Cathedrals will fall, the river will run red... and THE BIRD will be SLAUGHTERED!

REVIEW: Cruel Summer

– By MovieCritic NextDoor

It’s nice to be able to get away from it all once in a while. Teenager Danny Evans (Richard Pawulski) loves camping, for example, and in Cruel Summer he’s planning a camping weekend on his own as part of his Duke of Edinburgh Award. Everything has to be just so — he’s high-functioning, but he is autistic, and he puts a great deal of effort into being prepared for everything.

10177264_10152772348043275_6361173865311956097_nMeanwhile, Julia (Natalie Martins), wearing the largest earrings you’ve ever seen, is suffering with a hopeless crush on Nicholas (Danny Miller). His girlfriend Lisa has just dumped him and he’s calling her terrible names and generally ranting to Julia about it, completely ignoring the fact that she likes him. The surprise here is not that Nicholas was dumped, but that he managed to get a girl to go out with him for any length of time in the first place.

In a desperate bid for attention, Julia tells Nicholas that Lisa was not the nice girl she seemed, but had in fact slept with all sorts of boys. Pressed for names, she gives him Danny’s, and this gives Nicholas all the excuse he needs to start getting crazier and crazier. Through taunts and out and out lies, he convinces a new kid in the area, Calvin (Reece Douglas), to join them in their hunt for Danny.

Julia and Calvin treat their mission more as a chance to wander around town and have fun, not realizing how deathly serious Nicholas is. They argue that there isn’t much chance of finding a single person out camping in a large woods anyway, but Nicholas is very good at bullying his friends into continuing the search as his rage compels him to find a target for a bloody showdown.

The build of tension is a little uneven at times, but despite most of the cast being young the acting is realistic and compelling. It’s inspired by an actual case from 2005, which is perhaps the most horrific thing about it — it’s unsettling to realize that it can be so easy for a situation to get out of control, or perhaps to realize that the situation was never under control in the first place.

I’ll give it four out of five. There’s an excellent juxtaposition of the beauty of the woods and water and the cruelty of Nicholas and his semi-reluctant allies that draws the viewer in, despite wanting to look away at times. Sometimes teenagers can be amazingly terrifying.


2 Responses to REVIEW: Cruel Summer

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


The Triple Six Horror Film Festival 2017 announces its full line-up for May 27th and 28th at AMC Manchester.

Triple Six is a new international film festival that aims to celebrate everything that is great in new independent horror filmmaking. Showing 9 features and 12 shorts over two days at the AMC cinema complex in Manchester, Triple Six has films from around the world while also having a British backbone throughout.

Full Weekend tickets are on sale from TODAY (April 3rd) and are strictly limited. On sale for just four weeks they allow the holder to see all 9 films, 12 shorts and the live Q&A and are priced at just £30 each and are available HERE.

Read on...
INTERVIEW: David Naughton
untitled It’s not every day you get to speak to the lead actor in possibly your favourite horror film of all time. Especially on a Tuesday. Tuesdays are usually rubbish! David Naughton should need no introduction to horror fans. Back in 1981, An American Werewolf In London had unprepared cinema goers laughing heartily one second and jumping out of their seats in terror the next. Its tale of two young American tourists coming face-to-teeth with a legendary lycanthropic beast perfectly married a genuinely funny script with razor sharp editing, groundbreaking special effects and a flawless cast to create a monster movie that is still many people’s benchmark today Read on...
Advertise HERE!
CQJR7SyWwAADBd_ We currently have advertising space available at very reasonable rates, so if you have a product you want to let people know about then please email us at with your needs and we can give you more info. Read on...
The Slaughtered Bird presents BURN!
Burn Slaughtered Bird Creations and Dragon Egg Media’s debut film collaboration, Burn, has wrapped and entered post-production. Our very own short psychological horror – directed by Judson Vaughan, creator of Pedro and the multi award-winning Soul Breaker – was filmed during February in Hertfordshire and north London, UK, over three days. Read on...