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Film / Boot Camp

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Boot Camp (also released in the UK as Punishment) is a 2008 psychological thriller film written by Agatha Dominik and John Cox and directed by Christian Duguay. The film stars Mila Kunis, Gregory Smith and Peter Stormare.

When provocatively impish drug addict Sophie is forcibly shipped off by her passive mother and brutally domineering stepfather to dodgy, messianic and platitude-spouting Dr. Arthur Hail's completely isolated Fiji island boot camp for wayward teens (a.k.a. Camp Serenity), her perfectly respectable boyfriend Ben refuses to stand passively by. He fakes a drug problem to get himself enrolled in Dr. Hail's Advanced Serenity Achievement Program, where he plans to find and escape with Sophie. Meanwhile both teens witness and endure the physically harsh and psychologically brutal conditions fostered by the doctor and enforced by Logan, his militaristic and imposing chief of security - where all "enrollees" have "less rights than prisoners on death row."


  • Axes at School: Danny is sent to Camp Serenity for planning a school shooting, although he claims this was just a persona he created to freak out his parents.
  • Dangerous Deserter: Logan, the sadistic head of security at Camp Serenity, is a military deserter. His employer Dr. Hail keeps him in line by threatening to tell the U.S. Army his current whereabouts.
  • Deadly Environment Prison: Dr. Hail tells the new arrivals at Camp Serenity that it is not a prison because there are no bars. However, as they are on an island, there is no way off for them except to swim, and as they are in the middle of the South Pacific, there is nowhere for them to swim to.
  • Denied Food as Punishment: After Ben and Sophie escape, Dr. Hail punishes all of the inmates by denying them breakfast for 3 months.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Despite how horrible he is, Dr Hail firmly believes that his rules apply the same way to everyone. When Logan ends up getting one of the boys killed, he subjects him to the same "confession" treatment the other kids were receiving.
  • False Rape Accusation: Possibly. Sophie accused her stepfather of sexually molesting her, but later recants on the island, saying she made it up to get him in trouble. The circumstances make it almost impossible to determine which account is true.
  • Feet-First Introduction: Dr. Hall is introduced by a lengthy shot of his sandal-clad feet and walking stick slowly approaching the newly arrived teens.
  • Get into Jail Free: After Sophie is shipped off to Camp Serenity, her boyfriend Ben refuses to stand passively by and fakes a drug problem to get himself enrolled in Dr. Hail's Advanced Serenity Achievement Program, where he plans to find and escape with Sophie.
  • Great Escape: Ben plans one to allow him and Sophie to escape from Camp Serenity. It actually runs according to plan, and they escape, but he failed to take into account the limited number of places they could go once off the island and they are quickly recaptured.
  • Groin Attack: After a particularly vicious tackle in a beach football game, Ben extracts some payback on one of his tormentors by kicking him in the groin.
  • It Works Better with Bullets: When Dr. Hail suffers his Villainous Breakdown during the Prison Riot, he draws a gun and attempts to shoot Sophie, Ben and Jack, only to discover that his wife has unloaded the gun.
  • Phony Degree: According to Ben—who researched Hail and Camp Serenity before coming to the island—Dr. Hail isn't even a real doctor, but bought his doctorate on the internet.
  • Playing Drunk: Ben fakes being addicted to heroin as part of a Get into Jail Free gambit to get his parents to send him to Camp Serenity. He has actually been injecting himself with saline solution.
  • Prison Riot: After Danny is killed, and Logan is revealed as a rapist, the teens riot and start burning down the buildings of Camp Serenity.
  • Punishment Box: After being recaptured after their escape, Sophie and Ben are imprisoned in concrete oubliettes where they are subject to the tormenting of the guards and other teens.
  • Sexual Extortion: Logan extorts sexual favors from the girl inmates by promising them promotion to 'yellow shirt' status'. However, he is not above raping those who refuse his offer.
  • Shower of Angst: Sophie finds Trina in the shower after she has been raped by Logan. Trina screams at her to Get Out!.
  • Shower of Love: After escaping from Camp Serenity and making it to the luxury hotel Ben had pre-booked as part of his Great Escape plan, Sophie and Ben share a romantic shower.
  • Spiteful Spit: Jack spits contemptuously at Dr. Hail when he first arrives on the island, and is immediately knocked down by Logan.
  • Very Loosely Based on a True Story: The movie is an amalgamation and fictionalization of stories from various "Tough Love" camps, without being a dramatization of any one of them.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Dr. Hail suffers one during the Prison Riot and attempts to shoot Sophie, Ben and Jack.
  • Wardens Are Evil: Dr. Hail is a zealot whose belief in his system blinds him to the harm he is doing to the teens. Logan, the head of security at Camp Serenity, is a Dangerous Deserter who uses Sexual Extortion on the girls and, if that doesn't work, resorts to rape.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Dr. Hail honestly believes his program is a way to help troubled teens and their families. His zealotry blinds him to the fact that his program is essentially a prison camp where teens are brainwashed, and sometimes even killed.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Boot Camp is about one of the very real "Tough Love" camps that parents send their misbehaving kids to for rehabilitation. Over the course of the movie, the teens get abused and brainwashed, one boy drowns, a girl gets raped and three kids almost get shot. A message during the credits mentions that the real camps have seen about 40 kids dead and an unclear number abused and/or traumatized.