Home Page > Movies Index (w/mixed oldies) > > Movie Review

This Review Reveals Minor Details About the Plot.

Who You Gonna Call?

Camp Cold Brook on IMDb

Plot Overview

desk manAPPROVEDFacing termination of his not-popular-enough TV series “Haunt Squad” the producer Jack Wilson (Chad Michael Murray) persuades John Brierwitz (Courtney Gains) the exec. with the purse strings to let his “team of para­normal experts” have one more crack at it, a summer special as it were, to see how a new idea plays out. Their newbie Emma (Candice De Visser) suggests covering the Camp Cold Creek slaughter of 1990 where the Cold Creek Herald story in Oklahoma had it there was a mass murder of twenty-eight children by poison & drowning, with two gone missing, and the suspect had torched her­self. There having been a media blackout after that, they'd have an exclusive, although there is reason to suspect Emma might be a plant from a rival agency out to sabotage their efforts. For that matter Jack's mother Esther (Mary Fjelstad-Buss) being from Oklahoma was part of the town's coverup, Jack was too young to remember it now, and she'll want to put the kibosh on the project once she gets wind of it. Their cameraman Kevin (Michael Eric Reid) leads a dissipated life and suffers from sleep deprivation; he sleep­walks and has night­mares. Research assistant Angela (Danielle Harris) can hold her­self together while with a group, but when they spread out over the camp­ground, she'll likely lose it.

balloonsboy diving off board
bound bookspice bottlesmushrooms
church suppercanoe tripschool cafeteriaA supposed witch was held to be the culprit wreaking vengeance on the church who owned the camp for killing her child. A flash­back shows her girl playing ball in the street and being run over by a speeding church van. The town—pop. 1,000—covered it up. The mother living alone near the camp ground is shown with herbs laid out and para­pher­nalia from the forest, but there is no grimoire or magic incantation. She was just a wise woman who utilized the forest, not a witch. The team finds a journal in the camp with a spell in it claiming that “the sacrifice of thirty before their second decade” can “bring back the one.” It is likely a hoax perpetrated by some second decade kids (aged 10–19) to provide incentive to their pesky little brothers & sisters not to tag along with them as they explore the camp and do pranks. A flash­back shows the campers—identical young age, similar body weight, same meal time—eating their soup in the cafeteria. The care­less cook, it seems, had put some lethal mush­rooms in the soup. The children had all freaked out at once and marched screaming into the river. Except one girl & boy had not finished their soup so they could sneak out and have a make-out session on the steps of the canoe shack. They ran or hid when they saw their mates acting crazy.

football and flaghobo signgirl on computercornucopiaThe real clincher for the supernatural was the discovery of strange markings on the walls of the cabins, small drawings set up high where they'd not be noticed. The crew took them for part of a magic spell. How­ever, they resemble hobo sign more than any­thing, and it's not hard to imagine the hobo community taking advantage of an abandoned but well stocked camp ground and wanting to share the bounty with their comrades. The investigators detected residual cooking odors upon arrival and observed a quickie fire in the grill as if the hobos brewed a pot of joe before making them­selves scarce. A well maintained American flag speaks of military background.

Angie got spooked when she saw on her monitor children who weren't there in the flesh, and one of them screamed into the camera. Their hastily set up gear had trouble switching between record and play, which would explain it. Jack and she tried walking out through the forest but ended up going in circles when they were presumably walking straight ahead. On account of one's feet being of unequal strengths, this is expected, but these city folk didn't know that.

Kevin tried setting up a camera on a suspension bridge strung over the creek, but he kept jerking around every time he thought he heard some­thing, which set the bridge to rocking, and he tumbled off into the drink being propelled by an invisible force … it's called Gravity.

Emma is shadowed by a mystery woman ghosting around the grounds.

Jack wakes up in the hospital with a bump on the head and a different memory from Emma's story how he got it. But then he had a concussion, so how could he remember correctly? It's pretty certain they didn't find any­thing super­natural to save their show from cancellation, but the spooky back­ground music has us feeling that just because you're paranoid, doesn't mean nobody's after you.


