Tiera Skovbye

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Summer of 84

Summer of 84

My initial feelings about Summer of 84 was this is Stranger Things the movie. It wasn’t until the last 15 minutes that my opinion changed.

***This review will contain spoilers***

The film relies heavily on the nostalgia factor. The first shot is of 80s sneakers on the metal shin breaking pedals of a BMX bike. We get to reminisce about the fashions, the GI Joe walkie talkies, paper routes and simpler times. It’s almost a formulaic coming of age film that was heavily influenced by Stand by Me and The Losers Club (It). The characters are textbook, you have the geeky kid Curtis (Cory Guter-Andrew), the bad kid with a rough home life Tommy (Judah Lewis), the fat kid Woody (Caleb Emery), the smart kid Davey (Graham Verchere) and the girl next door Nikki (Tiera Skovbye from Riverdale). They each fit perfectly into a template.

The four outcast boys and the girl next door embark on a summer adventure together. A serial killer is on the loose in their town and they begin to put the clues together. Davey becomes convinced the killer is his neighbor a police officer named Wayne Mackey (Rich Sommer). They begin following Mackey around, break into his shed and dig up his garden. They discover a bloody shirt that they believe belonged to one of the missing kids. They go to Davey’s parents with the evidence and his parents are  outraged and make the boys apologize to Mackey. Davey still believes Mackey is the killer and convinces the others to help him break into a locked room in Makeys basement and record evidence. Here they discover the body of one of the missing kids and save a boy who was being held captive. As they’re leaving, they notice all the pictures on the wall are of his victims and there is a picture of Davey’s family implying he was going to be the next victim. They go to the police and a manhunt is issued to find Mackey. Woody spends the night at Davey’s and Mackey shows up in the middle of the night to kidnap them. A couple of major holes in the story at this point, I feel are why the hell no police detail was put outside Davey’s home and why the fuck no one noticed all the victim’s pictures hanging in his house. What kind of experienced serial killer especially a cop keeps his trophies in plain sight?!

From the time they break into the basement the movies tone completely changes, it goes from being a fluffy adventure to Gacy’s basement. The movie flips a switch and it gets fucking dark. Up until this point I didn’t realize how invested in the characters I was. When Mackey kidnaps the boys, he takes them to the woods and hunts them. They discover a huge pile of bodies in various stages of decay and Woody says how he can’t die he has to take care of his mom. Davey heroically tells him to run for the car while he distracts Mackey. Mackey catches poor Woody and slits his throat. It’s graphic and it sits with you like watching your childhood friend die. I wasn’t prepared for it because up until 4 minutes ago I was watching a completely different movie. While I was still wrapping my head around Woody’s death, Mackey captures Davey and rather than killing him he tells him he wants him to think about him. He’s going to kill him one day, but until that day comes, he’ll always have to be looking over his shoulder waiting. The ending is Davey riding his bike through town, where we see Nikki leaving forever and Tommy and Curtis no longer appear to be his friend possibly resenting him for the death of Woody. He says “every serial killer is someone’s neighbor” roll credits and we’re left to digest what the hell just happened.

Overall, I’d say it’s a good movie. It’s not original in its characters or plot, but the tone was something fresh. I was lulled into a false sense of security before being smashed in the emotions.


Posted by Candace Stone in Categories, MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, SLASHERS AND BAD HUMANS, 0 comments