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Life’s Too Short: Dead of Summer (2016 )

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So Much To Do, So Little Time

Stupid to the point of being insulting, this series’ pilot should not have been made at all, not to mention the entailing first season. It’s a wall-to-wall carpet of terribleness, with a blinding pattern of poor writing, lousy acting, non-linear “dialogue” and slasher clichés which, in our time and age, have lost all the modicum of interest they could have possibly sparkled thirty years ago. It’s not hommage or nostalgia, it’s exploitation. It’s Friday the 13th all over again, with some apparent satanism poured in the stale, instant mix found in the back of a cupboard left unopened since 1985. One should stop there, but surely some redeeming features might be considered?

No, there are none. This mess’ most interesting feature is the presence in the juvenile crew promised to gory ends of an openly gay guy, a probable lesbian and a possible transgenre with a dark secret, and these three characters are treated in the most conventional way possible: the gay is effete and wanna screw, the lesbian is butch and rather ugly, the possible trannie is played as the pilot’s cliffhanger, ripped off from Sleepaway Camp.

But pray, what is at stake at Crystal Lake, sorry, Camp Stillwater, reopened by Mrs Carpenter (who could have written the soundtrack, aha) after some past events, rhubarb rhubarb rhubard? Well. There is a lot of work to do, the grand reopening taking place three days later. All camp counsellors involved are very excited since the shitty, spooky camp is the place where “they can be what they wanna be” and they all have terrific childhood memories there. Yeah, sure.

But really, there is a lot to do, in between basic jump scares that might work on a toddler. Maybe. Our happy crew therefore divides their busy schedule between campfire bullshit, bullying Final Girl because she’s new, and jumping into the lake. Repeatedly so, even though at their first attempt there was a corpse below the pontoon (there would be an essay to be written about how maleficent these contraptions are).

The Deputy Sheriff, who is the same age as the camp counsellors, falls for Final Girl and walks her to her cabin when she gets lost in the woods for reasons too ridiculous to be reported. This two minute scene excels at excrescence: please let one walk you through it. So, he walks her back, but halfway there he excuses himself. But wait, isn’t it the dead guy’s cabin? Let’s take a look! Oh, a secret room, full of satanic books, what’s the hell? Oh, fire! He pushed her outside and gets trapped into the sudden furnace. Oh, an axe! She frees him through a hole in the wall. OK, see you!

There is no phone but there is. Final Girl is not afraid of mice but she is. Women can’t run more than a yard without falling flat on their face. Flashbacks teach us what Final Girl did last summer. The camp opens tomorrow and there is a lot to do, so Mrs Carpenter plants a Camp Stillwater sign and voilà, the Deputy arrives with the opening authorisation. Wait a second, she hired people and shit without proper paperwork done? Oh, rutabaga. Life’s too short.

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