Summer of 84 (2018) Review

So I just finished watching Summer of 84 (2018) by François Simard, Anouk Whissell, and Yoann-Karl Whissell. Also collectively known as RKSS (Road-Kill Superstar). They are a group of french Canadian Directors, and this is their second feature length film. They are returning directors here as they also did the film Turbo Kid (2015) which I reviewed on here a few months ago. This is a mystery horror/thriller film about a group of teens try to find a serial killer, after Davey (Graham Verchere) believes it’s their neighbour Wayne (Rich Sommer). Let’s start with the story and plot. 

The film tells a good story about a teenager with an over active imagination, which might not be as over active as everyone thinks it is. The film uses the tropes of this kind of film to tell a story that ends in a different way than you think it would. It also uses its time period and the nostalgia related to that time period well in the building of the story. There are twists and turns the go places you wouldn’t expect, especially when it comes to the finale of the film. I was not expecting the way the film ended. Which is a good thing and adds to the film. 

The film is paced pretty well, a little slower to help build the tension with the little clues and alibis placed throughout the film. 

The characters and arcs work well throughout the film, as well as the performances. Davey the the leader of the group, he’s also interested in conspiracies which leads him on this path of obsession of finding the killer. His arc throughout the film is one that again has a surprise ending. Graham’s performance as Davey is pretty well done. He captures that energy very well. Everyone in the film did pretty well, and they had some talent behind this film. The friend group is pretty good, one that you would expect in a film like this, we have the leader in Davey, the bad boy in Tommy, the nerdy one in Curtis, and the bigger one in Woody. Everyone did great in their roles with some little moments between them, but Woody gets the spotlight out of other friends in the group, he gets to do more and is involved with the finale. We see more about him and his life at home over the other two. Another great performance is for the character Wayne. He has this kind almost sincere and almost fake feeling wholesome vibe to him, but he’s also got some creepy moments. He’s got these little tics in the character where you’re kind of sure but also not sure if Davey is right about him. 

The production design in the film is very well done, giving little clues to the characters’ personalities, as well as sells the time period pretty well. It uses little clues throughout the film about whether Wayne is the killer or not. it also isn’t over the top, like the rooms look like a room a teen could have, and even the treehouse looks like it could be real too. I also liked the Turbo Kid easter egg.

The editing of the film is very well done and helps keep the pace of the film. 

The music of the film is another great score by the music group  Le Matos, who also did the score for turbo kid. It’s a more reserved score than Turbo kid was, but it’s still pretty good.

The cinematography of the film is also well done, everything is framed great and is clear to see. 

Getting to my issues on the film. I think that the film uses it’s nostalgia too much, like I feel like I wasn’t as hooked into it as i was for turbo kid. I’m not entirely sure why though, like I was kind of into it until the ending, which I thoroughly enjoyed. My only issue with the ending though was that I kind of wish that Curtis and Tommy were involved in someway, especially with the aftermath. I would have liked to have seen the friends react to what happened. I think we could have used a bit more of a wrap up of it before it ended. Another issue I had with the film is that it kind of feels like the film was bigger, but more tame then Turbo Kid. It kind of feels like they were restricted in some way

Over-all this was a good film. I liked how it used the tropes of 80s nostalgia films to tell a boy cries wolf story that truly results in some things for Davey going forward. I would say more but I don’t want to get into spoilers. One this is that i’ve seen a few comparisons with Stranger Things, and I can kind of see the comparison but to me it doesn’t capture that magic or the interest that Stranger Things did. Over-all I give this film a thumbs up, watch it if you haven’t seen it yet, especially if you have shudder or amazon prime video.

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