Camp Calypso (2020)

Director: Hannah May Cumming, Karlee Boon
Runtime: 19 Minutes
Certification: N/A
Starring: Ruby Cumming, Derek Sweet, Caitlyn Sparkman, Misha Kemp, Savannah Raye Jones, Dawson Redmond, Erik Norseth, Nathaniel Owens, Billy Titko

Having worked on the excellent Giallo short Fanatico (which can be watched here), director Hannah May Cumming has once more teamed up with producer Karlee Boon. The pair share directing duties this time for an excellent follow-up, again paying reverance to a once popular sub-genre. Taking place in the '70s, the short follows the residents of a summer camp, which has a history of misogyny. Dwelling in the lake is a siren, vengeful, man-eating, and on the hunt.

From the opening moments, it's clear what we're watching is made from a reverance for the genre. It brings to mind Todd Strauss-Schulson's excellent The Final Girls, as we get a stunning recreation of the retro slashers which were set at camps. While it captures what was so beloved, it also addresses what hasn't held the test of time. A siren may be hanging around the camp grounds, but the real villains are clearly misogyny and rape culture. It's a setting where if the women aren't being casually harassed, they're being systematically disbelieved, and having control exerted over them. This is best embodied in Pete, a slimy figure brought alive by Derek Sweet, ready to make you boo and hiss at his every appearance.

That's not to say the Siren doesn't get her moments to shine, brought alive by an excellent performance from Caitlyn Sparkman, and wonderful effects courtesy of Carlo Mery & Lyndsey Wiltshire. What we're granted is a figure out to right some long-overdue wrongs, in whatever bloody way possible. A scene where a character looks through the camera lens is immaculately conceived, and is rightfully chilling to witness. If I had any qualms, it'd be to do with the flashback scenes. While they're necessary to the story, their placement feels a bit intrusive in the story, and one wishes it was more seamlessly done. But this is just a small issue in an excellent short, with a title song ready for all to hum.