A lovelorn teen on house arrest is either crazy or tortured by spirits in Dark Summer.
Daniel is a lovesick teen sentenced to house arrest for cyber-stalking Mona Wilson, a female classmate. He spends the summer wearing an ankle monitor and brooding over his failure to “get to know her.” Although his motives were innocent and there was apparently no intent to cause any distress, Daniel’s crush and subsequent actions have set in motion an unfortunate chain of events leading to tragedy. Daniel then finds reason to believe someone may be stalking him.
As for background, we do not get any more than that. We do not know what sort of social media torture Mona suffered at the hands of Daniel’s keyboard. We do not get any information on what was so heinous as to warrant house arrest.
The pace is slow and the relationships between the characters is dull. Daniel is a whiney, unsympathetic character and his friends are not very interesting. His best friend, Abby is obviously in love with him but instead of pursuing anything with her, he pines for Mona. His other friend, Kevin casually tries to get him to snap out of his fixation.
Daniel’s parents are never around. A mention of an absentee dad and brief reference to the missing mom does not explain why a mentally unstable, medicated young man under house arrest has no supervision outside of the occasional visit from an officer of the court. Even for the most vivid imagination, it is tough to suspend disbelief.
The audience is taken down a path of bizarre hallucinations and more brooding as Daniel and his friends try to determine if he is crazy or haunted. By the time they discover anything meaningful, it is virtually impossible to care.
There are some good visual effects and some twists in the final act but it is not enough to save the convoluted story. Mercifully,this was a short, Dark Summer.
TRT: 81 minutes
Appropriate gore: 7
Production value: 8
Final Cut score (33) 66%