Title – Summer of 84 (2018)
Directors – François Simard, Anouk Whissell and Yoann-Karl Whissell (Turbo Kid)
Cast – Graham Verchere, Caleb Emery, Judah Lewis, Cory Gruter-Andrew, Rich Sommer, Tiera Skovbye
Plot – During their summer vacation of 1984, four teenage boys led by Davey Armstrong (Verchere) begin to investigate their neighbor and cop Wayne Mackey (Sommer) who they believe could be the serial killer that is terrorizing their local community.
“Nothing will ever be the same again”
Review by Eddie on 04/03/2019
Marking their first feature film venture since the underground success of Turbo Kid in 2015, directing trio François Simard, Anouk Whissell and Yoann-Karl Whissell return to the 80’s vibe of their apocalyptic journey with throwback horror Summer of 84, that has seemingly taken inspiration from dark Spielberg tales of old and modern day phenomenon Stranger Things to craft a low-budget effort that has dull generic moments formed around some moments of genuine brilliance.
Not as instantly unique or memorable as Turbo Kid, Summer sees the trio go to darker places than they did in their breakout cult favourite with Graham Verchere’s 15 year old suburban teenager Davey Armstrong and his three friends spending their summer vacation investigating the possibility of their neighborhood resident and local policeman Wayne Mackey (played creepily by Rich Sommer) being the serial killer that has been murdering young boys in the local area.
It’s all very 80’s in set-up and in tone as the films solid synth score takes centre-stage and Davey and his posse featuring Judah Lewis’s tough guy Eats, Caleb Emery’s chubby and lovable Woody and Cory Gruter-Andrew’s nerdy Curtis begin their sometimes amateurish and sometimes brilliant investigation of Mackey, while talking about the opposite sex, spying on the older and attractive girl next door Nikki and hanging out at the local bowling alley.
The problem with Summer is that around its intriguing set-up and seriously brilliant finale (that will no doubt shock and surprise unsuspecting audiences) this 80’s throwback features a lot of filler that doesn’t fully gel, this includes some mediocre banter between the four friends and an almost entirely unnecessary sub-plot between Davey and Tiera Skovbye’s Nikki that ends up adding nothing to the films central plot line or procedures moving forward.
These type of teenage adventures that dabble in horror and intrigue work best when the quiet moments work just as well as the chills, spills and thrills but that’s where Summer falls down, unable to make the most of its more character driven moments or make the most of its side players who always feel slightly underdone and underused.
Final Say –
A seemingly generic offering that ends up becoming something much more in its full-on final act, Summer of 84 may not have the DIY magic of Turbo Kid but it still has enough in it to ensure we eagerly await the next move of this exciting directing trio.
3 camcorders out of 5