Review: Dark Summer, 2015, dir. Paul Solet

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“A film that uses DJ Caruso’s career as a reference point is a film that starts out in dire straits indeed. Hence Paul Solet’s Dark Summer, a horror riff onDisturbia, which is itself a riff on Rear Window. Like Caruso, Solet is using Hitchcock’s work as his blueprint without acknowledging the connection; it’s a small consolation, then, that he inserts an unveiled nod to Disturbia in his film’s opening minutes. Dark Summer’s honesty is admirable for a few moments before it becomes frustrating; besides that, candor is a poor replacement for craft and competency. This is a coy way of saying thatDark Summer is a disaster, no matter where it draws its influences from. 2014 wasn’t an especially great year for horror, and as one of 2015’s openers (following the limp The Woman in Black 2: Angel of Death and the subdued REC 4: Apocalypse), Dark Summerdoesn’t spell good things for the genre’s future; just a lot of overwrought cutting suffused with tepid performances, built on a foundation of social consciousness and indifference. The kindest observation to make about Dark Summer is that it isn’t empty, but for all that’s on its mind, the film doesn’t bother having much of a perspective, either.” (Via Movie Mezzanine.)

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