Summer of Fear Review

Summer-of-Fear
It’s time for an old horror film that has not aged well in any shape of form. “So what are we looking at Bob?” “Well, this film has your usual horror tropes. We have an animal death, rebound characters, a villain who is more interested in seducing than murdering people, no character acting sensible…etc” “Maybe we should say these tropes are just common in bad films then?” “Sounds about right. The film does have a big car chase at the end at least” “Bold move Phil…lets see how it plays out!”

The film starts off with our introduction to Rachel. Her life is pretty complete now as she’s together with the cool kid on campus, Mike, and is even going to enter the big horse competition. She’s got it made, but then news arrives that Julia is going to be staying with her family. Julia’s parents died in a car crash, but Julia managed to live. When she arrives, Rachel’s horse tries to murder her, but is quickly stopped. Something seems off about Julia. Rachel doesn’t know if its the occult possessions that she has around like the cursed marionettes, old horse manes, teeth, etc, or if it’s the fact that everyone seems to be strangely attracted too her. Rachel doesn’t care too much, but slowly Julia starts to take everything away from her. Can Rachel out Julia as a witch or will she simply be destroyed?

The film’s definitely a real slow burner, but it’s one that never feels like you’re building up to something hype. You’ll just be wondering where it all went wrong instead. First off, a teenage girl infiltrating the house as a witch doesn’t even sound all that scary on paper. The film doesn’t go for the scare factor until the final minutes either where Julia shows off her true form. It’s more grotesque than scary, but I guess I’ll give the film some kudos for trying. Julia also has some basic magic powers at her disposal. These include telekinesis, mild super strength, and attraction abilities. She’s just not too smart about using them and instead of holding the main characters in place or something, she drives after them. Since Julia never earned her driver’s license legitimately, she wasn’t prepared for the sharp turns on the mountain. Someone should have told her about the hand brakes.

I definitely couldn’t take her seriously as a villain and what was even her goal? It sounds like she planned to murder them all anyway, but why not do it immediately and then move on? She had dozens of opportunities to pull it off. If her goal was to simply make Rachel’s life miserable and then murder everyone, it’s an unnecessarily risky plan. Rachel could have done something drastic like try to murder Julia in her sleep or people may have found out and stopped her. As it is, Rachel’s Mom started to grow weary of the situation. She didn’t handle it well either, but more on that later. Julia’s just not a very smart antagonist, or even a particularly strong one.

I didn’t like Rachel either. Noticing that Julia had a picture of her with sores and then having it happen should have been the big tip off. The horse tooth/mane as well. Instead Rachel would go about it in the worst way possible like yelling about it in front of everyone so they think she’s crazy. Then letting Mike go off with Julia to the dance wasn’t a good move either. Finally, Rachel got a picture of Julia to prove that she was a witch, but instead of convincing the Mom to develop it she starts stating her accusations. Before calling someone a witch, you should probably think all of the angles through. It’s just worth a few extra moments to think of a more surefire plan if you ask me. She could have made a deal with the Mom like saying she’d try harder to bond with Julia if she had a picture. So much for that though.

The Dad looks pretty terrible since he falls for Julia’s charms and gets mind controlled. The same goes for Mike since mind controlled or not, he went for the rebound right away. Mind Control isn’t really an excuse that I buy into. The Mom notices that the Dad starts to be unfaithful, but she does absolutely nothing about it. At the very least you’d want her to get Julia out of there or to confront her. She just cries about it and leaves town for some shopping. Not the best way to handle the situation, but it’s a good way to leave Julia unsupervised in a house of potential targets.

As I mentioned earlier, to add injury to an already broken film, a horse dies. Julia got it out of the way because it knew the truth about her. If only Rachel had acted sooner this could have been avoided, but not this time since everyone was too slow. It’s definitely a pretty annoying scene. It’s reminiscent of the whole film though as you’ll be annoyed throughout the movie. None of the characters are on the same page and as a result Julia just walks all over them. It was also awfully convenient that nobody knew how Julia was supposed to look so they didn’t know she was actually someone else. I’ll assume there was no mind wipe here so it was just a plot device.

No worries, there is a twist ending here. I can’t say that it’s very thrilling and I suppose you’ll only get a kick out of it if you’re a big Julia fan. You just know that this next family isn’t going to fare too well against Julia either. You could argue that their best chance is to be totally oblivious to her, but she’ll still murder them anyway so it’s a lose-lose situation. At least the cops took the situation in stride so maybe one of them will recall the former case and attack Julia. More likely he’ll turn over his badge to her though so you can’t count on that.

Overall, This film was definitely a flop. It never even feels like a horror film and is instead like a very poorly written drama. There’s no intensity here, just bad characters and writing. I think the only character that seemed to be okay was Rachel’s best friend from the hospital. She was reasonable and much more likable than the others. It’s probably for the best that she didn’t appear much or things may not have ended well for her. We had the occult professor who knew about Julia’s tricks, but still didn’t do anything to stop her from defeating him. His only purpose in the film is to confirm Rachel’s fears, but we didn’t need him in the film. She would have been forced to accept the situation at some point anyway. There’s just not much to like about this film and I can’t see any reason why someone would want to check it out. I’d highly recommend you avoid this film as much as possible. It’s not good as a horror film or as a romance title. It’s just a film that you want to forget as quickly as possible.

Overall 2/10

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