Dead of Summer: Home Sweet Home – Amy a Bad Seed (Review)

 TONY TODD

After last week’s Dead of Summer episode, where Amy killed Joel and survived three bullets to the chest, “Home Sweet Home” lifts the lid on Malphas. We learn a  lot more about Amy who, it seems, was  a  bad seed way before Stillwater. Holyoke was wrong about the “state” of Amy. Of all the things she could be called, “innocent” is clearly not one of them.

In this penultimate episode there were buckets of blood and a very impressive body count, even before Amy went all “Lizzie Borden.”

Flashback sequences showed a young Amy with her parents and older brother.  The scene was not a happy one. The girl lived in a house with parents who ignored her and a big brother who disliked her.

She lets his pet mouse free. Later it is found dead in the garbage disposal unit. He locks her in the garage and the unhappy child falls asleep. The next morning, mum, dad and big brother are all dead from carbon monoxide poisoning. Amy scores her first kills years before Camp Stillwater.

As episodes go, this was an almost epic win. There were enough nods and  winks to other films to satisfy the most devout horror geek. Some may have been unintentional. The bus scene for instance felt a little Jeepers Creepers II (but really only a little).  The scene where Jessie throws lake water on Amy was straight from The Exorcist. Just compare the two:

Jessie: “The water washes your filth away…”

Father Merrin: “The power of Christ compels you.”

Very similar, both are a six word phrase,  and both have the same effect on the intended.

Deb, along with Drew and Blair, gather the remaining children up and put them on a bus. As they flee the camp, a great wave of blood splashes the windscreen.  The vehicle hits something and then stalls.

The bus driver gets out to check on what they hit. Apart from his face being smashed into a bus passenger window, he does not return.

At Holyoke’s cabin the exorcism has begun and seconds into the ceremony, Holyoke melts and disappears.  It is left to Jessie, Alex and Garrett to continue.  Amy/Malphas cajoles  and pleads with her captors.

“Deb” arrives and knocks on the door. (The one Holyoke tells them must stay closed.) She tells the kids inside about the bus and her concern for Amy. They open the door. The woman standing there may look like Deb but it is a trick. Pure lake water is flung on the thing and it is repelled.

It was a distraction to allow Amy to escape her bonds. She quickly takes over the proceedings.

ELIZABETH LAIL

Like “The Exorcist” the whole thing has gone pear shaped.  The possessed is now in control and the “good guys” are in serious trouble.  Taking a note from Father Karras’ bible,  Jessie invites the demon into her.

She is then plunged into the vat of pure lake water and killed. (Holyoke did say if the possessed was put into the water they would die…) Amy brings her back with CPR and it all  looks to be over.

Meanwhile back at the bus. Drew keeps attempting to restart the vehicle. When Amy brings Jessie back, the blood on the windscreen dissolves and the bus starts.

Deb bumps into her old “Dharma Bum” pal who starts throttling the life out of her while lecturing the camp owner on how this was all her fault. Once again, as Jessie wakes up, Deb’s dead boyfriend disappears in a red mist.

Amy is “cured” and her three saviors all want to hit the road immediately.  Amy says she needs a moment to reflect.

At the start of the episode there is a young woman; Margo Tate,  who is looking for Camp Stillwater. Her car is broken down and a local gives her a lift.

Deb shows up at Camp Stillwater to confront Amy, who still has the demon in her.  As she and Amy talk, Margo arrives and gets the chop. Deb plunges a knife into Amy/Malphas but ultimately loses the battle.

Cue a montage sequence that shows Amy was a very, very busy killer bee.  After it finishes Amy starts to clean the blood off and Jessie asks if  she is coming. Smiling, Amy answers, “Be right there.”

The season finale airs next week. It seems that the demon has won after all. Deb has been killed, Holyoke banished and poor old Margo Tate finally got to Camp Stillwater only to die.

It will be interesting to see where the last episode goes. Will the survivors of Camp Stillwater rise up to shove Malphas out? Has Jessie, as the really “pure” vessel be able to finish what they started?

PAULINA SINGER

Tune in and catch the season finale of Dead of Summer.  Hopefully this is not the end of Holyoke although, to be fair, he did get it so wrong.  The series airs Tuesdays on Freeform.

