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Dark Summer (2015)

Dark Summer (2015)

Writer: Mike Le
Director: Paul Solet
Tagline: Some crushes last forever



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Full Review

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Dark Summer starts with 17 year old Daniel (Keir Gilchrist) being placed under house arrest. He's tagged and will have to stay in the family home - left (rather infeasibly) alone whilst his mother is away on business. The details of his crime are unclear but it involves stalking fellow student Mona Wilson (Grace Phipps).

Soon after his incarceration begins Mona commits suicide. Then strange things start happening to Daniel. Are they real or is he imagining them? Is it - as his friends think - the combination of anti-depressant drugs, stress and guilt? Or is Daniel right in his belief that Mona's vengeful spirit is haunting him?

Dark Summer has an intense, disturbing atmosphere from the very beginning. Solat's direction keeps you on edge without going over the top, meaning that the film remains interesting even when not much is happening. Which is fortunate because for the first half of the film very little does happen. This is definitely a slow burn story and anyone looking for quick thrills is unlikely to stick with it. But when the plot does finally kick in it's solid enough with several twists.

For much of the time the film is a single handed performance by Gilchrist. It's quite an ask, but he manages it superbly, keeping his character just the right side of unlikeable. The small support cast also put in good work, especially Peter Stormare as the world weary, intimidating parole officer.

Dark Summer is essentially a fairly slight story carried by the acting and direction. One to watch if you enjoy low-key creepiness and aren't in a rush for the action to start.