When vacationing in the backwoods, make sure you listen to the locals. Maybe they know about which greasy spoon has the best breakfast, where the best swimming hole is at, and that you shouldn’t perform any rituals that might bring up ancient dangerous spirits. Unfortunately, newly dating couple Tom and Lisa, along with their friends Simone and Sam didn’t take that advice and decided to test out their knowledge of witchcraft in the wrong town.
Lisa’s parents are wary of letting her stay at their cottage alone with just her boyfriend Tom, so she invites Sam and Simone to spend some time with them to reassure her parents that no funny business will happen. On their way to the cottage, Lisa reveals their plans to try to connect with spirits while out in the country. What they don’t know is that the little town where they’re staying was the site of an ancient massacre where the original inhabitants were killed by settlers that came to the area. The spirits of those inhabitants have made a pact with the townspeople to protect the land and any that dare to tamper with it. By carrying out their ritual, the 4 awaken the spirits and put themselves in grave danger. They start to disappear one by one as the spirits manifest themselves and trick each member of the group to their demise in one way or another.
Monkeyface: I’ve never been one to believe in witchcraft and ghosts or anything that I can’t really see or touch. But with that said I don’t think I would be willing to take part in séance where we tried to get a spirit to fulfill our wishes! With my luck I’d do what these poor saps did and laugh while my friend farted or something like that causing terrible things to happen. You piss off the spirits and your whole weekend is ruined or worse yet, you end up getting suckered into letting a demonic priest cut your heart out! My rule of thumb on vacations to small towns: always listen to the pizza dude or the guy who sells bait… they usually know what NOT to do, and where you can score the best drugs!
Sean: I’m not one for spirits, the unknown, and all that other stuff, but it definitely intrigues me. If someone asked me to be in a ritual, or mess around with a Ouija board though, I think I’m gonna stay home for that vacation. It’s one of those irrational fears that I have, like the fear of clowns, and thinking someone’s behind the shower curtain when I come into the bathroom and it’s closed. I know that there’s no one there, and the clown is just wearing makeup to hide it’s own drug abuse or some other psychological defect, but that doesn’t mean I can’t be afraid of them. Because of that, I felt the worst for Sam. He was an unwilling participant that got caught up in the shuffle, and paid dearly for it.
Monkeyface: Being from Michigan it was cool when I found out that some of the movie was shot there. The 4 friends seem like some people I know who would go “Up North” for the weekend and rent a cabin on the lake. The major difference is that these 4 don’t seem to like each other very much which is where some of the humor comes in. Tom constantly makes fun of Sam, or as I liked to call him “Ross the Intern”. Sam thinks Tom is a huge asshole, and even Lisa grows tired of him before they even make it to the cabin. But at least Simone (Lisa’s sister) has a thing for Tom or else they all could have saved the spirits some trouble and killed themselves. Unfortunately this is also Simone’s demise and it proves that spirits also believe in karma.
Sean: I was a little confused about the whole relationship between Simone and Lisa. I thought they were friends, but they called each other “sisters”, and I didn’t know if it was blood relation, or if it was one of those situations where chicks just call each other sisters. Lisa, Sam and Tom acted concerned when Simone disappeared, but not overly concerned like “Oh shit, we have to go look for her all night!” concerned. Other than that though, the character dynamic worked out pretty well. They all played off each other really well and had their own personalities. Tom was my favorite character, though, as he seemed the most fleshed out of the 4.
Monkeyface: It is refreshing to sit down and watch a movie made by people close to your age that isn’t some big Hollywood knockoff filled with explosions, one-liners and tons of expletives. We also got a chance to see some behind the scenes footage and you can tell that everyone on the set from the actors to the boom guy were passionate about making this film the best it could be. With that being said I can’t use typical B-movie standards to rate this one; it stands apart as a small budget independent film. I thought the acting was really good, especially by Nyssa Zeona who played Lisa. The movie itself was shot really well and it edited together in a way that some Hollywood directors wish they still knew how to do. (Michael Bay!!!) The story was a little silly, but hey all the good stories have been done to death right! In the back of my mind I kept thinking of Evil Dead with the whole spirit/demon/cabin thing going on, and that definitely accounts for something. If you and your friends are headed to the lake for the week and want to watch something entertaining that no one has ever heard of, grab this one. I give it 3 pink haired goth chicks out of 5.
Sean: I wasn’t sure what to expect when this movie started. I was impressed with how the back story was summarized in a short animation – that way you weren’t going into the story cold. I was also surprised that the effects were as good as they were, especially Sam’s plunge into the TV, a la Poltergeist. I think the best thing about the effects is that they never relied on them too much, they let the character development tell the tale. I thought it was a nice touch with the movie that was playing in the background whenever the TV was on – it had some parallels to the movie and added to the creepy factor. Summer People is the perfect movie to watch with friends, especially if you’re staying out by the lake – just be sure to leave your Ouija board at home. I’m going to have to give it 3 killer priests out of 5.