Holy Camp (La llamada), musical comedy from Spain

Belén Cuesta, Anna Castillo, Macarena García, and Gracia Olayo in Holy Camp

Holy Camp (La llamada) is a comedy set to music in a Catholic summer camp for teens. It was a popular stage production before it was made into a movie. Much of the same cast were in the stage show. This Spanish language musical is streaming on Netflix.

Holy Camp (La llamada) is a mix of finding God, finding love, and the songs of Whitney Houston. The main cast is four women. Two are teens who dream of being a singing duo as the story begins. They are Maria (Macarena García) and Susana (Anna Castillo). The other two are Sister Milagros (Belén Cuesta) and Mother Bernarda (Gracia Olayo).

The camp is empty except for these few because everyone else is off at the lake. It’s Mother Bernarda’s first day as head of the camp. She intends to modernize the place and believes that music is a miracle.

In the first act, the teens sneak away from camp to go to a party, do drugs, and get drunk. Things change fast, however.

Macarena García in Holy Camp

Maria receives visits from God (Richard Collins-Moore), who communicates by singing Whitney Houston songs. Maria does not seem like the kind of kid who would respond to a call from God. That’s one of the aspects of this comedy that is, well, comedic.

God is pretty funny himself. God appears on a spotlighted staircase, dressed like Liberace. At first only Maria can see him. God doesn’t respond to prayers. He listens better when you sing love songs about spreading your legs, maybe twerk a bit.

If I ever have a personal visit from God, I hope he dresses in a sequined suit and sings “I Will Always Love You.” I’m in a lot of trouble if I have to twerk, though.

Anna Castillo in Holy Camp

Susana, on the other hand, is touched by love. And it isn’t love of God that attracts her. I won’t tell you who she falls in love with except to give you the rainbow hued hint behind her.

It turns out Milagros had dreams of being a singer herself at one time in her life. Mother Bernarda once organized a musical performance for the Pope. As in any musical, people are prone to burst into song at any time. Sometimes the songs are wildly inappropriate for conversations with Catholic deities.

By the end of the film most of the characters have figured out where they want to go in life and how they want to love. I found the story full of unexplained holes and often nonsense. But by the end when everything came together I was happy that I watched it.

Holy Camp (La llamada) was written and directed by Javier Ambrossi and Javier Calvo. My thanks to a comment from Lady Bismuth telling me that this movie exists.

Holy Camp poster

Look at the trailer to see if you think this film is one you’ll enjoy.

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