Fantasia 2018: Summer of ’84 [Review]

Summer of '84

Stranger Things and It perfectly showcase the whole nostalgic 80s vibe the whole world has been loving lately. And now we have Summer of ’84, directed by the French-Canadian filmmaking trio RKSS (Francois Simard, Anouk Whissell, and Yoann-Karl Whissell) mainly known for Turbo Kid. However, if you’re wondering if it’s as good as the other favourite 80s-vibe movies, it’s not.

Summer of ’84 revolves around a teenage boy named Davey Armstrong (Graham Verchere) who suspects that his next door neighbor Wayne Mackey (Rich Sommer) is a serial killer named the Cape May Slayer. He then convinces his friends Eats (Judah Lewis), Woody (Caleb Emery), and Farraday (Cory Gruter-Andrew) to go on a journey with him to expose Mackey. Sounds simple? Absolutely. Interesting? At times…

The lead actors are functional in their roles, but it’s nothing new. Graham Verchere does the best he can, and you can tell he’s really trying to bring some fun elements to his character. In fact, Davey’s friends are very underdeveloped. Also, the romance between Davey and his former babysitter Nikki (Tiera Skovbye) is completely unnecessary. Sometimes, these guys don’t have great chemistry with each other, and it feels forced. There are times you don’t have the impression that they’re actually friends on screen. You’ve seen these types of characters in other films before, which makes them pretty clichéd and predictable.

Summer of '84

Summer of ’84

The main problem with Summer of ’84 is that it’s quite long for a straightforward premise. With a cool yet simple plot, why does it have to be so boring? The pacing is way too slow, and you just won’t care by the end of the movie. It starts off really strong by introducing to the audience the main characters and the overall nostalgic 80s feel of the film.  Also, the filmmakers do a good job setting up a creepy vibe in some scenes involving these teenagers trying to investigate their neighbour. However, some of them feel like they don’t add anything to the plot. Which is a shame, because there’s potential to expand their world, instead of just making the pacing so sluggish. Slow-paced movies are fine, but Summer of ’84 doesn’t properly utilize its runtime to make some scenes relevant to the rest of the story. The most frustrating aspect is that the film has like four different endings. It keeps dragging on, and the third act becomes quite unfocused and boring to sit through. When you think it’s about to be over, it’s not. What’s worse is that the ending is a desperate attempt trying to set up a sequel…

Summer of '84

Summer of ’84

Summer of ’84 could have been another fun and nostalgic reason to love the 1980s. But instead, it’s a boring film with sluggish pacing and uninspired characters. It’s wasted potential, and this could have been a really entertaining movie reminding you of other classics such as The Monster Squad and The Goonies. Unfortunately, it’s just forgettable…

Summer of ’84 screened as part of this year’s Fantasia Festival.

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About Steven Lee

Ever since he was a kid, Steven has always been passionate about movies. As a fan of Marvel, Star Wars and other geeky franchises, he will always bring you fun and nerdy articles that might pique your interest! More Posts