Summer Scars - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Summer Scars Reviews

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September 12, 2014
"Summer Scars" is a slow burn for a film genre that generally feasts on copious gore and the downright grotesque. As a showcase of cinematic economy, it also does a decent job of packing a full film into a truncated span of 67 minutes.
Super Reviewer
March 11, 2013
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.
½ September 7, 2012
This confrontational coming-of-age thriller is a haunting look into the destruction of innocence and the depths of fear. When a gang of raucous teens plays hooky in the woods, they cross paths with a mysterious drifter. Preying on their adolescent curiosity and naivete, the sadistic vagabond easily wins them over only to inflict humiliating and torturous mind games with a rusty switchblade and a gun. Trembling and desperate, these kids realize that their only chance of survival is to embrace the darkness within and fight back with some wicked games of their own.
July 11, 2012
Six fourteen year old kids skip school to play in the woods, but some hot rodding on a stolen moped changes the fate of their day.

The latest popular horror film genre which has exploited youth terror, is nicely flipped on its head in this film from a bunch of tear aways causing terror and mayhem in a wood to a young couple in the way of the bigger budget 'Eden Lake', to the adults getting their own back, with terror inflicted on themselves, in the manner of a drifter actor Kevin Howarth, in 'Summer Scars'.

Summer Scars has been tipped as a mixture of 'Stand by Me' and 'Eden Lake' and although not up to those to films standards, it is an easy comparison. The film is low key and generally not that thrilling.
The film does though have good performances from its leads and doesn't out stay its welcome with a running time just under and hour and twenty minutes.
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
½ October 23, 2010
Distinguishes itself from an overcrowded field (or forest) by staying clear of the supernatural, and casting a few years younger than the horny nincompoops who usually do the huffing and puffing in these things; these kids are all too credibly taken in by the stranger in the midst, and the flickers of innocence in their interactions with one another make them more sympathetic and rounded than they might have been. At barely an hour, it's a drop in the ocean - one half of what used to be a double-feature, back in the day - but a proficient one, avoiding undue flippancy in its treatment of a major contemporary concern; it does, however, get tawdry indeed with its final round of trouser-dropping, and oddly redolent of what the Children's Film Foundation might have produced under the directorship of Aleister Crowley.
September 11, 2010
I think it could've been a lot better...A lot more suspenseful, a lot more dramatic and and lot more psychological. There was no real shock factor found in other such films. Saying that though, the acting was pretty good and the story was there, just could've been developed more I think.
February 23, 2010
Six fourteen year old kids skip school to play in the woods, but some hot rodding on a stolen moped changes the fate of their day.

The latest popular horror film genre which has exploited youth terror, is nicely flipped on its head in this film from a bunch of tear aways causing terror and mayhem in a wood to a young couple in the way of the bigger budget 'Eden Lake', to the adults getting their own back, with terror inflicted on themselves, in the manner of a drifter actor Kevin Howarth, in 'Summer Scars'.

Summer Scars has been tipped as a mixture of 'Stand by Me' and 'Eden Lake' and although not up to those to films standards, it is an easy comparison. The film is low key and generally not that thrilling.
The film does though have good performances from its leads and doesn't out stay its welcome with a running time just under and hour and twenty minutes.
December 28, 2009
Not bad... thoroughly unbelievable though and not scary/upsetting/disturbing in any way...
May 10, 2009
was a bit of a letdown since reading what the flick was about, gave me some huge expectations of some crazy shit and ended up getting just a tease of what i was expecting.
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).
½ March 23, 2009
it was alright bit sick
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
October 12, 2008
This was a really great, gritty and disturbing film. Extremely well acted for such a young cast. Was very impressed. Def recommend it!
½ October 10, 2008
was okay. if it went further it coulda been better, but it stayed pretty safe and tame.
October 7, 2008
Interesting, I guess. I didn't turn it off.
October 5, 2008
This one's from the UK and it's just a bit over an hour so it was worth checking out. The story is about a grown man who plays with some kids in the woods. As they begin to trust him they learn he's kind of crazy and begins to torture them.

I was a bit disappointed in this one. It moved too quickly and it wasn't really psychological torture. I thought it would be more mind games and "Third Wave"/"The Experiment" kind of movie. It was more like him hitting and hold a gun on them. Not really as suspenseful or thought provoking as it should have been. The acting was good, but that was about it.
October 3, 2008
Well acted. I enjoyed this UK drama that's been misclassified as a horror/thriller, though it does contain some of those elements. The film reminded me of the 1986 Australian TV movie 'Fortress' adapted from the Faraday School kidnapping events in 1972.
½ July 14, 2008
This confrontational coming-of-age thriller is a haunting look into the destruction of innocence and the depths of fear. When a gang of raucous teens plays hooky in the woods, they cross paths with a mysterious drifter. Preying on their adolescent curiosity and naivete, the sadistic vagabond easily wins them over only to inflict humiliating and torturous mind games with a rusty switchblade and a gun. Trembling and desperate, these kids realize that their only chance of survival is to embrace the darkness within and fight back with some wicked games of their own.
April 14, 2008
Definitely creepy, but it lacked sufficient tension or direction. As a scary movie, it wasn't bad, but it was pretty blah.
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