By Eric Trigg.
More 80’s Nostalgia
Summer of 84 premiered at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival earlier in the year before going straight to VOD during the summer. This film was directed by three different people and I guess that explains why certain scenes feel different than the last. Directed by Francois Simard, Anouk Whissell, and Yoann Karl Whissell. This film is another trip down memory lane for those that grew up in the 80’s and this film feels like a solid blend between The Goonies, Stand by Me, and the hit series Stranger Things.
Taking place in Cape May, Oregon we follow a group of friends who believe their next-door neighbour is a serial killer. Starring Graham Verchere, Judah Lewis, Caleb Emery, Cory Andrew, Tiera Skovbye, and Rich Sommer. Ever since Stranger Things became a hit several films have come out with 80’s nostalgia being the main inspiration. While this film is not very original it does tell an effective story about a boy who becomes convinced that his neighbour is not who he seems. Sound Familiar? If you have seen 2007’s Disturbia starring Shia LaBeouf, then this film might cross some familiar territory during the viewing experience.
Summer of 84 is just another retro thriller that relies too much on nostalgia but still manages to keep the audience invested. This film is very slow paced so if you are not of fan of slow burn hits like 2015’s The Witch then this may not be the film for you to watch late at night before bed. Davey (Graham Verche) lives next door to Wayne Mackey (Rich Sommer) a well-respected officer in the town of Cape May. Davey becomes convinced that Mackey is responsible for the murders of several people that have been occurring in the area. Davey then convinces his friends Tommy (Judah Lewis), Dale (Caleb Emery), and Curtis (Cory Andrews) that his theories are true, so they spend the summer trying to expose Mackey.
Summer of 84 has a score that moods the viewer back in the 80’s and it illustrates a small group of friends that are portrayed in a likeable way, so the viewer will want to see them succeed. Sadly, one can’t help but wonder how this film would have been received if it hadn’t come out post Stranger Things. Ever since audiences fell in love with the adolescents from Stranger Things films with similar concepts have been forced on audiences for the past two years. This is by no means a bad film, but it does feel like another desperate attempt to ride the wave of a hit Netflix series.
The group of friends all have their own unique styles consisting of geeks, moody punks, and nerds. Summer of 84 does a fine job of depicting a believable bond between the group and balances it all out with an added love interest for Davey. The on-screen chemistry between the two love birds Davey and Nikki (Tiera Skoybe) feels very genuine and natural. Every second they are together it is very charming, and realistic. The cinematography is solid, the performances are strong, and the atmosphere in the film is very nostalgic.
Certain logic gaps such as our group of characters being allowed to play manhunt at night with a serial killer loose hinder the narrative in the film but Summer of 84 can still be an enjoyable trip down memory lane.
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