I Know What You Did Last Summer, the TV show, is pretty much exactly what you'd expect from an Amazon Prime Video young adult thriller. The cast is diverse, helping to update the '90s slasher flick that came before it, and the characters are racy, screen-loving Gen Zers buzzing on a cocktail of unmentionable drugs.
Though this series definitely won't appeal to everyone, the big twists hit just hard enough to keep you crawling on to the next episode (I watched three of the eight for this review). Laying on as much moody, dramatic teen angst as possible, I Know What You Did Last Summer might've taken at least one chill pill. But it isn't the worst way to spend your time off.
Impressively, Madison Iseman plays not one, but two central roles. Twin sisters Alison and Lennon clash over a boy at a raging seaside house party that takes place during the fateful Last Summer. The twins have distinct personas -- one is a confident, carefree party girl; the other is wrestling with social anxieties. They're the most interesting characters, revealing psychological layers that tease a link to a tragic past event involving their mother.
Big mistakes are made when, at the end of the night, someone ends up dead on the side of the road. A year later, the ominous "I know what you did last summer" message taunts one of the twins, along with the appalling murders of those who helped cover up what happened.
Not much subtlety can be found in the logic behind how the group of friends decide to react. Yet if you go along with it, the show continues to jump from the present to that last summer, teasing out new perspectives on what happened and why people acted the way they did. Some might spot the first major twist from a mile off, but still, it's incredibly effective. It makes the already tricky task of guessing the killer even tougher.
Everything else is unfailingly wild: Someone sends a provocative text message that exposes a secret affair. A four-wheel-drive with tinted windows stalks one of the twins. An unknown figure casts a long shadow while standing just off screen. For viewers, the task is to sift out the red herrings. Though you're probably better off letting it all play out, no questions asked.
The series has big names behind the scenes. James Wan, creator of Saw, produces, alongside showrunner Sara Goodman, whose credits include writing more than a dozen episodes of the original Gossip Girl.
The cool kids here aren't to be taken completely seriously, but they don't really come with the heavy dollop of trashy fun found in, for example, Netflix's You. Just when we learn something deeper about one of the teens, that person's head goes flying. Death No. 3 (no spoilers) seems a bit unfair.
The original I Know What You Did Last Summer, an adaptation of Lois Duncan's 1973 young adult novel, also avoided the tongue-in-cheek Scream approach. With few light moments, the episodes can drag, trickling toward their one-hour runtime.
No rusty hooks yet, but Amazon's I Know What You Did Last Summer aims for something a little more psychological and unpredictable than your routine slasher show. It might take itself slightly too seriously, but crucially, the deaths are plentiful: gory, over the top and involving at least one droopy silicone severed head -- you're definitely getting what you came for.
The first four episodes of I Know What You Did Last Summer hit Amazon Prime Video on Friday, Oct. 15, followed by a new episode weekly.