On the surface, SUMMER OF 84 is a fun trip down memory lane. A kin to THE GOONIES or MONSTER SQUAD. Even recent films like THE BABYSITTER tap into that sense of fun amongst neighborhood kids solving a mystery. That’s on the surface, but once you dig deeper, you realize that SUMMER OF 84 is not a fun adventure but a cautionary tale on what happens when you stick your nose where it doesn’t belong.
Davey Armstrong (Graham Verchere) has a paper route, a few close friends, and a girl he secretly likes who lives across the street. He also has an overactive imagination that tends to get him into trouble. See, Davey is bored with suburban life and wants so bad for something “cool” to happen, even if it kills him. Davey’s group consists of Dale ‘Woody’ Woodworth (Caleb Emery), a large troubled kid who lives with his single mom, Tommy ‘Eats’ Eaton (Judah Lewis), the oversexed punk rocker, and Curtis Farraday (Cory Gruter-Andrew) the brains of the group. They spend their time watching T.V., playing a hide and seek style game called “Manhunt” and talking about sex while drooling over neighborhood hottie Nikki Kaszuba (Tiera Skovbye). Pretty mundane stuff until something “cool” finally happens, a serial killer begins stalking the area. Davey is all over it, wanting to solve the mystery. Though his friends think he is crazy they to get sucked into it and the adventure begins. Their suspect, a neighbor who happens to be a police officer because as Davey states “Every serial killer lives next door to some one”.
What you may expect is a fun adventure where the kids have close calls and a showdown with the villain. This does happen and of course Davey even gets his crush involved, but if you are expecting a Goonies or Monster Squad ending you are in for disappointment or a pleasant surprise. The film gets real and the kids face real consequences.
SUMMER OF 84 is a solid offering, much better than Turbo Kid and similar fare like Stranger Things. It takes the situation seriously and so when things turn, it is a riveting surprise that will haunt you and the ending will punch you in the gut.
Every one is solid with Caleb Emery displaying particular charm and Tiera Skovbye really representing a damaged girl honestly. On the opposite end, Rich Sommer as the killer is terrifyingly real.
I don’t want to spoil anything but this film is a solid watch which really is a horror film rather than a horror flavored fantasy. It is out now and well worth the watch!