By: Kayla Caldwell
Who doesn't love watching beautiful people doing terrible things? Amazon Prime's TV take on I KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER is just that. Think HBO's The White Lotus, but if the entire show was just about Paula (Brittany O'Grady) and Olivia (Sydney Sweeney). Both shows also happen to take place in Hawaii.
Much like the 1997 film, I KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER follows a group of high school graduates who make a fatal mistake, and, one year later, must face the consequences. Lennon (Madison Iseman), Margot (Brianne Tju), Dylan (Ezekial Goodman), Johnny (Sebastian Amoruso), Riley (Ashley Moore), and Allison (also Iseman) crash into an unsuspecting victim, killing them. Instead of calling the police, they decide to dispose of the body in a cave, and tell no one, so as not to jeopardize their futures. It's certainly not the best life choice, but, to be fair, they were all on drugs and/or drunk at the time, so no one was thinking straight.
The secrets, guilt, and trauma sends shockwaves through the previously tight clique. A year goes by seemingly uneventful, but when Lennon returns home, people start dying in horrifying ways. No one is equipped to deal with something like this, but least of all the people on this show.
Lennon comes across sociopathic, screwing people, both physically and emotionally, at every turn. She's just awful to her twin sister, Allison, who is clearly depressed as hell. This is understandable, seeing as some time ago, their mother completed suicide. Her family and "friends," however, seem tired of her brooding smoker vibe, and her dad all but admits that Lennon is his favorite daughter.
Riley is a drug dealer with a snarky attitude, who supplies her friends - and even her mother - with a constant flow of less-than-legal treats. Moore brings depth to a character who could come across as just an angry kid, but in her portrayal shows there's clearly more than meets the eye. I'm interested to learn more about this character. Margot is a self-obsessed (but stunningly dressed) social media star. At one point, she literally live streams from a funeral. She's loud, dramatic af, and is a queen of outlandish insults, like calling the town police officer a "dry vag cop."
Johnny, who Margot calls her "queer king," seems relatively inoffensive, a life-of-the-party type, who is liked by everyone. Dylan, who gives me big J.T. Yorke from Degrassi vibes, might have been a good guy before grad night, but has since become more of a brooding JD from Heathers, minus the charisma. (Note: this is not a slight at the actor, he's great! His character just becomes very disillusioned and isolating.)
They all make for quite the motley crew, and their parents aren't much better. The twins' dad clearly prefers Lennon to Allison, and is having quite the tawdry fling in secret. Riley's mom gets drugs from her daughter, and Margot's mom seems to be desperately living vicariously through her daughter's Insta fame. This is all to say that the people of I KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER had a myriad of serious problems to work through without a crazed killing picking off the members of their small town one by one.
The dialogue is at times campy and over-the-top, but in a fun way. There are plenty of notable one-liners, like when Lennon, who is trying to convince Allison to live a little, says something about her sister not having had a sex and not being able to drive. Allison quips, "Did you just misquote Clueless at me?" The fashion is on point, and the makeup follows in Euphoria's footsteps, with lots of fun, bright colors and gems.
This take on Lois Duncan's book feels more brutal than the original film. The character that ends up becoming the rowdy teens' victim is a lot closer to the perpetrators than in the movie. The kills are also a lot more creative and brutal, with one victim meeting their end thanks to a slushie machine intubation. Note: I would not recommend this movie for kids. There's quite a bit of sex, and there is full frontal nudity.
That being said, I loved this iteration. I am sad I only got the first four episodes! I can't wait to watch the next four, as they begin airing on Amazon Prime (October 15!). If you liked the original, or - honestly, even if you didn't - this is a fresh, brutal take that should satisfy both fans of cheesy, teen horror and gory slasher films.
The first four episodes of I KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER premiere on Amazon Prime on October 14!