Todd Gaines’s review published on Letterboxd:
It’s a cruel, cruel, cruel summer
Kids on bikes. Synth pop score. ‘80s retro vibe. Rear Window meets Distrubia meets your favorite ‘80s coming of age flick. Summer of 84 is the follow up from the peeps who brought us the highly entertaining, Turbo Kid. It has a lot I like in films, but the budget holds this one back, a lot. Especially, with the adult actors. It is like they hired them from the Canadian Actor Unemployment Line. Perhaps, the filmmakers spent all their money on acquiring the song rights for Cruel Summer? Bravo, with the Karate Kid homage using Cruel Summer. You can tell they love the ‘80s like I love lap dances.
The kids are cool. One looks like a Frog Brother, another looks like Fat Kid from Monster Squad, and a couple might be straight outta Goonies or Explorers. Plus, you have an edgy older brother and a too hot hottie. I like the back and forth banter and natural charisma they share with each other. It is my favorite aspect of the film.
I was going to score this one a solid 3 stars. But, I got to thinking. You have to admire the hell outta the last 15 minutes of Summer of 84. Holy unexpected twisted fucked up! Most of the movie is predictable as me saying fuck. It is very cliché. Almost like the directors are playing a game of “Try too hard to love all things ‘80s.” But, by the grace of all things ‘80s, we get an ending we might not be prepared for, but one we all deserve. That is something I really appreciate, and why I’m scoring it the way I am.