‘The Devil will take your soul… …one piece at a time’
Deathday – aka The Campus – is a 2018 American supernatural horror film written and directed by J. Horton (Monsters in the Woods; Edges of Darkness; Rise of the Undead). The Gas Money Pictures production stars Rachel Amanda Bryant, Britt Sheridan, Robert C. Pullman and Scott Menville.
Robert Wainwright dies after breaking his deal with the Devil, passing that debt onto his estranged daughter Morgan. She soon finds herself in a never-ending cycle of terror as she is brutally murdered then resurrected over and over again, each time losing a piece of her soul. Now she must discover why this is happening and break the deadly cycle in order to escape…
Comparisons with Happy Death Day (2017) are inevitable: a girl, in this case Morgan Wainwright played coarsely by Rachel Bryant, dies only to repeatedly return and try to stop from dying again. Both movies are Groundhog Day retreads with splashes of horror.
The comparisons end there, though. Whereas Happy Death Day is content to leave the motivating force behind the Groundhog Day effect completely unclassified, The Campus gives a definite face to the malevolent motivation. Whereas Happy Death Day is fairly sanitary, The Campus bathes in buckets of blood and decent low-budget practical creature effects. Whereas Happy Death Day cultivates a series of creative kills, The Campus tends to forgo that aspect and focus, instead, on creative overall nightmare scenarios for the main character to return to.
Still, with all of these positives, Happy Death Day is the better film. The Campus abounds in surface acting, the best performance probably being that of Robert Pullman as Robert Wainwright, Morgan’s father; pedestrian framing by director J. Horton who, as the screenwriter, also indulges in ripe dialogue and overexposed, amateurish humour; cheesy CGI effects; and far too many tedious flashbacks.
Furthermore, the script is flaccid, with sloppy and illogical situations, the directing is second-rate journeyman level at best, and the synth score by Darryl Blood is frequently lightweight.
Although the unconventional ending, along with the other pluses mentioned, knock the film up a few notches, it still has the general vibe of an ’80s SOV horror production and is best viewed with that in mind.
Ben Spurling, MOVIES and MANIA
” …The Campus is pure survival horror that’s tense as hell and dynamic to boot, using the concept mainly to maximise the horror and give its lead a vulnerability that otherwise cannot be achieved. And a tight directorial effort that’s genre savvy and makes great use of the locations…” Mike Haberfelner, Search My Trash
“Aside from its shortcomings, The Campus provides a variety of entertaining horror ranging from slashers and ghosts to flesh-eating zombies and the Devil. Featuring enough body horror and blood-soaked scenes to satisfy fans of gore and a unique story for those thirsty for originality, this collage of terror is sure to entertain a wide range of indie horror fans.” PopHorror.com
“The mishmash of styles smacks of a “let’s throw in everything but the kitchen sink” approach that becomes increasingly tiresome the longer it goes on and feels more like a horror anthology than a cohesive story. Nonetheless, there’s no denying that the film could well please hardcore genre aficionados for whom more is always better.” Frank Scheck, The Hollywood Reporter
“As far as the red sticky stuff goes there is plenty to see including a moment where Morgan will need more than a plaster to cover up her wounds. The suspense level is high in this film and with a character that you want to see make it all the way through it makes for a enjoyable horror movie experience.” Horrorscreams Videovault
“With enough horror, gore (great FX by @bravo_fx) and surprisingly, comedy, to please a whole host of different genre fans, we then get the delight of multiple horror formats, taking out their wrath on poor Morgan. The Campus, a great take on a classic idea…” The B Club
“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.” Horror Society
January 29th, 2018 (theatrical premiere in Hollywood, Los Angeles) and February 1st (VOD) and April (DVD, Blu-ray). The movie is now being distributed by ITN Films as Deathday