Cruel Summer 2016
1h 20min | Drama, Horror, Thriller | 27 August 2016 (UK)
Danny (Richard Pawulski), a teenager with autism, escapes the inner city for the beautiful countryside as part of his Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme. Little does he know, that bitter Nicholas (Danny Miller) is hunting him, stemming from a lie created by the enamoured and envious Julia (Natalie Martins) and Calvin (Reece Douglas). As the three close in on Danny, Nicholas’ behaviour becomes increasingly erratic and violent, and Julia and Calvin must decide whether to go through with Nicholas’ deadly plan.
I’m a little torn over how I feel about ‘Cruel Summer’. It’s based on a true story, which makes the pretty horrific theme of the film even tougher to stomach. It’s certainly a movie that pulls no punches and I always appreciate that in a movie. Showing everything and not holding back is a way of honouring your audience and showing them respect.
My problem with the film though is that I’m not sure it earns the right to show what it does. What I mean by that is that a film has to do more than simply be a retelling of events. It also needs to provide commentary and subliminal opinions, otherwise it might as well be a dramatisation featured in a documentary. I felt that ‘Cruel Summer’ was too simple in its approach. At times it doesn’t even feel like a movie you are watching.
This film is certainly not for the faint-hearted. There are some pretty horrific images featured here that are definitely not going to be to everyone’s liking. It’s a watchable movie, that could have been more.
Directors: Phillip Escott, Craig Newman
Writers: Phillip Escott, Craig Newman
Stars: Danny Miller, Reece Douglas, Natalie Martins
Release Date: 27 August 2016 (UK)
Filming Locations: Cardiff, South Glamorgan, Wales, UK