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Cruel Summer (2016)

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Young Autism sufferer Danny enjoys the serenity and solitude of camping. That's all about to change when enraged teens Nicholas, Calvin and Julia find him, each with their own agenda for wanting to see Danny suffer.
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Cast overview:
Danny Miller Danny Miller ... Nicholas
Reece Douglas Reece Douglas ... Calvin
Natalie Martins Natalie Martins ... Julia
Gary Knowles Gary Knowles ... Danny's Dad
Grace Dixon Grace Dixon ... Danny's Mum
Thomas Conning Thomas Conning ... Shop Keeper (as Thomas 'Verb T' Conning)
Richard Pawulski ... Danny
Leah Rees Leah Rees ... Calvin's Mum
Sabrina Dickens ... Girlfriend / Lisa (voice)
Josh Hopkins Josh Hopkins ... Arcade Teenager
Melanie Stephens Melanie Stephens ... Calvin's Mum (voice)


Danny (Richard Pawulski), a teenager with autism, escapes the inner city for the beautiful countryside as part of his Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme. Little does he know, that bitter Nicholas (Danny Miller) is hunting him, stemming from a lie created by the enamoured and envious Julia (Natalie Martins) and Calvin (Reece Douglas). As the three close in on Danny, Nicholas' behaviour becomes increasingly erratic and violent, and Julia and Calvin must decide whether to go through with Nicholas' deadly plan.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


One Day Changes Everything


Drama | Horror | Thriller


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Release Date:

27 August 2016 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Жестокое лето See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs




Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


[All trivia items for this title are spoilers.] See more »


Referenced in Frightfest 2016: In Conversation With (2016) See more »


Powdered Dreams
Written by Thomas Conning
Performed by Thomas Conning (as Verb T)
Appears courtesy of High Focus Records
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User Reviews

They Must Have Short Summers in the UK
10 June 2018 | by thesar-2See all my reviews

The poster and title - sooo misleading. In fact, it's pretty CRUEL they used a horror-movie themed advertisement to sell a dramatic story that takes place in less than 24 hours, let alone a whole "summer."

Movie posters and trailers are often deceptive, but it's their job to sell their product. The actual substance of this "true story," is NOTHING like the Friday the 13th-type poster and title. Thankfully, I was not tricked as I had read the synopsis before clicking on this movie to watch. But, looking back, while writing this, I'm appalled at the artwork for the film and title. I mean, as stated, this all takes place in less than 24 hours, not the typical 3-months of summer.

Another flaw, if you can call the person who named this and advertisers "flaws" for the film, itself, is the substance. The movie is incredibly short for such a horrific "real life-inspired" event and even at its 80 minutes, the actual movie ends at minute 72 with 8 astounding minutes of credits. Additionally, all-but nothing happens for the first 45-50 minutes, so you'll have basically 22 bona fide minutes of actual substance of the "inspired events."

Now, that all said, those approximately 22 minutes are extreme, shocking and further detriments the title. It wasn't "cruel," it was inhuman. "Disgustingly evil" would describe those last 22 minutes.

Basically one hot head loses his mind and reverts back to pre-primate thinking after a break up. He concocts a lie with one of his blokes after he hears of another lie of a young autistic boy sleeping with his now ex. The entire premise of the lies is weak, but apparently, the hot head needs his vengeance out on someone and the power he absorbs by manipulating and controlling a girl who fancies him and his mate is intoxicating to him.

Meanwhile, the autistic boy, probably his first ever trip out alone from his parents in the wilderness is completely content with his accomplishments of camping alone. He truly looks at peace. And that's what makes the events that follow, that fateful Saturday, when the 3 bad teens meet up with him and punish him (BAD) for absolutely nothing...all the more unbelievably torturous to see.

Anyone getting mistreated by bullies is bad enough, but to see how this completely innocent and at peace autistic boy is tortured so one alpha male can release some anger...is an abomination.

Not sure the intentions of the filmmakers. To tell the story of the non-eventful events leading up to the tragic story and show the monsters these pricks were, or to cash in on the event for film-rights. For, once the story concludes - and believe me, I was completely and utterly emotional, it just abruptly ends, giving us a description of what happened next in 3 short sentences for what probably dragged on for months, if not years.

I will say this: despite any intentions, the movie was beautifully shot, well-acted, believable and those last 22 minutes, including the VERY last 3-4, were so emotional for me, it's almost worth a recommendation. But, it's hard to tell someone else to see this when probably no one should ever.

Unless they want to know true evil of some dumb bloke.


Final thoughts: Since this movie is so heavy, I'd like to finish on a lighter note: I loved the song "Cruel Summer" by BOTH Bananarama and Ace of Base in my younger days. That's all. Nothing about the movie and no, they play neither song in the movie. Spoiler? Ha.

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