Summerland (2020) Movie Review

Director: Jessica Swale

Writer: Jessica Swale (Screenplay)

Starring: Gemma Arterton, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Penelope Wilton, Tom Courtenay, Lucas Bond, Dixie Egerickx

Plot: During World War II, an Englishwoman (Gemma Arterton) opens her heart to an evacuee after initially resolving to be rid of him in this moving journey of womanhood, love and friendship.

Tagline – Love. Magic. Hope.

Runtime: 1 Hour 39 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: Summerland starts when a bitter at the world author Alice (Arterton) learns she is meant to be taking in an evacuee Frank (Bond) during World War II, something she isn’t prepared for, or willing to do, reluctantly accepting a week until they can find him a new home.

When Alice gets to know Frank, she starts looking back on her past love Vera (Mbatha-Raw) which changes her mind, as she looks to help someone in need, while the rest of the village always frowns on Alice, Frank starts to see the good in her.

Thoughts on Summerland

Characters – Alice is the village spinster, well that is how the village sees the reclusive author, she has suffered her own heartbreak and when an evacuee turns up on her doorstep, she isn’t willing to help, until she starts to get to know the boy, she puts aside the differences that the village has against her to try and teach the boy about life. Frank is the evacuee that Alice takes in, he is from the middle of London and like most, he is scared of what is happening to himself and his parents, he starts to open up over time, learning that life might be filled with heartache, showing the highs and lows a child might go through. Vera is the ex-lover of Alice, she is the reason Alice is considered an outsider, with their relationship being looked down on, she did leave her, but is stuck in Alice’s memories everyday. We do meet the other locals, with Mr Sullivan the headmaster, Edie the school friend that Frank makes.

PerformancesGemma Arterton in the leading role is fantastic showing a serious side we don’t always get from her roles, with Gugu Mbathe-Raw being an excellent supporting cast member. Lucas Bond gives us a great child star performance too to complete the main cast.

StoryThe story here follows a reclusive author that gets sent an evacuee during World War II, one she doesn’t want and slowly over time starts to welcome into her home, all while being filled with the memories of what could have been, with he village believe she could be a problem in the war effort. The story here does show us just how difficult the wartime was on people who were either taking in evacuees or being the evacuee taken away from their family. It shows that people will always shave their own struggles, people were still being frowned upon because of what people would expect. The story is filled with plenty of heart and heartbreak that will completely make you understand the struggles the characters are going through.

Romance/WarThe romance side of the film does show us something that could once have been, while the war side of the film, looks at the people would be left behind, needing to spend more time hoping they could be reunited once the war is over.

SettingsThe film uses the beauty of the Kent countryside to help us see the escape Frank could have from the horrors of the war in the big city.

Scene of the Movie – Chase to London

That Moment That Annoyed Me – How the village reacts to Alice.

Final Thoughts Summerland is a beautifully shot movie that will bring to life the struggles of war for the helpless, the children who were left with strangers who had to give them hope of a future, a film where Gemma Arterton shines in.



ABC Film Challenge – Horror – C – Cyrus: Mind of a Serial Killer (2010)

Director: Mark Vadik

Writer: Mark Vadik (Screenplay)

Starring: Brian Krause, Lance Henriksen, Danielle Harris, Tiffany Shepis, Doug Jones, Kim Rhodes, Shawna Waldron, Patricia Belcher


Plot: An independent TV reporter and her cameraman interview a man in regards to a serial killer the man knew by the name of Cyrus. The man traces back through the story of the serial killer and why he became the monster he is.


Runtime: 1 Hour 27 Minutes


There may be spoilers in the rest of the review


Verdict: Unique Way to Tell a Serial Killer Story


Story: Cyrus: Mind of a Serial Killer starts when a reporter Maria (Harris) is looking to uncover the mysterious series of disappearances of college students reaching the 100’s, she gets a report that local Emmett (Henriksen) knows the killer and just how many he has committed through the years.

Maria looks to secure an interview with Emmett who tells him about Cyrus (Krause) claiming he is the serial killer and just what was his motivation for becoming the deadliest killer in American history.


Thoughts on Cyrus: Mind of a Serial Killer


Characters – Cyrus is the war veteran that started killing people after his wife cheated on him, which led him to kill her, her lover and their child, he continued to punish people he believes have done wrong, using his own unique well of getting rid of the bodies, we learn his stories from Emmett, who claims to know him personally, Emmett doesn’t want the town’s name put in the story, though he is willing to tell for the crimes he did commit. Maria is the reporter that is trying to get the story, she is willing to push the boundaries of what she can get out of Emmett, even if she is willing to break the promises. We do get to see plenty of victims of Cyrus, most get tortured before they get killed, this brings lots of screaming.

PerformancesBrian Krause as the oldest version of Cyrus that shows us just how deadly the he has made this character, that would be somebody you could fear. Lance Henriksen is the narrator for the most part, his voice keeps the story flowing while his live scenes show us how a local wouldn’t want the story to come out. Danielle Harris brings us a reporter figure that shows us just how far they would go for a story.

StoryThe story here follows a reporter trying to learn about a serial killer from a local that claims to be a friend of the killer, knowing the truth behind his kills and just the number of kills he has committed. The way this story is told is very good because it is told like a story being set up for a newspaper article exposing a serial killer, we get the details of the kills, the motivation behind them all and the reason they stopped. This all adds up nicely because the film is sold on it being based on a true story. while you could easily pick apart the timeline in the film and with the pure number of kills that we are meant to have occurred, something just doesn’t click only following the select few. This does story does end up following capture, torture, go to the next level without being anything we haven’t seen before, leaving it only being praised for the style of storytelling.

Crime/HorrorThe crime side of the film follows the story of the serial killer which does show us the horror of his crimes through the years, we get plenty of horrific wounds and kills through the film too, with plenty of blood.

SettingsThe film does keep everything inside the small town, showing how a killer could be operating under your nose without you noticing anything going on around you, the house itself is away from the rest of the town, meaning the killer can get away with screaming going on around him.

Special EffectsThe effects are used to show the brutal nature of the killings and just how they are made to look that way with the makeup effects.

Scene of the Movie –
The set-up for the interview, it felt like a fresh spin on the serial killer side of horror.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Once we get into the routine, the kills can be repetitive.

Final ThoughtsThis is a strong idea for the style of creating a serial killer film, even if it does just end up uses the unique style to be a generic serial killer film.


Overall: Interview about a serial killer.