A man is smeared with blood and is getting closer and closer, a machete in his hand… the boat house is so close and others are running around screaming in terror, calling for help. The killer grabs one of the girls who lets out a blood curdling scream and he pulls her into the boat house. One of the boys runs off, another freezes until he is pulled toward the gate by a second girl. The killer with the machete is coming for them. The girl pulls a knife and stabs the killer. She turns and smiles.
As the flood lights come on, Charity congratulates the frozen boy by the gate, he’s survived a night at Camp Mirror Lake and earned a commemorative t-shirt! The girl dragged into the boat house isn’t pleased and breaks up with her boyfriend on the spot for leaving her to die. Well, she may not have enjoyed the night but for Charity it was easily one of the top three nights of the season.
This is Charity’s third season at Camp Mirror Lake and at last she’s been promoted to the coveted position of Final Girl. Camp Mirror Lake is a full-contact terror-simulation experience based on the 1983 cult classic The Curse of Camp Mirror Lake, a really cheesy horror movie chronicling the rampage of an inhuman serial killer. The big final night is only three nights away and Charity can’t wait, although that means summer is ending and soon she'll have to go back home with her neglectful mother and her asshole boyfriend Rob. For now though it’s time to get the latest batch of guests off the property, wash the fake blood off, and get to bed.
Charity heads to the communal showers and everything is quiet, almost too quiet. Yeah, it’s creepy. When Charity’s flashlight starts acting up she knows to nope her ass out of there and clean up in the morning. However the creepiness continues when she’s in bed. Something wakes Charity up and then she hears a splash coming from the lake. Getting up and taking a look from her cabin window, she hears another splash. Nobody is meant to be out on the lake, all the boats and stuff are props. Strangely everything on the creepy lake is still. It’s nearly time to get up anyway so Charity finally heads to the showers before doing a walk-through of the camp.
Porter and Javier are arguing about checking the perimeter fencing and, despite Charity only being seventeen, Mr. Lamont, the owner, has put her in charge, so she needs to deescalate the situation. In other words, she's got to tell Javier to stop flirting with Tasha and do his job. In the main office, the camp serial killer, Kyle, is checking in the latest guests. The spokesgirl, K-E-N-N-E-D-Y, is being a particular bitch so Charity singles her out to die in the woodshed, mwah ha ha ha! After the guests head to their cabin, Charity finds out that not only are Jordan and Heather, two other staff members, MIA, but another, Felix, is also now a no-show. It’s always difficult to keep staff but this season has been particularly bad. Porter, Tasha and Javier will just have to pull double up duties along with Charity. Charity does try to message them on the group chat, but cell service is the worst and the message is left unsent.
Despite double-duties, the night is going really well. As Charity is waiting with a bucket of fake blood and raw chicken, she sees someone on the lake. Charity calls out, but there’s no response. Over the headsets they all wear, Charity asks for a guest headcount but everyone is accounted for. After she’s chucked the bucket of blood and chicken bits, Charity checks the lake and throws a life preserver where she thought she saw a body, but no one is there.
The next day, Charity gives Porter, Tasha and Javier the bad news that they all need to stay back to help close the camp after the last night since so many have dropped out, and despite protests, they all agree. With a rare moment of cell service, Charity is able to fire off texts to her friends Paige and Bezi begging them to come up and help out. Paige freaking loves horror movies and eagerly agrees, and Bezi loves Charity so of course she’s going to help. Charity also uses the camp's sole landline to call Mr. Lamont and let him know of the staff shortages. It’s not long before Paige and Bezi arrive. Paige, with her camera in hand, is ready to write an exposé on the camp for her college applications and is so excited to get covered in fake blood and be an OTT scream queen.
Charity assigns roles and duties for the night and then picks out the Final Guy from the latest batch of guests, the only one who isn’t being an asshole. Despite being short-staffed, the night is going well. Charity sees Kyle off in the distance and he’s slightly off cue but it’s workable, but then another figure steps out beyond the gate and they’re carrying a shotgun. Who is this?! Charity, understandably, starts panicking.
It’s an old woman and, with shotgun in hand, she starts ranting and raving about how it’s all fun and games and you should be ashamed if you knew. It’s then that Charity notices the gate hasn’t been locked and she shouts to everyone to get into the office cabin where the landline is. The old woman follows them and stands outside shouting “little pig, little pig, let me come in.” They manage to call the Sheriff and for terrifying minutes they wait for him to come. When he finally does arrive, instead of arresting the old woman, Sheriff Lillard addresses Ms. Keane by name and helps her into his car. The Sheriff then gaslights Charity before taking Ms. Keane out for breakfast. Understandably the guests leave, pissed that their night was ruined and everyone heads to bed.
