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Surviving a Cruel Summer: 4 movies about vacations gone wrong

Your perfect summer getaway can sometimes turn into a disastrous vacation experience, and no genre is able to show you this more than horror.

In real life, maybe your Airbnb doesn’t look the way you expected or it rains every day ruining your chances of a perfect tan, but in a horror movie, the dangers can involve an unknown creature or stalking killer leaving you fighting for your life.

Sunny days and those hot summer nights can quickly turn treacherous for young attractive characters trying to escape the city, as the looming threat of danger lurks around every corner making the audience consider staying at home forever.

The Sandlot - Forever GIF by hungryhobbits | Gfycat

So, if you’re like many of us who didn’t get your summer dream vacation due to current world events… allow this list to show you, that sometimes the grass isn’t always greener on the other side.

The Summer Horror List

Sweetheart (2019)

Blumhouse Productions is known for being one of the most dominant horror studios out there, pushing out countless films annually that seem to cover a wide variety of subgenres and relatively do well for most of their efforts.

In 2019, they quietly released a creature feature that seemed to just slip under the radar of a lot of casual fans, but heavily impressed those who did see this director J.D. Dillard survival thrill ride.

If you’re looking for a film to convince a person in your life to love the genre, this is the perfect one to make any non-horror fan experience and casually guide them into the world of all things spooky.

It is a film that can arguably stand as one of the most interesting stranded on island alone stories and does a great job of making you feel as isolated as the character while you’re watching it.

Kiersey Clemons predominately solo performance is nothing short of breathtaking, and the tension that is built throughout the movie between her and the mysterious monster is that of pure nail-biting intensity that keeps you hooked from start to finish.

My only fault with this movie was the complete and utter lack of promoting from Blumhouse Productions and Universal Studios, in my humble opinion, they dropped the ball by not elevating this to the level of their 2017 smash hit Get Out.

The Rental (2020)

Dave Franco’s directorial debut is a twisted piece of gripping paranoia that makes the audience suffer from uncertainty nearly as much as the characters within the film.

No seriously, after watching the movie you’ll start questioning everything, and yet, I couldn’t have loved this film more.

Thrillers nowadays seem to lack in some departments. They can be too slow, vague, or just plain lack the onscreen kill satisfaction that pure horror fans are looking for… this one had none of those problems.

Franco managed to create an evenly paced intense watch that seemed to pack both modern and classic elements and truly kept me guessing the entire way through.

As far as thrillers go, we’re talking the best of the year so far status, and Franco’s sophomore film will have giant shoes to fill because this one was an

epic behind the camera debut.

The Shallows (2016)

Sharks and summer vacations are a duo that has been popular since Jaws debuted in 1975, not all are good, but this Blake Lively nightmare fuel may be the best one in decades.

Lively couldn’t pull off a better performance unless they put her up against a real shark, it is that damn good and a bit more fun to watch knowing that no animals were harmed in the making of the movie.

If you’re looking for a movie with a lot more bite to it (sorry), this nail-biting fight for survival will make you want to avoid the beach and most definitely not step foot on a surfboard this summer.

Though Lively was heavily praised for the film when it came out, it is one that I do not believe was seen by enough horror fans even years after it’s released, and since then it has somewhat reinvigorated the man vs beast aspect of the genre.

The Final Girls (2015)

For many of us this year, the only summer trips we are taking are within movies and ironically this is a film that takes that notion literally.

If you’re a horror fan in any capacity, then this slasher-comedy is a definite must-see and the only one with a PG-13 rating that will ever get a suggestion from me.

Sorry, call me a “purist” but slashers are always supposed to be rated r, but this excellent homage is an underrated gem that most certainly earns a pass to not be as blood dosed as I would usually demand.

Overall the story is filled with some good laughs, great chemistry from an ensemble cast of familiar faces, and leaves the door open for a sequel that we should have by now but Hollywood studios are clearly too busy making movies based on YA novels or whatever else.

Chances are you’ll laugh more than you’ll jump, but either way, it is a pure blast to watch and a cult classic that is fun to share with friends.

Latest The Final Girls GIFs | Gfycat

As we enter into the final full month of summer in the oddest year within most of our lifetimes, all plans seemed to be thrown away while we’re forced to adapt to a strange new world. 

It’s been a lot more Zoom meetings and Facetiming than any of us could have predicted, but with any luck, next year’s summer will be filled with adventures and actually getting to spend most of it outside. 

Happy Viewing!