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Monday, September 3, 2018

Summer of 84 2018 * * 1/2 Stars

Summer of 84Directors: Anouk Whissell, Francois Simard, Yoann-Karl Whissell
Year: 2018
Rated NR
Rating: * * 1/2 Stars
Cast: Judah Lewis, Tiera Skovbye, Cory Gruter-Andrew

Four horny, masturbatory teenagers who swipe whiskey for a sipping delight and ride their bikes around town to Bananarama's "Cruel Summer", try to prove that an overly nice, neighboring cop is a serial killer. That's the rub of Summer of 84, a build-up vehicle that's so Hitchcockian, so forestry suburbia-like, and so slow burn, it almost replicates the master himself. On a side note, I was ten years old during the dog days of 1984. My only exciting highlight was going to see Ghostbusters with my immature buds via a pizza and Pepsi b-day. In veracity, "84" teases as true story fodder but yeah, it's cut from original cloth. I'm no film historian or adolescent conspiracy theorist but I can see why.

Image result for summer of 84 2018 movie scenesAnyway, "84" is a movie set in the mid-1980's within the state of Oregon (you'll know that right off the bat). Its sense of time and place is half-arsed but it's more about the musical soundtrack, a mixture of early John Carpenter, 1983's Risky Business, and 80's synthesizer-style cheese. Listening to Summer of 84's background noise made me want to put on my Members Only jacket, play a little Pac-Man, and grow a mullet. Also, "84's" title card sort of reminded me of Michael Jackson's heavily iconic, "Thriller" music video.

Helmed by three people (Francois Simard, Anouk Whissell, Yoann-Karl Whissell) and devoid of opportunistic, heightened suspense, Summer of 84's direction is still solid. It's full of zoom shots, mildly tight scripting, slight nostalgia, Spielberg references, and Carpenter-esque jolts. However, the flick reeks of predictability (you clearly know who the quiet murderer is early on) and features a conclusion that feels like a dangling loose end. The filmmakers fashion "84" as a foul-mouthed Super 8 with It overtones, obliged coming-of-age residue, and acting that projects as poor man's Stand by Me. I was somewhat intrigued and furled along but I'm going with a mixed rating.

Written by Jesse Burleson

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