There is a set of sentiments playing out in films from time to time—Holly­wood recycles the same material—most elegantly expressed in a well known poem—actu­ally a psalm—a variation of it played out in this movie. Let's start with the poem:

Psalm 127:1-5 Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the LORD keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain. It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows: for so he giveth his beloved sleep. Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.

This pictures a man who is a carpenter by day and moonlights as a night watch­man. He's got his priorities all wrong; or at least they aren't godly. Rather than be a work­­a­­holic, he should spend time with his wife at home, make some babies, and they'll grow up to leave a lasting mark on the world and make their father happy. At least that's God's design.

Judging by their two cars in the driveway, Jack's wife Connie (Loren Ledesma) works out­side the home, and she coaches their two daughters Haley & Monet in the kitchen to make brownies. Haley is of an age to have night­mares and Monet is passed that to the stage of imaginary friends. Jack is a workaholic missing the chance to help form his children's characters for being off hunting ghosts for his show. Now that it's to be cancelled he has a chance to catch up with his children while looking for other work and perhaps taking a less demanding summer job. But, no, he wheedles another away-investigation to miss this golden opportunity with his children. What! He wants to farm out their development to strangers?

Production Values

” (2018) was directed by Andy Palmer. It was written by Alex Carl. It stars Danielle Harris, Chad Michael Murray, and Michael Eric Reid. The four crew members have each got a singular personality requiring not much range in the actors playing them. They were up to it. An impressive small part was Cate Jones playing a cigarette-smoking local waitress on her break whose sister had died at the camp. She single­handedly gave me the shivers. Other roles came off okay. Danielle Harris's character offered one helluva prayer once she took her religion off the shelf.

It's not rated in America; in the United Kingdom it's a 15. The horror music is first rate. The editing was superlative weaving together disparate threads. The special effects were above average giving us glimpses of the past. The plot was delightfully ambiguous.

Review Conclusion w/a Christian's Recommendation

“Camp Cold Brook” reminded me of my participation in a group hike up the McKenzie River one Sat­ur­day. We saw the water­falls that were pretty awesome due to the runoff from the warm weather. Then we got past the falls on the trail hugging the river.

Feeling the call of nature, I hiked up the hill off the trail and found an outhouse on the edge of a closed picnic area. So I went in and did my business. After I was done I discovered I couldn't see the group any more.

saplingsNo problem. Having an excellent sense of direction, I took off on the high ground to head them off. I was making good time, and sure enough, by and by, I came upon some tracks. Human tracks. Fresh tracks. My tracks. And there was the outhouse. I had gone in a big circle.

I needed another plan. Well, I knew they were going downhill all the way to the reserved cars, so I found the access road to the reservoir which road they would have to cross to get to the highway if they went that way, and if I didn't see their tracks, it would lead me to the reservoir which the river trail would necessarily lead to anyway. It was a plan. Off I went.

Unfortunately the causeway did not go all the way across the pond. There was a fence next to a spillway with no place to cross. The other hikers had crossed upstream on a foot­bridge and were calling to me to walk the long way back around the lake to the bridge.

In situations like this, I am told we should ask ourselves, “What would Jesus do?” I don't recall reading anywhere Jesus walking around a lake to get to the other side. I continued on my way.

A minute later our group leader arrived to find me smiling nonchalantly on her side of the dam, dry as a bone, calm and collected. She looked at the open water between us and the end of the causeway, and her curiosity got the best of her. “How did you get across?” she asked.

Yes, I crossed a mighty river in my boots, but below the dam the river ducks down and travels under­ground. All that remained above was a stagnant pool about three inches deep. Splash, splash, and I was across.

I do believe in miracles. But there weren't any happening that day on that trip. The movie plays out similarly with the supernatural.

Movie Ratings

Action Factor: Weak action scenes. Suitability for Children: Suitable for youth 15+ years with guidance. Special effects: Well done special effects. Video Occasion: Good for a Rainy Day. Suspense: Don't watch this movie alone. Overall movie rating: Four stars out of five.