As Charity and Bezi start kissing, Paige knocks on the cabin door. She’s been kicked out by Tasha so she and Javier can get it on. Ugggh. Trying to make the situation better, she says it’ll be just like the sleepovers they had as kids, and they cram on the too small bed. During the night, Charity hears more noises coming from the lake, then a splash. Again, Charity tries to see what is going on from her cabin window and can see something or someone on the far side. Then there is another loud splash, this time Bezi and Paige hear it. It’s the middle of the night and a very bad idea to investigate and it can definitely wait until the bright light of day, so that's what they decide to do; however, Charity can’t sleep.
The next morning Charity, Bezi and Paige go to investigate the lake and find drag marks, some beat up plastic, and rusty chains. It’s very strange. Their investigation is interrupted by the call into breakfast at the lodge. While they eat, Charity tells Kyle and Porter what she heard and Porter admits he heard the same a few weeks ago too. Adding to the weirdness, there is a dead bird on the lodge skylight. Ugggh, best get rid of it. Charity climbs up and sees that it’s an owl that looks uncomfortably familiar. Amongst his many jobs, Asshole Rob worked as a taxidermist and would bring home the birds, mostly owls, and store them in Charity’s bedroom. Charity wants to throw it away, but Bezi wants to bury it.
As they’re finishing up breakfast which Tasha and Javier have gracefully joined them for, Charity gets a call on her cell. The signal is bad and all she can make out is “office phone” so she heads over to the office and finds the landline ringing. It’s Mr. Lamont. Sheriff Lillard called him about Ms. Keane and so now he's ordering Charity to shut down the camp immediately and refund the guests. Disappointed and angry, Charity calls the guests before telling the others about Mr. Lamont's orders and then together they make plans to shut down the camp.
After clearing and tidying the non-essential stuff, they realize Felix, Jordan and Heather’s cabin will also need cleaning. Heading over, Charity and Bezi find a disgusting, stinking mess with spoiled and moldy food, dirty clothes, and even their cell phones which don’t have any power. How much of a rush were they in to leave? When they’re done cleaning, they head back to the others, grab some food, and settle in for scary stories.
Paige tells them how in her research, she found out there was a real summer camp at Mirror Lake and that she even found pictures in the library. Porter looks uncomfortable and tells them he found some things behind the supply shed when he first started but he thought it was only a prop from the movie. This doesn’t sit right with Charity. Javier says they could ask his grandma if she knows what happened. Javier actually has a bar on his cell so he makes the call. His grandma, who never wanted Javier to work there in the first place, confirms very reluctantly that there was a camp there in 1971 and tells them six kids were killed back then and the killer was never found. She sounds really scared and angry and wants Javier to leave, now, and is willing to drive up to get him despite not having a license or car, but then the call drops.
How could they not know a mass murder took place here?! Could Javier’s grandma know Ms. Keane? Paige says she wants to go and talk to Ms. Keane because she obviously knows something, and she drags Porter and Tasha along with her. Bezi admits to Charity that when Ms. Keane was terrorizing them she hid in the storage closet in the control room Charity told her was filled with expensive equipment. Charity is concerned something got broken, but no. The control room is actually filled with old files and paperwork. Charity and Bezi go to dig through, hoping they might find out more.
Charity finds papers from 1976-1978, old camp counselor T-shirts, newspaper clippings and land deeds. Why did Mr. Lamont hide this stuff? As they leave, Charity notices one of the cameras is out, the one which monitors the trap door under the boat house. As Bezi comforts Charity over the horrible end to the season, the broken camera blinks back on and Charity sees a figure cloaked in black just under the trap door hatch.
The camera comes back on again and the figure is gone, but they need to take a look. As Charity and Bezi walk along, they notice a hole in the ground where Bezi buried the dead owl. It’s been dug up and placed on the steps of the lodge, and it’s intact other than its eyes which have been plucked out. Bezi screams which bring Javier and Kyle running. This doesn’t make sense… could an animal have done this? Or a person? Charity explains what she and Bezi found in the control room closet and asks if either of them were by the boat house hatch. Nope.
