Filmed back-to-back with Sleepaway Campers 2: Unhappy Campers, this third installment in the series falls quite a bit short of its predecessor and the unforgettable original. To the filmmakers' credit, they once again adapt their stylistic approach, refusing to merely copy what they had done before. As we enter this Teenage Wasteland (a nod to director Michael Simpson's fondness for The Who), we are now fully in horror-comedy mode. In that context, the movie is successful, as our killer tops off each kill with a one-liner and, but this approach ultimately lessens the impact of this film on the viewer. This is something of a robotic experience, lacking any of the emotion that attached itself to the nascent comedic aspects of the first sequel. Despite her prolific and heinous crimes, the Angela of Sleepaway Camp 2 was a somewhat sympathetic character. There was a depth and a degree of sadness to her character - if only those campers hadn't misbehaved and broken the rules, then she wouldn't have had to kill them. Only at the end of Teenage Wasteland does that kind of ambivalence reappear; up to that point, she's just a killing machine.
Angela is a true anti-hero this time around, and you won't even have to feel guilty for rooting her own once you meet the gang at Camp New Horizons. Set in the very location of Camp Rolling Hills (where Angela massacred all the campers a year ago), Camp New Horizons is an "experiment in sharing," bringing together six underprivileged teens alongside six teens from wealthy homes. Stereotypes abound. By and large, the poor kids are all juvenile delinquents of one kind or another, and the rich kids are snooty, racist brats. Only two out of the bunch are even remotely likeable. The camp itself is the brainchild of lecherous oddball Herman (Michael J. Pollard) and Lily Miranda, with Officer Barney Whitmore (Cliff Brand) volunteering as the third counselor. This presents a possible problem for Angela (who killed and took the place of one of the underprivileged campers) because Barney's son was one of her victims a year ago.
The storyline is pretty simple. The campers divide up into three groups, which makes it a lot easier for Angela to take out her victims one by one. She employs various killing tools and techniques, from the basic (beating) to the sublime (flagpole). She seems to enjoy the killings this time around (even putting together a rap song at one point), but her heart just doesn't seem to be in it the way it was in the previous sequel. The same could be said of the film as a whole, as Angela just seems to be going through the motions this time around. Pamela Springsteen still turns in another good performance, but there's nothing about this film that really sets it apart from the crowd of similar films in the genre.