Dead of Summer: Mix Tape – Cricket (Review)


The week Dead of Summer is all about Cricket. “Mix Tape” shows her still chasing after Alex, having weird dreams and still writing graffiti about herself.  Blotter leaving last week has barely registered with the  lovestruck counselor.  We are treated to Cricket’s backstory and Garrett Styles begins to investigate the camp and its history.

There are some creepy “devil masks” that make an appearance in both Cricket’s dreams and in real life.  Rather interestingly, Deb Carpenter has a horned mask hanging in her wardrobe. The object has a crooked horn and looks just like the masks that Cricket sees in her dream.

Other things in this episode that  impress includes the “Hear & Speak” device.  Cricket confiscates the thing during art class and it later  warns the teenager “Don’t Go.” There is also the glimpse of Blotter’s severed hand, complete with wrist band,  gripping the baby bottle of acid dosed drink.

Movie guy Joel still has a thing for Deb Carpenter and it is unclear whether she reciprocates his interest.  He spies the wooden devil mask in the wardrobe after movie night.

On movie night Abby, Alex and Cricket have a night off and plan some fun at the local diner/bar.   Jessie is still on Team Cricket and working hard as the camp matchmaker.  “Braces”also  has her sights on her old flame  “Townie” Sykes. She lies and says her grandmother has died to get out of movie night duty. Abby is asked to take her place and Tyler heads to the diner instead.

At the local nightspot Jessie zeroes in on Sykes while Cricket goes on a drive with Damon. The Satanist freaks Cricket out and she believes that he wrote on the wall underneath her graffiti.  She hits him, after threatening him with a knife, and Damon crashes  the car.

Sykes, Jessie and Alex show up and after Damon calls Cricket the camp whore, Alex and he fight. Back at the camp as she and Alex make out, she discovers a mix tape that Blotter made for her. Cricket stops and rushes out of the room.

Drew kisses Blair and Jessie discovers that Garrett may not be that into her. The day after movie night Abby gives Tyler some cookies.  Sykes learns about HolyOak and tells his boss about the events that took place in 1871.

Damon and his fellow Satanists “sacrifice” the deer heart, wrapped with Cricket’s hairband,  at the  old cabin.  Meanwhile, Abby  listens to Blotter’s mix tape and changes into a red bikini.

The counselors play volleyball by the lake and Cricket hits the ball into the water and Abby retrieves the the ball. She sees blood in the lake and a horned face in the water. Abby  is then struck   by lightening.  Damon and his two lackeys are watching and he says they were wrong about Cricket and that Abby is the one.

So far there has been a lot of backstory on Dead of Summer. Last week saw Alex’s past before Camp Stillwater as well as a bit of Blotter’s. This week Cricket and her BFF Blair Ramos were the flashback focus.

(Sidenote:The Blair/Drew “romance” is a tad confusing. It seemed apparent that Ramos was gay and that he thought Drew Reeves was a bloke. In the first episode Drew looked like a male and then revealed boobs when she stripped down later. Since then Reeves has looked more feminine and less masculine but Blair still has that crush. Not entirely sure where this is meant to go since Reeves kissed an ecstatic Ramos in “Mix Tape.” Is Blair gay or not? And more importantly is Drew still “meant” to be fooling everyone about her real gender?)

Deb Carpenter’s mask puts her in a very different light and Abby seems to be pretty clever. She certainly gets Jessie with that cookie ploy and Abby knew from the start that Jessie was lying.

The pace of this series is beyond slow and even the addition of the signs and portents are not improving the interest level of the show. Tony Todd’s Tall Man was missing from this episode, as was his little messenger from last week.

For this show to pick up, we need more Todd and Mitchell.  There needs to be more bodies and/or disappearances for Sykes to investigate and this plodding pace needs to really pick up.  The few “bits” that were included in this episode were not enough to patch up the lethargic  plot line.

At this rate the name of the show could be changed to “Dead Bored of Summer.”

We do like the backstory element as it does help the viewer connect with the characters.  There just needs to be more bloodshed (this is, after all a homage to slasher films), a lot more humor and more scares. In essence the series needs a greater amount of what makes slasher so much fun to watch.

The series airs Tuesdays on Freeform. Tune in and see what you think.


Author: Mike's Film Talk

Former Actor, Former Writer, Former Journalist, USAF Veteran, Former Member Nevada Film Critics Society

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