François Simard, Anouk Whissell and Yoann-Karl Whissell direct Graham Verchere, Judah Lewis and Rich Sommer in this throwback thriller where the neighbourhood kids begin to suspect the nice cop across the road is a child serial killer.
Rear Window or Disturbia or The ‘Burbs for the Stranger Things generation. That’s everyone now, right? For an hour this plays out exactly as you might underestimate it to. Sommer’s too-nice-guy suspect is neatly inscrutable, the girl next door is a fantasy Betty, the messed up kids bicker at the arcade and around their BMXs convincingly. Nice evocation of The Goonies or The Monster Squad, the filmmakers fealty to that vibe shows they know their original sources and not just what Eleven and The Underneath cribbed. But the kills don’t come, and we seem to be marinating in an overused nostalgia rather than ramping up the romp. Then the mystery sharpens and things take an incredibly bleak and nasty turn. Wow! The final act plays out exactly as if a group of defenceless teens caught the attention of a killer rather than the wish fulfilment victory an Amblin Entertainment might sate us with. To shift the larks into pain and despair on a dime is a bravura move. Not exactly crowd pleasing though. Neither tone fully delivers what you want but Summer of 84 is a curiosity worth seeing how you feel about. If it had come out in 1984 it might now be a cult classic.
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We also do a podcast together called The Worst Movies We Own. It is available on Spotify or here https://letterboxd.com/bobbycarroll/list/the-worst-movies-we-own-podcast-ranking-and/