Jazz, film, and improvised culture.
Dark Summer: Blood on the Ankle Bracelet
Austin must spend his summer under house arrest, but he will be confined to a seriously
broken home. Even though his absentee mother and absconded father will not be
around, he will still have company. That will be a very bad thing in Paul Solet’s
Dark Summer (trailer here), which opens
midnight-ish tonight in New York at the IFC Center.
and the internet can be a bad combination, especially in Austin’s case. When he
developed a crush on the slightly gothy, sad indie rock listening Mona Wilson,
he hacked all her online accounts, because he is a socially stunted weirdo.
Obviously, he was caught—hence the ankle bracelet and the regular drive-by
visits from his P.O., the gruff but cranky Stokes. At least his outsider pals,
Abby and Kevin, manage to smuggle him a laptop to catch a neighbor’s wifi. That
night, a suicidal skype call from Wilson unleashes a whole mess of supernatural
Summer follows relatively
close on the heels of Gerard Johnstone’s Housebound,
but it turns out the world really did need two house arrest chillers, or at
least midnight movie patrons will be nicely satisfied with them both. Housebound’s wickedly macabre sense of
humor probably means it is more fun, but Summer
establishes its own horror movie identity to a pleasantly surprising extent.
Mike Le’s screenplay has some clever twists and turns, but it is really going
somewhere specific, rather than just stringing together a series of
Summer also represents a
major step up for Solet after the middling Grace.
He picks up the pace this time around, but not at the expense of setting the
scene and building the atmosphere. Wisely, Solet also refrains from showing too
much in the early scenes, letting the uncertainty of Austin’s situation
reinforce the claustrophobic vibe.
Peter Stormare got the horror movie memo, because he hams it up just enough as
Stokes. Whenever he pops-in, you know he will deliver some genre goodness. In
contrast, Keir Gilchrist exudes anti-charisma, but it is appropriate for
Austin. Oddly, he and Stella Maeve (pretty solid as Abby) look like they might
be brother and sister. While their resemblance is not as (unfortunately) striking
as Leonardo DiCaprio and Carey Mulligan in The Great Gatsby, the added layer of creepiness sort of works in context for Summer.
Yes, Austin is in for a darned dark summer, but
that still probably sounds okay to New Yorkers invigorated by yesterday’s single
digit temperatures. Regardless, horror genre fans should be impressed how Solet
invigorates the conventions of Grudge-style
horror. Indeed, it is way better than you would expect from the hum-drum
one-sheet. Recommended pretty highly for anyone looking for a moody
supernatural outing, Dark Summer opens
late tonight (1/9) at the IFC Center.
Labels: Horror Movies, Peter Stormare