Together they investigate the boat house. Kyle, as the serial killer, is the one who uses it most often to get around undiscovered by guests. It’s creepy but there are no signs of anyone being down there. Suddenly they hear the creak of floorboards. Someone is walking above them! Javier dashes off toward the lodge and the rest follow. Once they’re outside, they block the hatch shut before arguing about who it could have been. Charity decides that they need to regroup and find Paige, Tasha and Porter. Before they leave, Tasha manages to call Charity’s cell and sounds panicked and terrified.
They head out toward Ms. Keane’s house. It's spooky and the feeling of being watched stays with them the whole time. Eventually they reach Ms. Keane’s, her driveway is littered with No Trespassing signs and the house looks neglected. Charity spots something on the ground, one of Tasha’s hair ties, so they know she’s been there.
Charity knocks on the door and Ms. Keane answers with her shotgun pointed at them. She orders them inside, and cautiously, Charity, Bezi and Javier proceed, but Kyle has disappeared. Ms. Keane’s house is littered with trash and smells like cat pee, but she offers them lemonade because she may be cantankerous but she’s also polite. Erm, no thanks. As Ms. Keane tells them about the area, Charity sees Kyle outside gesturing wildly. Ms. Keane is rambling about “they,” people coming to power, an owl as big as a man in the area, and the land giving power. She’s being very weird and making no sense. In the end, Ms. Keane tells Charity, “Oh honey you’re going to die out here.” Well shit. As Ms. Keane starts to get manic, Charity grabs a lamp, hits her over the head, and they dash out the house, the sound of the shotgun going off behind them as they run toward Kyle at the end of the drive and cheese it all the way back to camp where they find the lodge doors wide open. Standing in front of the fire is a barefoot figure, shirtless, caked in something and holding their stomach. It’s Tasha.
Tasha is covered in mud and blood, her face is swollen, and her belly is slashed open, her insides falling outside. Tasha gasps “it’s out there… the owl” before passing out. Bezi miraculously has a bar on her cell and she calls 9-1-1 but the call drops before she knows if help will come or not. Javier decides to go to the landline to call an ambulance and police. Just then, Tasha comes to for a moment and is able to tell them that Paige and Porter are still out there. They saw owls in the trees, on the tree and ran. The owl is killing them. Charity needs to do something and despite everyone begging, she says she needs to take a look in the forest.
The shadows are spooky and disturbing but Charity and Bezi can spot small owls carved into the trees and guess they are like mile markers. Further in, they find a clearing illuminated by a large torch that looks like a large outdoor amphitheater. Waiting for a few moments in case anyone is there, Charity ventures into it. At the center is a giant carved owl and the platform area is covered in fresh blood. Off to one side is a path, and when they follow it, it leads to a large lodge. On the porch is one of Porter’s shoes. Cautiously they go inside.
The lodge is filled with giant portraits of pompous men, taxidermied owls and old musty books. Bezi finds a large black-and-white photo from 1840 with a plaque saying The Owl Society. They also find pictures of Grand Owls, the last dated 1973. Suddenly they hear a shriek coming from outside. As they silently start to leave, in a pile of leaves and sticks on a kitchen table, they spot Paige’s camera. Charity looks through the pictures and finds photos of Felix bound in front of the giant owl in the amphitheater. Another picture shows him on the ground covered in blood. Charity realizes that Heather and Jordan also suddenly disappeared and starts linking things together. They need to find Porter and Paige. Now.
Quietly they make their way down the hall and find a narrow doorway near the rear fitted with a series of open deadbolts. Cautiously make their way through and down a narrow staircase and along another hallway with a single door at the end. Beyond, Charity and Bezi can hear chanting and carefully look inside where they find a cavern-like room and shadowy figures moving inside. A gruff voice shouts “Come forth” and a hooded figure steps forward and raises their arms toward the wooden structure at the end of the room. The gruff voice says “Claim your power. Know that it will be yours. Accept no other outcome…. We will recover what once was ours. Through the blood. Through the ritual. Through the water.” Suddenly a figure steps into view, it’s an owl the size of a very tall person, its feathers are luminescent, mottled white and brown. As the owl man declares they have suffered enough losses and it is time for them to reclaim their power, Charity and Bezi see Porter’s bloody and broken body pinned to the wooden structure. Charity can’t hold back the scream any more.
