Summer of 84 (2018)

After suspecting that their police officer neighbor is a serial killer, a group of teenage friends spend their summer spying on him and gathering evidence, but as they get closer to discovering the truth, things get dangerous

REVIEW: Summer of 84 is the new blast of 80s nostalgia from the creators of Turbo Kid, one of the best movies of 2015 and equally filled with 1980s nostalgia, although done in a much different way. This time around it's a much more grounded thriller, about a group of teen friends in 1984 that think their cop neighbor is responsible for a string of teen murders in town, so they secretly investigate him, in ways that only teens from the 1980s can, to get to the bottom of the mystery.

This movie is filled with that exact same Stranger Things/1980s type throwback tone, complete with a synth score. I know a lot of people are taking issue with this movie using so much nostalgia, but that's kind of the entire point of this movie, just like it was with Turbo Kid. At this point, with all the movies and TV shows that have gone that route, you already know if you enjoy that kind of stuff or not, and if you don't than I'm not sure why you'd watch this movie anyway since they haven't exactly been secret about going that route.

As far as the horror aspect goes, there's nothing here that's outright scary, but there are some pretty good moments of genuine tension that worked for me, and the last 20 minutes or so get so intense that it makes up for any bit of slow burn the rest of the movie goes through to get to that point.

I do have a few complaints though. Nothing that ruins the movie for me, but definitely knocks a few points off. Other than the main teen character, the rest of the teen friends don't get very much characterization at all other than their basic personalities, and I would have preferred if they had been just as fleshed out as the main character to help make us care about them more, but as it stands you really don't get the chance to feel very invested in them. In addition, as mentioned above, a large portion of the movie is quite the slow burn, and that's fine and all since it does lead to a great intense climax by the end, but I would have liked just a little something...more... during the first hour or so other than just the exact same types of investigative scenes replayed over and over again.

While Summer of 84 is nowhere near as good or impactful as Turbo Kid was, and it definitely has its share of issues, I still enjoyed it quite a bit and it's a commendable enough second effort from these filmmakers. I'd love to see what they tackle next, and if they're determined to continue this 1980s-nostelgia theme they've been on for these last two movies than I'd love to see them tackle a creature feature as their next project, complete with practical effects. That seems to be the next logical step for these guys.

7/10 rooms in the Psych Ward


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