Director – Onur Tukel
Cast – Jonathan Caouette, Zach Clark, Dustin Guy Defa, Juliette Fairley, Dakota Goldhor
Release Year – 2014
Reviewed by John of the Dead
I only found out about this film until recently, and what gave me the drive to watch it is it was referred to as a “hipster horror film”. I don’t count because that would be mainstream, but I know I have plenty of “hipster” friends who would get a kick out of such a film, so I gave this a watch and left pleased with the results. The story follows Eric Sparrow – a self-centered asshole who sucks in bed and makes the mistake of his life when he turns down his beautiful girlfriend Jody’s marriage proposal. He tries to move on without her…and to no avail. Each date ends worse than the one before, his job becomes more and more unbearable, and to make matters worse…Jody is now dating her college crush. Eric’s life is falling apart, but he receives the chance of a lifetime when he is bit by a vampire. Eric awakes as a different man. He is confident, strong, and now a sexual maestro with the opposite sex. There is only one problem – he is a vampire, and vampires need to eat.
Writer/director Onur Tukel stars as Eric and delivers one hell of an opening sequence. The story begins with Eric and Jody having an exquisite dinner at their favorite restaurant. When Jody proposes Eric uses his bafoonish wit to say “no” with the highest number of words possible, turning the issue to himself and the fallacies of married life. This intro lasts almost 8 minutes and will leave you shaking your head over how much of an idiot he is. I am sure lots of us, both male and female, have been in situations where we let a good person go for stupid, selfish reasons, and this intro did a good job of reminding me of the hurt I felt. Tukel’s writing is fantastic, with excellent dialogue from Eric that shows how arrogance and a “hipster” way of looking at things can cost you. Of course, this is done so in hilarious fashion. The head-shaking continues as you watch Eric fail at everything that matters. He has a pathetic way of using his logic to rationalize the life he lives, and before he can realize how much he is bullshitting himself…he becomes a vampire.
The second act is where Eric begins to bring home his new life. He is epically fired from his job, gives no f*cks about the rent he owes, and unlike before, he is having lots of success with women. So is this even a horror film? Yes it is. The first kill occurs 39 minutes in, and it is gory as hell. The kills continue at a brisk pace for the next 10 minutes or so, with kills coming from many angles, including while engaged in coitus with a beautiful woman. Conflict eventually arises, and while it is tame in comparison to the rest of the film it still managed to keep me engaged. At times I felt like despite its mere 86 minutes in length that the film dragged here and there. Eric’s long responses/monologues about this or that hipster case-in-point eventually exceed their welcome, yet he somehow manages to remain a guy that you’d love to hang out with – at least in small doses. I would not exactly call this a horror comedy, but it does have its comedic elements. Thankfully they blend well with the horror and the carnage does not take a backseat to the lulz.
Tukel’s direction is fantastic, and he secures a great performance from…himself as Eric. Tukel’s acting (if he’s even acting) dominates the character-driven experience and as I mentioned earlier, it’s hard not to love the guy. He’s a dick, and he’ll piss you off, but I’d love to hang out with him just so I could laugh at his troubles. Despite some dragging moments his execution, via atmosphere, music, and laughs, is enough to keep you engaged and into what is going on before you. Most importantly, though, his execution of the horror is fantastic. I was surprised at the level of gore seen in the film, and it all comes via live-action effects and not that lamestream CGI nonsense. His execution is full-frontal and with the kills drawn-out to gory extremes you will leave pleased at experiencing more horror than you expected for a “hipster” horror flick.
Overall, Summer of Blood is a fun watch and one that I recommend to all, even if you’re not a hipster.