Cinema Review: Dark Summer | Under The Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Wednesday, December 1st, 2021  

Dark Summer

Studio: IFC Midnight
Directed by Paul Solet

Feb 02, 2015 Web Exclusive
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Daniel (Keir Gilchrist) is sentenced to house arrest for hacking his crush Mona Wilson’s (Grace Phipps) personal information. Now he has to struggle with a long and lonely summer, under the watchful eye of his probation officer (Peter Stormare) joined only by his best friends, unable to leave the house or use even—and here’s the real horror—use the internet.

Of course, since Daniel is a whiz-kid hacker, he finds a way around that and ends up on a video chat with Mona, who commits suicide on camera. Now, Daniel is not only haunted by the image of a girl taking her own life, but seemingly by Mona herself. What ensues is a potentially poignant morality tale about love and technology.

Unfortunately, Dark Summer is too slow and claustrophobic. Perhaps this is intentional, giving the viewer the same stir-crazy boredom as the film’s protagonist, but it is largely ineffectual. When things do pick up, every detail’s illogical consistency is even more apparent, since no sense of uneasiness or confusion is ever established. There are plenty of good ideas in Dark Summer, and there should be more horror films that explore concepts like privacy, technology, and unhealthy teenage attitudes of romance. But then, the reveal in the third act (spoiler alert, obviously) removes all blame from Daniel and places it on Mona’s witchcraft. Admittedly, this is exactly the point, but it stamps out every last interesting bit of this story and turns it into another paint-by-numbers supernatural thriller. Only worse, since perpetuating the idea of a young woman inviting her own harassment is far more disturbing than any ghosts Dark Summer manages to conjure up.

Author rating: 3/10

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Walmart Stamps
June 21st 2017

The make up is amazing look at her eyes

Abid Khan
July 25th 2017

The looks on Dark Summer just amazing and nothing need to say about Makeup! just awesome!

Walmart Stamps
September 19th 2017

I think it’s not a good representation of the film to give it 3 stars out of 10. I really enjoyed it, i love this genre of film and i thought the story was well thought through. I had a dream similar to this once when I was at Walmart buying stamps and the store manager had piercing eyes aslo.

September 23rd 2017

Nice article Dear and Kepp writing.
I was more than happy to uncover this great site. I need to to thank you for your time due to this fantastic read!!

walmart stamps
November 10th 2017

Yeah, I wasn’t too big a fan of the movie either.

December 30th 2018

I think this film is underrated and I completely disagree with the author. The cinematography and soundtrack created a beautiful atmosphere and the performances (particularly by the protagonist) were exceptional.

The plotline (dismissed here as “by the numbers”) actually takes an original angle that hasn’t really been explored before. The twist made the antagonist’s actions very disturbing on a psychological level (particularly the way she was always targeting the protagonist’s best friend / love interest) and gave the plot far greater depth than it would have had if it was straightforward ‘revenge porn.’ It’s also a much more realistic portrayal of witchcraft (in theory) than many similar films.

It actually forces you to challenge your preconceived - and gender-based - presumptions about the characters, which is actually very feminist. Why should women always be relegated to victimhood?

In any case, is it really fair for Mr. Shafer to give the film a poor rating because he didn’t like the ‘message’ he believes the plot sent? Should the artist’s vision be restricted by an interpretation of political correctness?

I advise everyone to give this dark and twisted love story a chance. It’s worth it.