Summer is normally a time for adventures and fun, but 17-year-old Daniel Austin (Keir Gilchrist) finds himself under house arrest with no access to the internet after being convicted for cyberstalking his classmate, Mona (Grace Phipps). His friends manage to sneak him in a tablet so he can get online, but when the object of Daniel’s cyber-longing commits suicide on camera in front of his eyes, he soon finds himself plagued by her restless and malevolent spirit.
Many haunted house horrors leave audiences wondering why the central characters don’t just move after experiencing several supernatural disturbances, but Dark Summer flips this idea on its head, with Daniel unable to physically leave the house, lending the film an immensely claustrophobic air.
Director Paul Solet works well with a relatively low budget, managing to create a few genuinely disturbing sequences (watch out for the séance), but beyond the originality of the initial premise, Dark Summer becomes too textbook. The scares are Poltergeist-esque, the sole adult character, Daniel’s menacing probation officer, (Peter Stormare) is a walking cliché and the remaining cast lack distinguishing personalities.
Nevertheless, it’s a competent supernatural thriller and creates an interesting role reversal, with the male stalker becoming the target of his own victim.
The Boxcar Children
Based on the classic children’s literary franchise, The Boxcar Children follows four orphaned and homeless siblings who wish to stay hidden from the threatening adult world and strike out in search of a new home. They find an abandoned freight car from a train and set about furnishing it, using creativity and hard work to ultimately flourish. Winner of the Best Animated Feature at the 2015 St Tropez International Film Festival, The Boxcar Children offers wholesome fun and is a warming tale of childhood independence that promotes values of resourcefulness and love.
Five fresh-faced friends pile into the car for a road trip and along the way stumble across a lost and lonely young girl, who they decide to return back home. When they find her parent’s house, the group are invited to stay the night and it doesn’t take long to figure out that something is amiss, with the couple clearly hiding something. The acting is strong, but everything from the soundtrack to the script to the effects just feels slightly dated, as if this film was released 15 years too late – and that’s a generous estimate.
A touching tale of a military working dog that suffers stress after the death of his handler, US Marine Kyle Wincott (Robbie Amell), during action in Afghanistan. Unwilling to listen to anyone else, Max is to be put down until he shows a connection with Kyle’s teenage brother Justin (Josh Wiggins) and is subsequently adopted – and therefore saved – by the family. Although Justin is unimpressed to begin with, the pair soon form a bond that helps return the four-legged veteran to his heroic self.
Bollywatch: Bajrangi Bhaijaan
Slated to be in cinemas in time for Eid, Bajrangi Bhaijaan tells the story of a young Pakistani girl who becomes separated from her mother at an Indian railway station and is given shelter by Pavan (Salman Khan), a devout Hindu. Against all odds, the magnanimous Pavan sets out to reunite the girl with her family after making her a solemn promise.