Ya know, I really ought to start getting a little bit more background information before I assume what these movies are going to be about. Now, based entirely on the fact that I found this in the back of Rue Morgue magazine should have, naturally, triggered the thought that this was, likely, a horror movie. I mean it's called SUMMER SCARS, it's not like I was getting mixed signals here. Well, as I turned out, I was. Not being completely here nor there, the movie certainly had its fair share of terror, that's for sure, but it certainly was not a horror movie, in the general sense. Be that as it may, it turned out to be one of the best movies I've seen. Period.
SUMMER SCARS - DIR. JULIAN RICHARDS (2007) - NO WIDE RELEASE. PSYCHOLOGICAL THRILLER - APPROX. 108 MINUTES.
As I watched the credits, done completely in graffiti, splash across the screen the the bass-pounding strains of rap music, I was momentarily taken aback. As I stated previously, I was expecting horror: metal, goth music, even the twanging refrains of Hillbilly rock, but surely not rap! Soon came the suffering little children. Okay, not exactly little, but none certainly over fifteen by any stretch and each little Brit (thick Cockney accents, not withstanding) performing their hooligan acts instantly leading one to believe that this was definitely not going to be a gore-festival. I mean, who guts kids in films, right? You'd have to be some kind of sick-o! Anyway, eventually we follow the six kids into the woods and three pairs of two sort of separate and give us a little character building. Leanne (the soul female-Amy Harvey) and Bingo (Ciaran Joyce) go off and begin a bit of adolescent heavy petting (no, certainly not crudely). Paul (Jonathan Jones) and Ben (Christopher Conway), the brothers of the bunch, tear off on a nicked MoPed, despite, or more accurately because of, Ben's paraplegia, and go racing through the woods. Mugsy and Jonesy hang around back at their make-shift camp surrounding an old brick building covered with spray-painted names and a few demonic symbols that Jonesy does his best to scare Mugs with. At first I figured this might have something to do with what was to come, but it wasn't until Ben and Paul smack into Peter (Kevin Howarth), a woods-wandering adult that I knew I was really wrong.
As false senses of security go, Peter's leading of the group smack into one could easily go down as a classic in Hollywood lore. Though unharmed and friendly to the crew as he lumbers into a camp full of a quivering six buddies, his demeanor never hangs onto a pleasantry for very long. Now, unfortunately, I am hard pressed to go any further into the story as anything I say from here on could potentially ruin what rapidly morphs into one of the finest mental character studies I have seen in quite a while. Is it scary? Absolutely. These six children are absolutely realistic almost to a fault as I could immediately feel as I felt as a lad of their ages when faced with situations where an exit seems nigh impossible. Keeping the entire narrative within the woods almost doubles the tension factor, just as having a cast of actors younger than twenty really makes you feel almost helpless as a viewer to the situation at hand. I was pulled into the story and wrenched along in a emotional way I hadn't personally felt in a while from a film. If you can find a way to locate this movie, I highly recommend you do so. It's a bit like KIDS meets KILLING ZOE only not in a bank, but you get the idea. So, before I leave this time, I quickly want to pimp my NEW WEB COMIC SITE. Yes, it's called SWIMMING UPSTREAM and I draw what Doug, the other half of Penguin here, writes. It's good fun. Click HERE to see for yourself. See ya next time.