Writer: Phillip Escott, Craig Newman (Screenplay)
Starring: Danny Miller, Reece Douglas, Natalie Martins, Gary Knowles, Grace Dixon, Richard Pawulski
Plot: Young Autism sufferer Danny enjoys the serenity and solitude of camping. That’s all about to change when enraged teens Nicholas, Calvin and Julia find him, each with their own agenda for wanting to see Danny suffer.
Tagline – One Day Changes Everything
Runtime: 1 Hour 20 Minutes
There may be spoilers the rest of the review
Verdict: Disturbing Throughout
Story: Cruel Summer starts as we follow Danny (Pawulski) an autistic young man that is setting out on his own camping trip to get his Duke of Edinburgh award. On the otherwise of town, Nicolas (Miller) is dumped by his girlfriend and turns to his friend Julia (Martins) who tells him about his girlfriend slept with Danny, which drives him into a rage, recruiting Calvin (Douglas) with a story about how Danny is a paedophile, the three go out searching for him to teach him a lesson.
As Danny sets up his camp, his day and night seem to look perfect, but Nicholas is searching for him, promising to not let Danny leaving the countryside and with his friends following him it is left to see just how far Nicholas will go.
Thoughts on Cruel Summer
Characters – Danny is the autistic young man, he keeps to himself and this weekend he wants to have a solo camping trip, this gives him part of life others wouldn’t enjoy. Nicholas is the hot headed teenager that gets enraged when he believes his girlfriend slept with Danny, he is aggressive with all walks of life, stealing and wanting to hurt and kill Danny. Julia is the friend of Nicholas, she is willing to follow him on anything she does because of her obsession with him, lying to help him and not stopping him before he goes too far. Calvin is new the neighbourhood, he gets talk into going along with the Nicholas but once he learns the truth he doesn’t want anything to do with it.
Performances – Richard is solid in the leading role but you do feel he over plays the autism in places. Danny Miller is the best performer as the completely out of control teenager, with Natalie and Reece being good in the supporting roles.
Story – This is sold as being inspired on real events and sadly you believe this could happen in the world, someone going too far when it comes to not liking disabilities people have. This is a very dark story, it shows how far people can go with drink influencing their decisions while out of control in their own minds. The story does however take its time to lead up to the attack.
Horror/Thriller – What happens to Danny is horrific to say the least, how this one person could have this much hate isn’t acceptable in any world, this drives the horror side of the film.
Settings – The settings show us how the teenage generation struggle to find things to affordable do that don’t involve destruction in the rougher neighbourhoods. The countryside setting shows us just how isolated it makes things for Danny.
Special Effects – The effects are not needed, everything is an off camera where we only see the aftermath.
Final Thoughts – This is a hard hitting horror drama, it shows an horrific crime and the reason behind it being pathetic for the people involved. This isn’t going to be an easy watch though.
Overall: Disturbing horror.