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Summer Scars Reviews

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Todd S

Super Reviewer

April 26, 2010
When a group of friends in Wales decide to cut school and hang out in the woods, they meet a drifter who will change their lives in the shocking true story, Summer Scars. Writer/Director Julian Richards claims that this actually happened to him as a child. At 67 minutes long, this is one of the shortest films you will ever see and still it felt like it was too long. What happened was unique and defiantly worthy of a film, but it seems to me like Richards decided to tell the entire truth of what happened in painstaking detail. What this film needed was some fiction thrown in to make the story more interesting and to space out the events of what happened. As for the cast, it was almost completely full of newcomers, some of which were horrible, but others like Darren Evans, showed some real skill and a bright future. The only veteran actor was Kevin Howarth, who played the drifter and he was terrific. The veteran horror actor really showed us in a short period of time, what this guy must have really been like and he was really amazing. It's the performances of Howarth and Evans that make this short, creepy film worth watching. Summer Scars was an interesting story, but jumped around so much and had a hard time finding direction. For long periods of time nothing happens, but when it finally does, it comes at you so quickly that you're just confused. I liked this film, but with the story they had to go with, if they had had a better cast, and spread things out a little more, Summer Scars could have been so much more than it was.
mvieaddict
mvieaddict

Super Reviewer

January 2, 2009
if this is what the British are caling horror or thriller, thn I dont know the genre horror is anymore. Quite a film for teenagers, nothing scary at all, no actions, no suspence, I dont recommend this at all, 2 stars
July 29, 2011
For an ultra low budget movie this is very watchable. has more tension and drama than most Hollywood films in it's short running time
rip e.
April 26, 2009
British director Julian Richards teams up with his Last Horror Movie
cohort actor Kevin Howarth for another go at the reality-thriller-horror
genre with Summer Scars. This time however, 'based on a true story'
quite effectively replaces the tissue-paper thin conceit from Last
Horror, making for affecting, disturbing viewing of high order.
A group of disaffected British youths (including the token girl) have
naught to do but nick motor scooters and play in the woods. They're
toughs the likes of which boys who identify with Michael Cera might
rather be (except Cera keeps getting the girl, so what do I know?)
These dudes seem content with bluster and bullying, egged on by
tomboy Leanne, (perfectly played by Amy Harvey) until a brash joyride
on the stolen scooter accidentally bags 'em a weird transient.
The bum, Peter (Howarth) catches up with the panicked kids,
complains of a few broken ribs, and begins luring them into a weird
web wherein only bad things can happen. Quickly gaining their
sympathy, he asks them to help him look for his dog Jesus, and you
know that soon enough pretty much everybody's going to start acting
like they know not what they're doing. But will there be enough
forgiveness to go around?

This gripping coming-of-age drama, at little more than an hour feels
like a modernized '70s grindhouse horror movie - rife with the
possibility of graphic cruelty and horrific dehumanization. That such
potential atrocities remain mostly just possibilities is a bit of a
blessing, as levels of emotional and psychological cruelty are high
enough. Still, this circumspect look at wayward British youth - a smart
after-school special for the 21st century - feels like Mike Leigh's take
on Stand By Me, harsh but sympathetic. Though the kids are more
than willing to pummel each other (or anyone else) over the slightest
affront, they're full of humanity and poised on a precipice, looking
down on a life full of emotionally cut-off anger from a perch where
hurt feelings still register instantly on the face.

Throughout, weird, inexplicable layers make for a constantly shifting,
engrossing experience. Off his nut hobo Peter's lapses between gleeful,
youthful idiocy and violent games prove his instability. But his
Svengali-like ability to sort these kids out and play them against
themselves and each other (plus Howarth's very natural, yet totally
unhinged performance) breaks spirits with chilling plausibility.
Ciaran Joyce, Amy Harvey, Jonathan Jones, Darren Evans, Christopher
Conway and Ryan Conway (the kids) each in turn dig deep, never
seeming like the inexperienced actors some of them are - you believe
they just walked off the street and into this movie. Quick, beautiful
moments render them real and innocent, making their plight that
much more affecting than if they were just cartoons of youth violence.
A cell phone call at a bad moment forces two (brothers) to place their
dinner order with mum, the way it plays out is both sunny and filled
with casual fraternal cruelty - the last already-withered rays of hope
on a day when clouds move in to stay.

?Summer Scars' simple story takes youth heading down the wrong
path, diverting them onto a path that's even worse. Easy, unforced
performances all around make the psychologically awful things that
happen to the kids deeply troubling, yet truly gripping viewing. Lean,
mean, disturbing and deftly crafted, Summer Scars is definitely
recommended. (And stick through the end credits if you want the full
picture).
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