If anyone attempts to sell you the idea that Christian Duguay’s, Boot Camp is a horror film: punch them in the face, hard.
The idea behind the film, which is (very) loosely based on factual events, boils down to child manipulation, isolation, torture and murder. The problem with Boot Camp, is that screenwriters Agatha Dominik and John Cox are too damn afraid to push the boundaries far enough to even pretend to be horror. Maybe they never felt the feature should be condered a horror picture (what do I know?), but rather a drama, while the production company behind the release (I’m not even going to double check that, as that’ll be an additional 30 seconds I shouldn’t waste on this clunker) seemed to feel it would be a fine push as a genre offering. It wouldn’t be the first time it’s happened, and it sure won’t be the last film to be improperly marketed.
We fall into a story that follows the lives of three or four troubled teenagers, who are violently ushered from their comfort zones, transported to the Fijian islands (it's already sounding so horrific!!) and put through an abuve boot camp-esque regimen. The boys are frequently beaten, and the girls are frequently raped (the closest the film comes to risqué, though the few scenes of this nature are more b movie-bad than A class-astonishing), all the while the smug “Dr.” Hail ts back and allows the madness to unfold, as he seems to feel it all jives just fine with his means of “treatment”.
There’s a blatant Lord of the Flies influence at work here, but unlike Peter Brook’s early 1960’s rendition, and Harry Hook’s 1990 retelling of William Golding’s famous tale, there’s absolutely no heart or pason within Boot Camp.
Rather than bringing a potentially terrifying tale to a roaring rate of speed, petal to the metal with the stick stuck in fifth, Boot Camp stays confined to second gear, following the motions of a great film without ever taking a ngle risk by stepping outde of the box and making motions reality. There are numerous opportunities to shock the hell out of viewers, ratchet the terror up to ten and give genre fans a dose of genuine horror, but it never happens. It never even comes close to happening.
Every scene that should crash into the heart and spark emotion’s, falls completely flat; hindered by terrible acting and forgettable dialogue. I began to suspect that this train car would find its way back on to the tracks with a shocking climax, but apparently that was too risky a maneuver for Christian Duguay (who, for the record has actually made some decent films in his time) as well, as he eases off the gas just as the film finally begins to gain a hint of momentum. Rather than an explove finish, we get a soulless cardboard cutout, the good-guys-win-so-let’s-light-a-firecracker culmination.
It’s a shame to see the talents of Mila Kunis, Gregory Smith and Peter Stormare thrown to waste, but that’s exactly what’s afforded by the material on hand.
I started this review out by informing you that you should punch anyone who calls this film a horror picture in the face; I should have kicked it off with the idea of punching anyone who ever so much as even mentions this steaming pile, it’s just that damned miserable. The fact that multiple opportunities to salvage the film go completely ignored by Duguay seems to make it worse; I almost wish there wasn’t a hint of promise to the concept, I probably wouldn’t feel so ripped-off.
Avoid this one at all costs. It’s been done numerous times by superior filmmakers who’ve compiled far superior pictures. This is just 100 minutes of your life that you’ll never get back.