Charity can feel something rip in her throat as the scream pours out of her, then Bezi pulls her back and out of the lodge, the owl and his followers chasing them. They run faster than they have in their lives and manage to hide just before the owl man and his followers approach. The owl man is pissed and berates the others, he won’t be placated by the gruff woman with them. The Owl Society leaves and Charity and Bezi give it a few more moments before dashing to the camp. When Charity and Bezi get to the lodge they find Kyle by himself, he tells them an ambulance took Tasha away and Javier went with her and that the sheriff came but didn’t believe him, claiming they were just pulling a prank. Sheriff Lillard is an asshole. They decide the best course of action is to call Mr. Lamont, he’s the only adult who might help. Brandishing homemade weapons, they leave the lodge and go to the office cabin and the landline.
The call doesn’t go through because the line has been cut. That can only mean the owl society is here. They gather the headsets they use during the horror recreations so at least they can communicate with each other. Kyle will go to the control room and relay the owls' whereabouts to Charity and Bezi who will stay hidden but try to listen into conversations on where Paige might be. Suddenly the lights go out. The electricity has been turned off. That puts a crimp in their plans so Kyle pulls out his serial killer costume mask, pulls it on and ventures outside to try and get the power back on, Charity and Bezi stay put.
When Charity checks in on Kyle, the static is heavy on the radio but he’s able to tell them that he saw something large and white at the dock. Then they hear something large and heavy on the roof of the lodge. It’s the owl, and they need to hide. Charity and Bezi make it to the hatch in the kitchen and take the tunnel to the boat house just in time as they hear breaking glass behind them.
Sensibly, Charity grabs an ore as a weapon, which is lucky as the argumentative gruff woman from earlier is outside, so Charity slams the ore against her head and ties the woman’s hands and feet. Charity radios Kyle who is shaken as he had to take someone out too with his switchblade. He lets them know there are others turning the cabins over. Charity and Bezi decide to go to the staff cabins and it’s creepy as fuck.
There are two men inside the cabin and Charity and Bezi listen in from a hiding spot. They’re talking about the Grand Owl possibly losing his way, how they need the power from the land so it’s imperative they find the other kids, and that they can’t repeat the mistakes of the past. Unfortunately Charity knocks the wood siding and the sound alerts the weirdos inside. They make a run for it and are closely followed by the two men. Kyle sets off the sound effects of blood curdling screams which stops the owl guys in their tracks buying Charity and Bezi enough time to run into the communal showers.
They’re able to wedge the door, but it’s not very secure against two men beating it down. Charity empties a half a can of bear spray into their faces which certainly causes them to reassess their life choices for a moment. Charity and Bezi use this opportunity to get into the trap door in the last shower stall which leads to the arts and crafts cabin. Before Charity can get down, though, one of the owl guys grabs her and bashes her head. Bezi, from the hatch, slashes the guy's Achilles heel making him let Charity go. They run for it but the owl guys still chase them pulling at Charity. As Charity fights off one of the owl guys, she’s able to gesture to an archery set. Bezi passes her an arrow which Charity stabs back through the owl guy's face. They are able to get through the hatch and barricade it. Over the radio, Kyle asks if they’re okay, yeah very much no. They need to regroup and plan to meet up at the office. On the path ahead of them is a figure dressed in the owl costume. Charity and Bezi can’t catch a break!
The Grand Owl speaks and points toward the lake. He tells them they’ve been feeding the land and the lake and they should be honored to be part of their ritual. They were chosen. It turns out Asshole Rob set Charity up. He was the one who handed her the job application and kept insisting she apply. He couldn’t wait to get her out of the house because he thought with her sacrifice he would be granted a place in the Society. The Grand Owl tells Charity it's a special thing to sacrifice your own family, but Rob however isn’t of their lofty caliber.
The Grand Owl springs forward and reaches for Bezi but Charity intercepts and is thrown onto the office cabin wall. In agony, Charity watches as the Grand Owl goes for Bezi again. Somehow Charity manages to get up and hits him with a stick from the ground. Suddenly there is a whistle, a man shouts for Charity to move and the newcomer shoots the Grand Owl through the chest. It’s Mr. Lamont!
Charity begs Mr. Lamont to call the police, he already has, they just need to hang tight. Charity tells him what’s happened and asks to use his phone to call Bezi’s mom. Mr. Lamont doesn’t have a cell. This is when Charity realizes something is very, very wrong. If Mr. Lamont doesn’t have a cell and the landline has been cut, how did he call the police, and how did he know something was wrong? All concern in Mr. Lamont is gone, only anger and malice is on show. He reassures Charity that it will all be over soon.
