Summer Camp Nightmare is not a horror movie, as I'm sure many viewers have pointed out, despite video retailer's common mistake as grouping it as such. Instead, it is an adaptation of the William Butler novel, The Butterfly Revolution.
The screenplay, co-written by Suburbia director, Penelope Spheeris, is a disappointing spin of the novel, and as a movie itself, wasn't all that great. But, having read a great book, you might expect too much of the movie in the first place, so my review may be more biased than most.
The story of Summer Camp Nightmare begins at the start of the summer camp tenure at North Pines camp. North Pines is an all boys camp, and some might wonder why guys in their late teens would want to go to a summer camp, nevermind one with plenty of younger pre-teen kids. But you have a pretty big age range of boys and, as repeatedly mentioned, due to funding cuts, the camp is limited on camp counselors, flanked only by Ed Heinz, who seems like an easy going guy; a gym teacher look-a-like who does plenty of boozing; and the new, excessively strict head counselor, Mr. Warren (Chuck Connors), who does seem quite out of touch in his idea of appropriate behavior (reminds me of Wallace Shawn in 'Heaven Help Us' without the humor).
After the boys get into a fair amount of trouble in their attempts to subvert Warren's ridiculous rules and have themselves some fun, the head of the guys, Frank Reiley (Charels Stratton), an eerily suspicious character, decides to wage a revolution and oust the camp counselors, both in the boys and girls camp in order to have some real fun. But, what may start as a harmless game, steers quickly out of control and into quite a deadly exchange of events. Although, you can't ever really get the feeling for how bad things have become as you could through the descriptions in the book, since things just seem to come and go so haphazardly.
Several things change from the book, which is written in the form of a diary with Donald Poultry (here played by Adam Carl) providing first person narration. He gives in-depth description and you can not only get a better appreciation for the revolution (not in a good way, because obviously, it turns out to be quite disastrous, but in the sense that you can get a grasp on the events as they transpire and know why and exactly how things happen). Here, they just sort of happen. We don't know know why Frank behaves the way he does, and this is certainly true in the book as well. He is such a weird character, and probably devoid of explanation no matter how you try to illustrate it. And, in the movie, you never feel like people are getting very tired of the revolution. In fact, Donald is made such an insignificant character (and of course, portrayed as a computer hacking super-nerd though in his book he was much more intelligent but not so much a nerd), which was stupid because you get a healthy sense of outrage via his character. Chris may be the only one in the movie who doesn't really like the revolution, but you don't really get the feeling that he is the only guy who can stop it, nor that anyone else really disapproves all that much. And if you've read the book, you know that the revolution doesn't become so fascist at first (he slowly develops committees and such), that any who crosses him often winds up dead or in their 'prison', and that in the end, more people were open about their disappointment with the whole and their wanting to get out of it. And I wonder if they chose to change Manual Rivaz and Don Egriss's character in order not to appear racist.
Well, give it a try.