Sundance Review: SUMMER OF ‘84 - Just Because a Film is Packed With 80s Nostalgia Doesn't Mean it’s Good
After watching the trailer for Summer of ‘84 is shot to the top of my list of must-see films at the Sundance Film Festival. A movie about a group of friends trying to catch a serial killer in their neighborhood in the 80s sounded so appealing to me. It looked like it had a Stranger Things and Goonies vibe to it. Like what if the Goonies went to hunt down and catch a serial killer instead of going on a treasure hunt.
Well, this movie ended up being a pretty big disappointment. It just goes to show that just because a movie is packed with 80s nostalgia, it doesn't mean that it's going to be good.
I loved the initial concept of this movie! Unfortunately, that concept was poorly executed. This could have been a seriously great movie, but due to a poor script, poor character development, and lots of unnecessary plot holes, the movie didn't work for me.
The movie was packed full of 80s references, but nostalgia doesn't make a great story! They can talk about stuff from the 80s all they want, but it's meaningless without a good script or story. Most of the 80s references made throughout the course of the film felt very unnatural and forced. Stranger Things is a perfect example of doing it right, this is an example of doing it wrong.
They could've cut about 20 minutes out of the film and it would have made it better. There were certain scenes involving the teenage characters that were thrown into the film that were left unresolved. It was like they were setting up certain side stories with these scenes but they never went anywhere. There was a huge lack of resolution to a lot of things.
I also felt that the casting was off for the teen boys. The acting just felt so stiff from all of them and it was hard to get into the story because of it. It didn't help that they really didn't have the best dialogue to work with.
It’s a shame. This film, which was directed by François Simard and Anouk Whissell (Turbo Kid), had potential to be great, but it just didn’t click with me and it should have! I am a sucker for 80s nostalgia! Plus, I loved the filmmaker's last film Turbo Kid! I should have loved this movie, but I didn’t and I’m bummed out by that.
I will say that the ended of the film did surprise me and I liked the ending, but the road getting there was a rough one. Of course, watch the movie for yourself when it's released and draw your own conclusion.