Brian’s Review – “Boot Camp” (2008)

Packed off to Camp Serenity on a remote Fiji isle, teenage rebel Sophie Bauer (Mila Kunis) and a host of other troubled kids soon find themselves brutalized by the unhinged Dr. Norman Hail (Peter Stormare) and his sadistic staff in this taut thriller. Electronic ankle cuffs and the surrounding ocean make escape impossible from the youngsters’ hell in paradise — until Sophie’s boyfriend (Gregory Smith), who’s back in the States, gets involved.

“Boot Camp”

Directed by Christian Duguay


2 of a 10

What happens when you combine a completely idiotic plot, horrendous acting, and a tropical island that is shot with dark filters that makes it look like it’s always night? Well, you get a horrendously shitty movie and that’s exactly what Boot Camp is. This is one of those films that could have been interesting. We’ve all heard of the youth boot camps for troubled teens. There have been numerous reports of accidental deaths and abuse that have taken place at these private establishments that were set up to reform them. But, sadly, this movie takes an over the top and stupid approach that removes any sense of believability right from the beginning. Mila Kunis, completely wasted, is put front and center but we never get a sense of who she is. Her rebellion is way too brief, her boyfriend is a plastic caricature of a character, and her stay on the boot camp island is devoid of any real interaction with the other kids there.


I suppose it was a lose-lose situation because the other actors are so devoid of any acting chops that more dialogue scenes would have only served to make that fact even more obvious. I really can’t overstate how bad this cast is. I cannot, in recent memory, recall a film where the actors were so horrendous. Their emotion is fake, the delivery of their lines sounds robotic, and there is not one bright spot among them. So, with zero acting chops, what do we have left? Well, I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out the directing decisions. Why in the world do you darken the filters on a camera to the point of turning the image purple when you’re on a tropical island?


I suppose you could say to create a sense of dread but it’s such an obvious tactic. Wouldn’t it have been better to have a horrible boot camp in the middle of a lush and beautiful tropical paradise to create an interesting dichotomy? The lush location is completely wasted. Another decision by the director that reeks of amateurism is the flashback scenes. Why in the world to you have to smother them with gold filters, distort the voices, and stutter them in slow motion? We get that they took place in the past. Stop using every single cliché gimmick!! At this point, you’re probably wondering why it’s not a 1? Well, I’ve seen worse, but not by much.


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