Dark Summer is a horror film that stars Keir Gilchrist as a thoroughly unlikeable person and starting your movie out with the main character as such does not bode well whatsoever. Thankfully writer Mike Le and director Paul Solet make everything around Gilchrist’s character Daniel more interesting and thus balance the film out a bit so that you can suffer through those moments when he is on screen, which is in fact, most of the time. Gilchrist stars as Daniel, who is under house arrest with an ankle monitor for stalking a girl named Mona. For the first third of the film, you get to see Daniel do essentially nothing except complain about his situation though there is the inciting incident of Mona killing herself on a live-stream in front of Daniel to kick off the horror that follows. Soon the picture turns into a ghost story and while there is nothing in the movie that really sets itself apart from any other film of its kind, there is a good twist in the middle of the tale that keeps it a little fresh and makes you want to hang in for the remainder of the show.
For the most part, the film is slowly paced. It will turn a lot of people off who may be looking for something a little exciting and in this film; there is very little to be found. There is a bit of suspense which helps, but it happens in such a gradual way that it is a little hard to keep your focus on the film as everything is dragged out. One of the real bright spots in the film is Stella Maeve who plays Abby. Abby is a girl who happens to be a friend of Daniel and a girl who is also quite in love with him. Why is a question you will ask yourself more than once as Daniel really has no redeeming virtues and as the movie goes on, Abby who seems like a fairly inconsequential supporting character, becomes a very important part of the film. If there was a redeeming aspect of the movie, she was it.
Just like everything else in the film, the horror builds up very slowly as well. It starts off with Daniel having visions and then increases when a physical toll starts to take effect upon him. When the twist happens, that is when things really start moving along and the second half of the picture, while a little clichéd, ends up being far superior to the first. As a whole, the acting was good, though it would have been nice to see what these young talents would have been able to do with material that was a little stronger in nature. The script was decent, the story a little average and the direction good enough to tie it all together and paint a picture worth watching, the only real negative being that there was not enough originality and when telling stories about ghosts, there has been so much done already, that you have to either have a really great idea or at least be able to tell what your telling in an exceptional manner. Dark Summer is not a bad film, it is just an average one and overall there is a good enough time to be had and if you are a horror fan, you might be inclined to give this at least one viewing.