“Final Summer”

This movie was screened at Panic Fest.

“Final Summer” is a mediocre homage to the classic psycho killer film “Friday the 13th.” Writer and director John Isberg (who is obviously a genre fan) seems more obsessed with jump scares and kills than crafting a unique story, so his project suffers from a lack of originality. The movie is fine, just more predictable than fun.

Nothing good rarely happens at summer camp, and Camp Silverlake has a history of tragic “accidents” and deadly “incidents” that date back to the late 1970s. It’s now 1991, and the latest tragedy has left one young camper dead. With the owner ready to shut the place down, a group of camp counselors find themselves fighting for their lives against an axe-wielding masked killer. The story takes place over one truly horrific night, and it’s unclear how many will survive until sunrise.

This is just like every other slasher movie that you’ve seen before. It begins with a campfire retelling of the original legend of the camp killer, and it’s a routine story of teenagers who are well-versed in horror films, yet get easily spooked and make terribly dumb decisions. You’d think they would be smarter, but of course they’re not. Isberg follows classic horror movie rules that are stale and routine. That doesn’t make his movie bad, just a little bit lazy.

None of the counselors are interesting, and the character development is lacking. Isberg tries to give Lexi (Jenna Kohn) a bit of a backstory, but the themes of PTSD and regret are weak. Combined with a cast that’s comprised of amateur actors, this makes the earlier parts of the movie feel extremely tedious (at least until the bloodbath begins). I can’t imagine audiences will have very little emotional attachment to any of the characters, which feel mostly disposable. When the counselors are in danger or worse, murdered, it doesn’t feel significant.

“Final Summer” has a story that suffers because it’s so predictable. If you’re in the mood for a slasher flick, just watch the original “Friday the 13th.” There simply isn’t much to see here.

By: Louisa Moore

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