Mr. Lamont pulls his revolver out and takes Charity and Bezi for a walk. As they head past the dead Grand Owl, Mr. Lamont rips the owl mask off him, pocketing it. In the distance is a splash at the lake. Kyle comes running toward them and Mr. Lamont orders him to fall in line. Together they go into the lodge. Charity sees Tasha and Javier’s bodies lying under the couch and more things start to fall into place.
Mr. Lamont tells them he is not with the others in the Society, they were too stuck up to let him in, but he knows about their ritual, how they’ve used this land for generations. Mr. Lamont sounds very angry with the Owl Society, he’s jealous of them holding onto the power and dissolving in the 60s before they could share their power with his family. Mr. Lamont's father set up the camp to gather victims for the ritual, he was happy with the cash they paid him, but Mr. Lamont wants more, he wants the power the Owls have. He tried spilling blood on the land and feeding the bodies to the lake in the 70s but it didn’t work. When the Hollywood people came, they knew nothing about the 1971 murders and they lapped up his ideas that the killer would gain power with each kill.
Just then, Ms. Keane comes in and nuzzles into Mr. Lamont. She’s his wife! Ms. Keane then walks up to Kyle and slaps him, calling him pathetic and worthless, berating him for failing at the simple tasks she gave him and trying to scare everyone off instead. He’s betrayed his family! Ms. Keane turns to Charity and informs her Kyle is their worthless grandson.
Kyle ties Charity and Bezi’s hands, and Ms. Keane pushes them outside toward the boat house. The woman Charity bashed with the ore stumbles out, calls Mr. Lamont a bastard and he shoots her. Whomp whomp. Ms. Keane continues to push Charity and Bezi toward the lake. It seems that Mr. Lamont and Ms. Keane have been watching them and picking off the Owl Society. Meanwhile Kyle has fetched Tasha’s lifeless body and dumps it on the ground before fetching Javier’s body. Mr. Lamont feeds Tasha and Javier to Mirror Lake while he chants something. It didn't work and Ms. Keane berates Mr. Lamont for doing it wrong. He now thinks the chant needs to be done while making the sacrifice.
Mr. Lamont puts on the owl mask he took from the dead Grand Owl and while Ms. Keane holds Bezi down he draws a knife and slashes at Bezi’s abdomen. Before they can feed Bezi to the lake there are two loud pops and blood blooms on Mr. Lamont’s chest before he falls into the water. As Ms. Keane is screaming NOOOOOO! she is shot and falls into the lake next to Mr. Lamont. Kyle, gun in hand, moves toward Charity. Charity cries, clinging on to Kyle and begs him to help Bezi, however, she can hear Kyle mumbling something. When she pulls back, Charity feels something stick to her cheek, bloody owl feathers. Looking up, Charity sees Kyle is wearing the owl mask. He then draws Ms. Keane's machete across her stomach and Charity falls with a splash into the icy water of the lake, disappearing under its surface as her heartbeat flutters and stops.
One year later. Bezi is sitting on the south shore of Mirror Lake. After the murders last year, the camp was razed and the forest is slowly reclaiming the land. Bodies are still being pulled from the lake, but Charity is still down there. Bezi should have died on Mirror Lake, her abdomen was ripped open and even now after six surgeries she still doesn’t feel right. It turns out her 9-1-1 call when they found Tasha did go through but it was hours until help came because they thought it was a prank call. Bezi is now the Final Girl, a title she took from her beloved Charity. Bezi thinks of Paige and her love of the rules of horror movies and how she always said there was one final scene. A few days before, Bezi found a hand delivered letter that read: “I’m sorry, Bezi. I don't know if you believe me or if you even care, but I have to say it. I should never have helped them. I didn't have a choice. I got what I wanted. I’m free from them, but I think about what I had to do to have this. I’m sorry. But I have something I can share with you… If you want, meet me at the place where it happened on the day it happened. If you're not there, I’ll assume you never will be.”
It was from Kyle. Now Bezi is waiting for him one year to the day. Bezi can hear Kyle approach through the tree line. He looks taller and gaunt. Kyle hands a piece of paper to Bezi, it’s the incantation his grandfather used, he thinks it will make amends as she can have whatever she wants now. Kyle tells her, what is one more body to get whatever she wants. Bezi agrees. She pulls a knife from her pocket and stabs it under Kyle’s ribs and chants the incantation aloud, the words burned into her mind from the night one year ago. Kyle stumbles toward the lake and Bezi kicks him back into the water. Bezi sits back down, closes her eyes and concentrates on what she desperately wants the most. She hears a splash, then another, followed by the sound of someone coming out of the lake onto the dock.