FINAL SUMMER (2023)

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Final Summer

FINAL SUMMER (2023)
Written and Directed by John Isberg
Available on digital in the UK

A group of councillors at Camp Silverlake are winding down the camp following a tragic accident, with the owner set to sell to developers. Little do they realise that this last night may well be the final summer camp of their lives.

In the vein of Friday the 13th and countless other summer camp slasher movies, 80’s inspired FINAL SUMMER pits a group of teens against a masked killer. The big bad of this particular horror movie is an axe-wielding stalker who is said to be behind numerous killings at the camp over the years. Suspicions have always been at the door of camp caretaker Wesley Copper, a Vietnam war veteran, but could he truly be the one behind the mask? When his own grandson Mason falls victim to a tragedy at the camp, the camp owner suspects the killer may strike again and proceeds to give team leader Dougie a file detailing everything about Copper he should know. As night falls, terror begins as the camp councillors must fight for their lives.

FINAL SUMMER delightfully manages to achieve the aesthetic of your typical woodland summer camp slasher but unfortunately that’s where the excitement about this horror ends. A weak script leaves the cast with little to do and what is ultimately missing is the fear factor. There doesn’t seem to be any urgency from the characters despite being chased by a masked killer. Their calm demeanour as they decide to explore other areas within camp or find their missing buddies is at odds with the fact they should be hysterical to some degree and doing everything they can to preserve their own lives. The only animated and convincing performance is given by Charlee Amacher who stars as Georgia. Her timing and delivery is pretty on point and she steals every scene she’s in as everyone else fades into the background. Even lead character Lexi, who’s meant to be suffering trauma from the recent incident and PTSD from events from her childhood, isn’t the draw that the main character requires to get the audience on side.

Whilst some of the ingredients are there, mainly the style of the film, the beating heart is missing and what we’re left with is a rather flat horror movie that does very little to raise your pulse. It does provide a couple of laughs though, particularly with the portrait of the camp’s founder, who happens to look a lot like horror icon, actor Tom Atkins. Unfortunately, the rest of the film goes out with a whimper with even the axe-wielding killer not threatening enough to frighten the audience, even if the character’s design is decent enough. Revelations towards the end of the film also lack the desired effect, leaving me indifferent rather than being left in shock and awe.

Lacking tension and with a tempo that feels far too fast for a stalk and slash film, FINAL SUMMER just doesn’t quite hit the mark.

Rating: ★★½☆☆

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About Bat 4442 Articles
I love practical effects, stop-motion animation and gore, but most of all I love a good story! I adore B-movies and exploitation films in many of their guises and also have a soft spot for creature features. I review a wide range of media including movies, TV series, books and videogames. I'm a massive fan of author Hunter S. Thompson and I enjoy various genre of videogames with Kingdom Hearts and Harvest Moon two of my all time favs. Currently playing: The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, Yakuza Zero and Mafia III.

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