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Dead of Summer: The Devil Inside – Switch (Review)

 PAULINA SINGER

Dead of Summer just pulled a switch. “The Devil Inside”  does a role swap at the last minute between Amy and Holyoke. On top of that little shocker,  another counselor dies, Jessie’s DUI backstory is revealed and Garrett has turned into a trigger-happy (suspended) cop.

Plot:

An unscheduled eclipse causes Jessie to have a vision. Cricket returns and tells her to throw Holyoke’s bones into the lake. If she does not, everyone will die.  Jessie must then convince the other’s in the group to let her carry out the task.

Cricket visits Jessie again and tells her the demon’s name. Despite being told not to, Jessie turns and sees the enormous winged creature rise from the lake. The name of the entity is Malphas and it is this creature  that the counselors, and Deb, must defeat.  Amy  is apparently possessed by the thing and it controls her. The gang must outwit the girl to keep everyone from dying.

Joel gets on board when he tries to burn down the cabin. He learns from Holyoke himself that Amy has been possessed by the demon.   Jessie finally throws the bones into the lake and everything changes. It suddenly switches from day to night.

Another vision reveals that Holyoke was not evil personified. He was the scapegoat of a Satanist sect. His followers were all murdered by the worshippers and he was turned in by the killers.  Only Joel and Jessie see this flashback to what really happened to Holyoke’s followers.

Deb tells the counselors that the camp is closing down after the events of last week. The kids have to pack up and leave before the reporters and cops invade Camp Stillwater.

Jessie’s Backstory:

Jessie’s mother turns out to be a self-centered, passive-aggressive woman who does her best to keep her daughter from becoming a success. From sabotaging her interview for college to forcing Jessie to take the rap for her drunken accident; “Mom” is a real piece of work.

SHARON LEAL
Sharon Leal as Jessie’s mother.

The result is that Jessie has some trust issues but does ultimately trust herself to do what is  right.

Holyoke:

Turns out that this guy was not a villain after all. He has been trying to alert the kids              to the coming of Malphas.  He was set up by the Satanists and has been wrongly accused of mass murder for centuries.  Holyoke now has Jessie and, briefly, Joel on his side.

Later the kids bring Amy to his cabin and he prepares to defeat Malphas. It seems that he does not want to kill the girl but the demon hiding inside her.  He orders Joel and Jessie to help him save the girl.

Amy:

Alex takes Amy out to Eagle Creek, to stargaze, but the two start making out. Amy instigates the switch to sex and palms Alex’s knife.  Deb and the counselors break up the make out session. Amy holds the knife to Alex’s throat.

ELIZABETH LAIL, MARK INDELICATO
Amy before she goes knife happy…

Joel talks her down and in response she lets Alex go but kills Joel by stabbing him in the throat. Garrett pumps four rounds into the possessed girl. Amy hits the ground and then gets right back up. Holyoke appears and grabs Amy. “You know where to find me,” he says. He drags her to his cabin.

Finish:

The still alive Amy is tied in a chair in Holyoke’s cabin.  Garrett and Jessie arrive and when they enter, the door slams shut after them. Amy begins screaming and it becomes deeper, more guttural as the camera zooms into her mouth.

Thoughts:

This was one of the better episodes.  It actually made me jump a couple of times. (The scene in the mortuary with all those drawers and Damon rising was impressively creepy.)

The switch, where Holyoke suddenly becomes a “good guy” was well done. Although there are some disturbing elements to his agenda. He says he wants to save Amy, but earlier he wanted her dead. Could his version of “save” equal death?

Jessie’s backstory explained a lot about her character.  It gives a believability and a truth that was missing before.

Amy Mitchell finally got to do a bit more than just show up occasionally and look worried. This lady has got some massive chops; let her use them.

Tony Todd as hero…Lovely bit of  casting against type and Todd is brilliant enough that he pulls this off effortlessly.

Garrett may never become sheriff if he does not curb that inclination to empty his pistol into the bad guys.

On the downside, the creature that rises from the lake was a bit too CG. In the first draft I even referred to the thing as:  “the computer generated demon…”

Overall Dead of Summer “The Devil Inside” moved things up a notch or two.  We got another death (of a likable character) and Amy turned out to be hiding something really bad…

The series airs Tuesdays on Freeform.  Tune in and watch  this slow moving horror show pick up speed.

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