What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Bunks is a comedy movie about a zombie outbreak at summer camp, so kids who are sensitive to the idea of things that go bump in the night might want to pass on it. The alpha zombie turns humans into creatures by jumping and biting them, but all viewers see is a struggle and him leaning in before the scene cuts away. Campers scream and narrowly escape the zombie's grasp, and some succumb and are turned into snarling, grunting undead themselves. The story centers on teen brothers who excel at weaseling their way out of jams (oftentimes at other people's expense) and rarely take things seriously, which inevitably makes them models of coolness to the boys they're meant to be mentoring. A fair dose of teen flirting rounds out this OK monster comedy.
What's the story?
Mischievous teen brothers Dane (Aidan Shipley) and Dylan (Dylan Schmid) O'Reilly stir up ghoulish trouble at summer camp in BUNKS. Sentenced to a summer of behavioral intervention at military camp for accidentally burning down their family's garage, the two pull a fast one on naive counselors Sanjay (Varun Saranga) and Delroy (Aaron Hale) instead, posing as them and setting sail for fun-loving Camp Bushwhack. Once there, the brothers are put in charge of a cabin of 11-year-old misfits and subjected to the ridicule of the ultra-competitive rival counselor, Brogan (Markian Tarasiuk). But when they discover a dusty book of campfire stories and read them aloud, they unleash a zombie on the camp and put everyone in danger of being turned into zombies themselves. Meanwhile, the real Sanjay and Delroy plot their escape from the neighboring boot camp and seek revenge on the O'Reilly brothers, but they arrive to find the camp in the throes of a full-scale zombie apocalypse instead.
Is it any good?
Bunks is decent mock horror/comedy entertainment for kids who still like a dose of levity to their monster stories, but, even with the crack-up moments to take the edge off, younger kids may find the idea of the undead roaming the woods at night a little too scary for their taste. The fact that the alpha zombie can switch into his human alter ego with the help of a remote device also lessens the fright, but it doesn't erase all the images of pale-faced monsters stalking campers to try to turn them. Happily, the outcome isn't as dire as the fast-spreading zombie infection suggests it might be, and there's the added bonus of the central casts of misfits emerging as camp heroes in the process.
Kids aren't likely to notice (or care, really) that the story lacks resolution on multiple fronts, but it does leave the discerning viewer hanging on a number of plot points. Parents will find the O'Reilly brothers' knack for escaping consequence less comical than kids will, and there's no resolution to a camp competition that hints at an inspiring underdog victory. There's also little development of the kids' characters, since Dylan and Dane dominate most of the scenes despite the questionable example they set for the campers. The bottom line? Bunks is a viable choice for kids who aren't quite ready for more believable monster movies, but know your kids' tolerance for scares before you let them watch.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about the popularity of monster stories. Why are characters such as zombies, vampires, and werewolves so in vogue right now? Do your kids like them? Do you think any viewers might confuse this kind of content with reality?
Kids: Is there such a thing as a "good scare"? Did you think the content of this show was appropriately spine-tingling for someone your age? What kinds of content are you most sensitive to?
In what instances are Dylan and Dane positive role models for their campers? Do role models always have to be perfect to be effective? How do you feel when someone you admire does something that disappoints you? What can you learn from his or her mistakes?