31 movies to watch in October: Summer of ’84

Photo: Summer of 84.. Image Courtesy Shudder
Photo: Summer of 84.. Image Courtesy Shudder /

At two weeks into our 31 movies to watch in October challenge, we are taking a trip in the way-back machine to 1984. And no, we are not talking about the current season of American Horror Story.

Although last year’s Summer of ’84 did not premier during October, it did start streaming as a Shudder Exclusive during the Halloween season last year. It is perfect Halloween viewing due to its dark content and smattering of light humor. It premiered at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival to mostly positive reviews before receiving a limited theatrical release.

It’s the summer of 1984 in Ipswich, Oregon, and 15-year-old Davey and his three best friends are spending a lot of time together. The local newspaper receives an anonymous letter from someone claiming to be responsible for the disappearances of 13 teenage boys over the past decade in nearby Cape May, and Davey’s overactive imagination kicks into high gear.

He decides that his neighbor Mr. Mackey (who happens to be a police officer) is the Cape May Slayer, and eventually ends up roping his buddies into helping him conduct their own investigation.

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At first, they don’t believe him, but then a picture of a boy Davey saw in Mackey’s house shows up on a milk carton, and the idea seems to be plausible.

At the same time, the boys are secretly following Mackey around and going through his trash, Davey is crushing on his former babysitter Nikki.

Woody is taking care of his alcoholic mother, and Curtis is enduring his parents’ constant fighting. For the first two-thirds of Summer of ’84, it feels like a sweet coming of age film, with a bit of mystery built into the storyline.

But things take an unexpected dark and shocking turn, and the final 30 minutes will leave you at the edge of your seat. The ending left me near tears, and I feel the need to recommend this film to almost everyone I know.

The young actors (Graham Verchere as Davey, Judah Lewis as Tommy “Eats” Eaton, Caleb Emery as Woody and Cory Gruter-Andrew as Curtis) are all strong and likable. Verchere does a particularly good job, and you really want him to make it out of this tale alive.

Next. 31 movies to watch in October: Last Shift. dark

Summer of ’84 can be seen on a number of streaming platforms, including Vudu, Amazon Prime, and Shudder.

Have you seen Summer of ’84? Will you watch it based on this recommendation? Let me know in the comments section.