Directed by David Campfield
2005 -88 minutes/Fullscreen
DVD Provided by Fourth Horizon Cinema
Article written by David Austin
In the world of movie-review-land, sometimes these things come easily and other times, it becomes rather difficult. While it might be easy to trash on something like SATAN’S BLACK WEDDING, the truth is that people are going to buy it no matter how venomous the invective. With something like UNDER SURVEILLANCE or Trevor King’s SHARKSKIN 6, the matter becomes a little cloudy. How would it feel if you sent your blood, sweat, tears, and years of hard work to somebody just for some yuppie half-wit like myself to bash on? Well, the good news is that UNDER SURVEILLANCE is scores better than it has any right to be.
The slender plot concerns Justin (Eric Conley), a young guy coming home to live with his father after years of silence between the two. Despite his mother’s protestations, Justin is eager to put the past to sleep and rebuild a rather shaky patriarchal relationship. One night, Justin meets a mysterious young girl behind his father’s rental home (shades of David Lynch’s BLUE VELVET) and is knocked unconscious by an unseen assailant. Upon waking up, the girl is found murdered. These series of events bring Justin into an interlocking web of twisted characters, double-crosses, and a world of mystery that zigs when you expect it to zag.
One of the main strengths of Campfield’s film is the reliance on plot and character to tell a story. Justin and his team of wacky pals aren’t the one-dimensional cretins of CABIN FEVER, but real, three-dimensional people who interact in a world that’s just surreal enough to be believable. In a world of SOV five-day wonders where qualities like a good story and decent dialogue are eschewed in favor of breast implants and cheap gore, UNDER SURVEILLANCE scores by emphasizing the twists and turns of its central story arc.
Of course, no plan is perfect and I’m not out to suck Dave Campfield’s dick here. This is a pretty minor thing, but I really disliked the casting of Felissa Rose and Desiree Gould. Granted, there might be scores of SLEEPAWAY CAMP fans out there that’ll jump hoops to see either of these two in action again. However, the whole thing smacks of gimmick casting and a last-chance grab at some of the fading SLEEPAWAY cult luster. Again, nothing too big to gripe about, but I wish Campfield had allowed his story to do the sales pitch.
All in all, UNDER SURVEILLANCE was a breath of fresh air in a particularly rancid arena of filmmaking. All involved should be proud of themselves for a job well done, and I’m very much looking forward to Campfield’s next project.