I’ll say this for Amazon’s smooth reboot of I Know What You Did Final Summer season: it wastes no time letting viewers know what sort of present they’re in for. Perched atop a cliff with a pensive however disaffected look on her face, lead actress Madison Iseman speaks in excellent, self-serious monotone: “I’m certain you’re sitting there proper now considering who you might be, who your folks are,” she says. “I assumed I knew. I used to be mistaken.”
Screenwriter Kevin Williamson set the bar for a era of meta-horror imitators to return along with his Scream screenplay, however his nautical 1997 follow-up solid its internet in a extra standard pond. A free adaptation of Lois Duncan’s 1973 novel, the predictable teen slasher typically left critics chilly, nevertheless it understood what its viewers needed and delivered with out overthinking. With its creatively-staged kills and impeccable solid of younger, tri-nonymous idols—Sarah Michelle Gellar, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Freddie Prinze Jr.—I Know What You Did Final Summer season sank its hook deep into the ’90s mall rat demographic.
This new teen drama, then again, is committing the cardinal sin for younger individuals in any period: It’s making an attempt method too onerous.
The fundamental premise of this I Know What You Did Final Summer season stays largely the identical: A carful of rowdy teenagers, vehicular manslaughter, and a cover-up that backfires when the group begins receiving ominous messages from an unknown witness to their crime who begins killing them one after the other. The killer could possibly be their not-so-dead sufferer, a stranger, or maybe even—gasp!—one among them.
In a twist on the unique formulation, nonetheless this sequence revolves round a pair of dual sisters—Allison and Lennon. The 2 share an advanced relationship: Their mom died by suicide after they had been younger, and whereas Lennon moved on shortly (on the floor, at the least), Allison stays depressed and misanthropic.
Iseman—who, coincidentally, would possibly simply be this era’s closest Sarah Michelle Gellar doppelgänger—performs her characters with spectacular distinction. The actress’s face virtually appears to alter form from one character to the following, molded by expressions that belong both to 1 twin or the opposite. Sadly, her accomplishment shouldn’t be sufficient to avoid wasting this dour slog, which takes itself method too severely.
Just like the 1997 movie, this I Know What You Did Final Summer season is a free adaptation of its supply materials—however not like the movie, which at the least grounded itself within the likability of its megawatt leads, the sequence offers us just about nothing to root for. There isn’t a unassuming Jennifer Love Hewitt in stacked necklaces right here, no spiky-haired Freddy Prinze Jr. fisherman with a coronary heart of gold. On this model everyone seems to be equally rotten and deluded, from the Insta-addicted Margot (Brianne Tju) to the mopey, moralistic fuckboy Dylan (Ezekiel Goodman).
Because the sequence progresses, it diverges additional and farther from the 1997 movie’s premise. The 4 episodes made obtainable to critics for assessment, all of which debut on Friday, introduce a thriller that may possible dominate the present’s plot for the rest of the season. To this point, nonetheless, this undertaking appears like a shallow echo of issues which have come earlier than, conspicuously dropping slang like “sus” and “merc” to show its Teen™ bona fides. It’s Riverdale with out the camp, bedazzled in Euphoria make-up.
“On this model everyone seems to be equally rotten and deluded, from the Insta-addicted Margot (Brianne Tju) to the mopey, moralistic fuckboy Dylan (Ezekiel Goodman).”
In truth, Sam Levinson’s drugged-out HBO present seems to have impressed extra than simply I Know What You Did Final Summer season’s make-up. Drug use is equally central right here, albeit Particular Ok as a substitute of heroin, and nudity—each female and male—is equally pervasive, as is a sure nihilism we’re meant to consider is generational. There’s a intercourse scene with full-frontal nudity, and the present’s premiere features a penis in profile. All of those selections really feel designed to seize each the viral success and the pearl-clutching controversy Euphoria has engendered.
So far as TV reboots of standard franchises go, I Know What You Did Final Summer season is way from egregious. It properly avoids merely rehashing its predecessor and consists of some delightfully weird twists—like a sure dad or mum’s relationship with a sure public servant, which I gained’t spoil right here—and even manages just a few inventive kills, though none to date that really feel as memorable as these in Williamson’s movie. Nonetheless it feels hole—its plot looking for goal, its characters starved for even an oz. of depth. Possibly this actually is what Teenagers These Days need—but when there’s one factor adolescents have at all times been fairly good at, it’s figuring out after they’re being pandered to.