As we draw closer to the end of the year, and we at the Midnight FrightCast are putting together our lists of the best horror films of 2018, I found myself researching what others reviewers were including on their own. I was surprised to find that there were a few that I had not at least heard of and “Summer of 84” was hitting far too many lists to be an anomaly, so I thought I would check it out before the end of the year.
The story is quite simple: A teenage conspiracy theorist engages the help of his friends after suspecting that his neighbor is a serial killer. Things get dangerous as they move in closer to finding the truth.
This Canadian horror/mystery film hit the festival circuit and was quite the fan favorite despite mixed reviews from the Sundance critics. It won Best Screenplay at Cinepocalypse and had a limited theatrical release.
I really wanted to love this movie, but ended up just liking it. Unfortunately, I found it predictable and neither humorous nor scary. Even the dark finale did not have the power to lift up the rest of the film.
Jumping on the bandwagon of the throwback trend, this film, to me, was a mashup of “Stranger Things,” “Stand By Me,” “8mm,” and “Disturbia.” And while they tried to capture the essence of the 80s, they just missed. It felt more like an exercise in running down a vague list of 80’s tropes and never quite achieved the vibe.
While the acting was fair, I felt that the cast was held back by the script itself. The cinematography also had its issues as I felt I was watching something made for TV as opposed to the big screen. If they could have applied the look and feel of the third act to the rest of the film, it would have been so much more effective.
Do I recommend this movie? Sure. It is the kind of movie that starts off slow and then eventually rolls into its own that could fill a lazy afternoon.
Gore Score: 1/10 Scary Scale: 1/10 Overall: 6/10
— “Summer of 84” is streaming now on Shudder and can be rented on Amazon Prime