Fresh Cuts: Summer of 84 (2018) (Canada/USA)

The creative team behind the wonderful Turbo Kid have hit the hungry public with a far more restrained affair. Tension replaces slapstick and they prove they’re just as apt at handling grounded dread as cartoonish insanity.

Grounded dread

Lazy summer days get a mighty fine level of excitement when a young conspiracy minded teen comes to believe his police officer neighbor is a serial killer who has been offing teenage boys for the last few years. He convinces his three buddies to help him gather evidence and bring down the psychopath. On top of that, he has his hormones running in overdrive when it comes to his super cute neighbor Nikki. That’s a hell of a full plate for a 15 year old kid.

I’d fall in love too

The film beautifully captures the excitement contained within those final days of being a kid and everyone in the close knit group has the true horrors of adulthood slowly sinking into realization. With that impending responsibility in the background it is easy to see why the friends go along with the far fetched theory. The gang is believable and likable and, more importantly, come off as an actual group of people who grew up together and came to trust each other. Rich Sommer brings the perfect level of nonchalant creepy to the role of the suspicious neighbor, perfectly pulling off the balancing act of “maybe he is/maybe he isn’t”.

Da Crew 84

The suburban setting will have your mind slipping back to the 80s flicks the film respects and the electronic score is well suited. Cruel Summer by Bananarama (one of the greatest songs to ever grace the planet earth) is thrown in for good measure. Most of the runtime is spent in familiar territory but it’s done so well and the cast is so likable you’ll be smiling with nostalgia instead of dozing with boredom. The climax is a hell of a beast which hits fast and hard and only works to justify the opening acts. A treat for the lovers of eighties cinema and hopefully a starting point for fans new to the genre. 8/10


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