Summit ★★★★

I finally had the chance to check out Christina Raia's feature film debut, Summit (full disclosure: I know Christina IRL as a filmmaker friend) and found it to be quite an entertaining flick.

What seems on the outset to be a pretty run of the mill horror/thriller winds up being a great study of character development, tension, suspense and really, each viewer's preconceived notions of those characters.

Much like "Tucker & Dale Vs. Evil", we're introduced to a cast of characters who seem at first to be falling into the set categories of horror trope - the jock, his girlfriend, the quiet subdued nerdy type, etc. etc. but quickly learn there is more to each of them then what we initially see. Through well-crafted, intimate feeling scenes between each character, their motivations are revealed.

The group is on their way to a skip trip up in Vermont but arrive at a house that does not seem like the right destination. How did they get there exactly? And why?

As we meet these characters and surmise their motives, the film turns you every which way in a "who dun it" of sorts, amping up the tension while keeping the viewer engaged in figuring out who is to blame for the events that unfold. I can honestly say watching the film I did not guess the ending, which made it all the more fun to watch. It's pretty rare these days that a film can actually keep you guessing.

While the film displays a few signs of lower budget production (some wonky audio, continuity, etc.), it is very easy to forgive and forget these few moments. The film has a great mood to it overall (you can really feel the chill in the air), created by some beautiful cinematography and a great score.

For the most part the acting feels very easy and convincing. In particular, I enjoyed Lauren Kennedy and Emma Barratt's performances though the guys in the cast are all quite talented as well.

Overall this is a really enjoyable psychological thriller. Christina Raia is a fantastic filmmaker who is definitely one to watch.

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