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Review: J Horton’s The Campus

We’ve got another hit from J. Horton on our hands. The writer/director returns to the realm of horror after a four year break – his prior production being The Other Side – and I’m happy to see he’s back and better than ever. In a collaboration between ANC Entertainment, Gas Money Pictures and Small Factory Films, The Campus is shockingly delightful romp through almost every horror subgenre. Its story follows a grieving daughter as she returns home for her fathers funeral, only to be drawn into a Hellish nightmare. The child shall shoulder the burden of their parents, and the young woman is thrown into a never ending cycle of murder and death due to her father’s contract with The Devil being terminated upon his death. Can she break the family curse or does the bloodline end here? Rachel Amanda Bryant, Brit Sheridan (“Supernatural”), Scott Menville (“Teen Titans”), Mohamed Hakeemshady, Justin Chamberlain, Aaron Groben (“Tails of Blue”) and Kevin Caliber (“The Haves and the Have Nots”) star in this sinfully desirable supernatural/slasher mash-up from J. Horton.

From the jump, I knew The Campus was going to be a monster of a movie because of its Exorcist-like opening. Yeah, the best way I can describe The Campus is The Exorcist meets Happy Death Day meets House of the Devil meets The Devil’s Advocate. Just really compelling storytelling to be found throughout the whole picture, and The Campus is bound to satisfy whatever dark hunger you desire – zombies, ghosts, monsters, slashers, the occult, mystery/suspense and action. It’s absolutely wild and blood drenched. And one of my favorite things about it is that it features a survival girl, and one who’s actually deserving of that title. Rachel Amanda Bryant did a fantastic job as lead and her performance can be closely equated to Sharni Vinson in You’re Next. Intelligent, strong and sexy while remaining a certain level of charm and vulnerability. You’ll root for her survival and clap every time she makes a stand. This is an integral part of horror movies that has been lost lately.

I always tend to highlight the producers (Sean Reid and Joe Bartone), the editor (James L. Bills) and the cinematographer (Kacsper Skowron), but literally every department that worked on The Campus put in tremendous effort. In between the time rewinds, hammers to the head, and emotional punches, there’s a lot of other content that’s pleasurable to the eye. The Campus is a fully actualized piece of cinema and it exists in its own perfect world that was designed with the most stunning layers of realism. Everything here shines. This, in part, is attributed to production designer Holly Rockwell, set decorator Michael Scott Parker, special effects from Robert Bravo and Julia Hapney, and original retro scores from Darryl Blood. This movie is an example of masterclass film-making and a shining example of the potential in independent film. The art pieces and the camera work were amazing. See, I can’t stop myself from raving.

The Campus is a different kind of movie than I was expecting, and its allure caught me off guard. If you’re on the fence about renting this one – it’ll start to roll out on VOD markets February 1st – then take heed, put your pride to the side and start your stream. I guarantee you won’t be let down. I mean, this one’s got chase scenes. Good chase scenes. Aren’t we all in favor of this traditional horror film plot device? It keeps the level of suspense and the level of gore at a decent level. It’s got plot twist after plot twist and it really puts the main character through Hell. No matter where she goes, no matter what she does – they keep coming for her. Oh, and that fully practical effect Devil costume was out of this world crazy. Astounding work, Bravo. Yeah, I’m still rambling, but I really loved The Campus. I think you’re going to enjoy it, too. Peep the trailer below and add this one to your watch lists, folks. Final Score: 9 out of 10.

Written by Michael Therkelsen

(Senior Editor)