Four teenage friends spend their summer trying to
prove that their police officer neighbor is a serial killer.
Summer of 84 (2018)
Directed by François Simard, Anouk Whissell, Yoann-Karl Whissell
Written by Matt Leslie and Stephen J. Smith
Starring Graham Verchere, Caleb Emery, Judah Lewis,
Cory Gruter-Andrew, Tiera Skovbye, Rich Sommer,
Jason Gray-Stanford, Shauna Johanessen
If you've ever wondered what a crossover between Rear Window and The Goonies would be like, look no further than Summer of 84. What it lacks in originality, it makes up for in nostalgic fervor. In many ways, it's the ultimate summer adventure. Four friends trying to prove that their nice guy, policeman neighbor is a vicious killer targeting teenage boys. It's like a game we would make up when we were their age, and it's in that respect that this film stands out. While I did enjoy the film for what it was, it felt more like a millennial reboot of The 'Burbs than anything else.
Davey (Graham Verchere) is a conspiracy-obsessed teen who becomes convinced his neighbor Mr. Mackey (Rich Sommer) is the Cape May Killer. To prove this, he convinces his friends to help him find evidence proving Mackey's guilt. At the same time, hormones are running wild and Davey starts getting close with his crush, Nikki (Tiera Skovbye), a plot line that I think should've been explored further to help round the film out as more of an "adolescent growing out of childhood" story. I don't know if this would've meshed well with the main serial killer narrative, but I digress. The kids' performances are all entertaining and believable.
The star of the film is the third act, in which all is revealed and s**t goes nuclear. I won't spoil anything here, but suffice it to say, the lid gets blown off in a highly original way that not a lot of films in this subgenre have the balls to pull off. While the majority of the film is more of a drama, the ending jerks the wheel into full-blown horror and leaves the audience wondering just who exactly is living among them in the suburbs. Like the film says, people rarely show you who they really are.