As a horror fan I had to give Dead of Summer a try, my daughter wouldn't leave me alone until I watched it with her.
I'm not sure if I'll keep watching, it might become one of those shows she watches alone like Scream or Scream Queens. I couldn't with either of those. Scream...well let's just say I sat through ALL the movies and that was enough for me. I don't need a reboot TV show. Scream Queens...sigh...I wanted to enjoy the campy ridiculousness of it, but I couldn't.
Back to Dead of Summer.... as it opened I realized it was set in 1989 I got instant nostalgic feelings.
One of the best summers of my childhood. I would say the summers of 1987- 90 totally rocked for me. So 1989....I was simultaneously thinking, OK this can be good, and why 1989?
Seriously why 1989? Like me, were the writers feeling nostalgic about their childhood/teen years or is 1989 a nod to all the summer camp slasher flicks of the 80s?
What they got right- the music was good. They played songs that were popular in that time. I almost cried when Patience by Guns R Roses came on at the end of episode one. That song will always have a special place in my heart.
They also got some props right, the super soaker- which debuted in 1989 was a nice touch along with the magazine covers.
What they got wrong- the hair. OMG the hair is so wrong it hurts. 1989 was the height of big hair- pun totally intended. Girls had bangs for days and they were teased and hair sprayed to unbelievable heights.
Not one girl in this show has bangs and the lack of big, teased, and ratted out hair is a big no-no for a period piece.
The clothes...those are pretty wrong too. I mean most of the stuff they have worn is pretty generic and could show up in almost any late 20th or early 21st century teen wardrobe, jeans, flannel shirts, long sleeve tops...they got a few things right like some band tshirts, pastel polo with a turned up collar paired with white pants.
What they are missing is the crop top shirts, acid wash jeans, shorts, jackets, and vests, and the wild and crazy patterns on everything.
This I find to be extremely lazy and sad because you can walk into any thrift store and find things straight out of the 80s. A good costumer would know this and take advantage of it. I feel that whoever was in charge of hair and clothing was not alive in 1989, otherwise things would be different.
The characters... so in 1989 you would be hard pressed to find such a diverse group of kids hanging out together. Granted they are at camp and that pushes people together who normally would not run in the same social circles. A couple white girls, a Hispanic girl, a black guy, a couple white guys, a transgender FtM, and a gay guy.
In 1989 if you were gay or trans you kept that shit to yourself and didn't voice it to the world, at least not in small town USA or the Midwest. Maybe in California you could but not where I come from. There were a couple kids who everyone "knew" was gay, but they never were flamboyant about it. This guy is all up in your face with his gayness and everyone is cool with it, including all the straight white guys.
Hmmm, yeah OK, NOT! Highly doubtful for 1989.
It's like they wanted to throw in modern diversity mix with standard character tropes and voila, a cast is born.
So now to the actual story and horror elements.
Opening with Tony Todd is a great way to set a tone, anyone who watched the Candy Man movies is surely programmed to cry like a baby when they see him. Well, maybe that's just me. The very sight of him in anything sends me into CandyMan PTSD mode.
But that's where the scary seems to end.
Sure there are some creepy elements and jump scares, along with lots of screaming but everything feels cliche and full of horror tropes trying too hard to mish mash a storyline together.
What the hell is going on here?
Satanic plots, magic elements, random murder spree, deep dark secrets coming back for retribution and revenge?
All of the above?
I'm not sold on this show but not giving up yet. If nothing else it gives me and teen something to make fun of on a long summer night.