a good job of throwing me off track on who was doing the slashing (of which there is a good amount), until the end, where I started to piece stuff together. Even so, once you figure it out, the movie still throws you a nice curve ball of an ending, albeit cheesy curve ball (i.e. do the cops not notice the crazy-ass girl, prancing around cheering her own name out loud?).

The Rooster, pure unfiltered evil.

Slasher films are a dime of dozen, especially in the 80s, so it’s easy to see why Cheerleader Camp would get lumped in with the rest and be easily forgotten. The movie has what I like to call “acting actor’s”, actors who look like they are acting. Try as they might, the actor never looks or feels like they are the character they’re playing. Plenty of movies in the 80s had this problem and it also kinda of gives you a sort of a nostalgic feeling whenever you pop one of these gems in. Even so, the acting is still pretty damn awful. However, I do enjoy the cheesy comedy the film had, mainly from the character Timmy (Travis McKenna, one of the few actors in the film who was actually good). He’s constantly getting into all sorts of trouble with his video camera, dressing up as a woman and filming the girls sunbathing nude, or videotaping the head coach banging the sheriff in a fairly odd sex scene, full of football analogies. Timmy’s antics usually always leads to nudity, so to that, I raise a glass for Timmy, may your antics never cease to entertain me.

TIMMY! We love you man!

If we were to strip Cheerleader Camp down to the basics, it comes off as a poor man’s Friday the 13th or Sleepaway Camp. However, even though it doesn’t bring anything new to the table, it’s still manages to perform an entertaining routine, that will have you shaking your pom-poms. The film has a few inventive kills, with some nice gore (bear trap scene!) and kept me guessing to the very end as to who the killer was. The actual ending was also pretty creative, notwithstanding the silliness. So, even though Cheerleader Camp is in no way perfect (honestly though, neither are those other more lucrative slashers), I still think you should keep those pom-poms raised and give this one a shout.


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10 years ago

Cheerleaders definitely deserve this fate.

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