Parents' Guide to

Dead of Summer

By Joyce Slaton, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 15+

Clichéd characters, moderate violence in slasher series.

TV Freeform Drama 2016
Dead of Summer Poster Image

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Is It Any Good?

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Kids say (3):

This '80s retread scores when doling out unsettling plot twists -- surprises and secrets are revealed at a pace that keeps your attention, even if the characters read as clichéd. There's the arrogant rich boy, the shy girl with a dark past, the nerd jealous of his handsomer friends, the tease, and the perv who watches everything through the lens of a camera, all the better to capture creepy stuff the characters see upon rewatching. Each character is not quite what he or she appears, however, as we learn over the course of the movie, as past transgressions are revealed in flashback. The action, however, is fairly predictable -- there's an otherworldly camper, a spirit (or maybe just an ex-con who haunts the woods), and a lot of people who like to stand stock-still in the dark to startle characters sent to gather firewood or change a burnt-out fuse in the scary ol' basement.

You've seen all this stuff before. Yet Dead of Summer is still entertaining to watch, because the creators -- who hail from Lost and Once Upon a Time, both of which heavily influence this show -- are so good at slowly revealing the show's mysteries and overall mythology (which tilts toward the supernatural and demonic). The action is generally mild enough for teens who are already drawn to horror; they may or may not get hooked here.

TV Details

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