After being caught stalking a girl from his school Daniel (It Follows Keir Gilchrist) is placed under house arrest as punishment. With a tag on his leg and a police officer on his case Daniel is banned from using any computers or phones and seeing his friends leaving him with a seemingly quiet summer spent in house bound boredom.
Thankfully his friends Abby (Stella Maeve) and Kevin (Maestro Harrell) sneak round to his parentless home with weed, booze and an untraceable internet connection all of which they hope will help Daniel pass the time.
That evening setting up Skype to talk to his friends Daniel receives an unexpected call from the object of his unwanted desire Mona (Grace Phipps from The Vampire Diaries) who proceeds to commit suicide on screen by blowing her brains out.
Distraught, disturbed and desperate to keep the call secret from the cops in case his cyber-crimes of stalking are escalated to murder Daniel avoids any more outside interaction and while taking his medication tries to come to terms with the eerie events.
However strange noises, unexplainable events and nightmarish visions of the dead girl push his sanity to its limit and he becomes convinced that he is being haunted by the vengeful spirit of Mona’s who in her own words wants to make him “feel what I feel.”
Subtly crafted the slow burn of Dark Summer creates a foreboding and fearful atmosphere, helped along with a creepy score by Austin Wintory, brilliantly coming to the boil in the films explosive third act.
Director Paul Solet does a superb job making the everyday seem unsettling and keeping the tension tight with some excellent set pieces and stylized shots.
Reminiscent of The Pact the well realized effects are minimal but ultra-affective and used perfectly with Solet showing just enough each time to spook and shock the viewer while suspending a clear conformation to whether what they and Daniel are experiencing is real or just a guilt and pill fuelled hallucination.
The small cast including TV favorite Peter Stormare do a great job especially Keir Gilchrist who spends a large amount of screen time alone in the creepy home filled with nightmarish knick-knacks. Dark Summer‘s story paints Daniel as a complex role part villain and part victim yet Gilchrist manages to keep the audience onside throughout with the twists and turns taking every character in very different directions.
With a solid and spooky story and an impressively spine-chilling ambiance Dark Summer is a well above average haunted house horror with plenty of great jumps that is guaranteed to have you checking under the bed next time your home alone.