Summer Scars (DVD Review)31 Aug, 2008 By: Matt Miller
Prebook 9/2/08; Street 9/30/08
Stars Kevin Howarth, Ciaran Joyce, Amy Harvey, Jonathan Jones, Darren Evans, Chris Conway, Ryan Conway.
Summer Scars is a dark coming-of-age tale about six 14-year-olds who are faced with a life-changing experience when they ditch school to hang out in the woods.
Not looking for trouble as they sit around smoking and drinking beers, the teens soon find it in the form of a deranged drifter, Peter (Howarth), who two of the boys accidentally run over while riding around on a stolen moped.
Feeling lucky he isn't hurt, they grudgingly welcome the stranger into their group, won over by his daft antics. As the afternoon wears on, Peter's horseplay turns into a sadistic game of torture that he considers "valuable" life lessons for the kids. Now their only hope is Bingo (Joyce), the alpha male of the group, who is able to escape and go for help after taking a beating from Peter.
With Bingo gone, Peter holds the rest of the teens hostage at gunpoint, subjecting them to humiliating, unspeakable mind games, which turn to a sexual nature when he takes a liking to Leanne (Harvey), the group's lone girl.
Unfortunately, instead of the police, Bingo comes back with his father's pistol, forcing a standoff with Peter that will leave the once naïve teens scarred for life, both mentally and physically.
Summer Scars is an end-of-innocence British thriller, based on an actual incident from director Julian Richards' own teenage years, which plays out like a twisted version of Stand By Me. It's this intimacy that Richards brings to the film, along with a vibrant cast of youngsters and the intense acting of Howarth (featured in Richards' The Last Horror Movie), which has made it a hit at film festivals worldwide and garnered it two BAFTA awards.