by Martin Unsworth
The problem you get when you’re so enamoured with slasher films is that when you’re debut feature is a homage to the golden days of the subgenre, and it’s difficult to add something new.
After a horrific incident in the eighties-set prologue (complete with creepy campfire story and pranks), Final Summer time leaps to 1991, where a tragic accident is the final nail in Camp Silverlake’s future. Its history of accidents and such has weighed heavy on the family-run getaway, so developers will soon be moving in. For the final weekend, the camp counsellor must pack up and sort out as much stuff as possible. Unfortunately, there’s a masked, axe-wielding psycho hell-bent on dispatching the teens.
Writer/director John Isberg shows a flair for setting up the action and delivering shocks and certainly has a love of the genre – there are meta references to Jason and a nice visual homage to genre legend Tom Atkins, for example – but it’s a subject that has been beaten to death so many times, it’s hard to think anything fresh can be done. No matter how well-directed the film is, the script lacks some depth. We’re kind of on board with counsellor Lexi (Jenna Kohn) dealing with the guilt of the accident that led to a child’s death, but the rest of the cast just feels like disposable fodder. At least it didn’t go full-on Scream to bring in ‘horror movie rules’.
Final Summer isn’t a bad film – if you’ve never seen Friday the 13th or The Burning, you’ll likely love it – it just doesn’t bring anything new to the table. We’d be interested to see what Isberg does next, though.
FINAL SUMMER is out to rent/buy digitally now.