List Film

Jesus Camp (3 stars)

Jesus Camp

(PG) 107min

Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady’s fly-on-the-wall documentary might easily be classified as a kind of real life horror film. In it we follow one Pastor Becky as she gears up to, and runs a summer camp for born again Christian children and their families. The kids concerned are hyped up to appalling bouts of hysteria by talk of Jesus, then politically programmed by the Christian fundamentalist right to act as foot soldiers in the campaign to elect an anti-women’s choice Supreme Court judge.

What is truly frightening about this film is the way in which everything in these children’s lives is swallowed up by an all encompassing system, which controls every aspect of their existence from visits to a Christian shopping centre to the kind of music they select. There are inadvertently comic moments, such as when the pastor has them pay homage to a life-sized cardboard cut-out of George W Bush, but on the whole, this rather detached observation of a terrifying version of every day life is just plain disturbing. See it, and hope it doesn’t happen here. Minimal extras.

Jesus Camp

  • 3 stars
  • 2006
  • US
  • 84 min
  • PG
  • Directed by: Heidi Ewing, Rachel Grady
  • Cast: Becky Fischer, Ted Haggard, Mike Papantonio

Interesting and mildly disturbing documentary about the indoctrination of young children at an evangelical Christian summer camp.


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