'I Know What You Did Last Summer' Review: An Original Take on the Classic Movie

'I Know What You Did Last Summer' review. The Amazon original boasts strong dialogue and suspense, but could use some work in other areas.

Chrissy Bobic - Author

Oct. 15 2021, Published 12:00 p.m. ET

Madison Iseman in 'I Know What You Did Last Summer'
Source: Amazon Prime

No one asked for a TV adaptation of the 90’s horror classic I Know What You Did Last Summer, but Amazon Prime gave us one anyway. Well, sort of. It’s a similar story, but one that works as a standalone production, too. Based on the book of the same name, the show is written by Lana Cho (Arrow), Gary Tieche (AMC’s Preacher), and Sara Goodman (Gossip Girl).

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The Amazon series has the same general premise as the 1997 movie, but if you’re looking for a straight adaptation of the film that made Sarah Michelle Gellar a temporary scream queen, this isn't it.

The show follows five friends. One of them, Lennon, is drunk behind the wheel of a car when she hits her twin sister, Allison. Lennon and her friends agree to cover up the murder and move on with their lives. But this is I Know What You Did Last Summer, and like the kids in the original, these teens are haunted by what they did.

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I Know What You Did Last Summer

Our Rating

I Know What You Did Last Summer is a reboot with suspense, mystery, and a new twist.

Release Date: October 15, 2021

Network: Amazon Prime

Cast: Madison Iseman, Brianne Tju, Ezekiel Goodman, Ashley Moore

Creator: Sara Goodman

Rating: TV-MA

Alternating between flashbacks of the fateful night and the present-day, I Know What You Did Last Summer features music that strays from the top 40 hits that have become commonplace in similar teen mysteries. The soundtrack includes songs with an EDM slant, augmenting the mysterious yet dramatic tone the writers aim to strike.

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As the mystery unfolds and the body count rapidly climbs, viewers learn more about Lennon and Allison’s past and what happened in the minutes leading up to the accident. While murder is a given in this show, how exactly the murders come about in each episode displays the writers’ inventiveness.

How and when each killing occurs is always surprising, and fosters a needed degree of unpredictability in each episode.

Ashley Moore in 'I Know What You Did Last Summer'
Source: Amazon Prime
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The show’s *vibe* — as Gen Z-ers might say — definitely separates it from the string of cheap teen dramas that have come to define the CW, like Riverdale or The Vampire Diaries.

From Episode 1, it's clear that this particular teen mystery isn’t about unrealistic teen dialogue. They don’t speak to each other like they’re older than they are. They use phrases that real-life Gen Z kids use.

They call Swimfan an “old movie,” so you know it’s legit. The show isn't written by teenagers, but you can tell the writers understand how kids talk to each other.

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By the end of the first episode, there’s a massive twist that sets the tone for the series and is bound to perk you up if you were quick to write the show off as a cheap remake of the '90s movie.

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The twist arrives at a perfect time, as the writers could have dragged out the reveal, but instead give viewers a nugget of excitement early in the series.

The next three episodes are a blur of unexpected sex scenes (these teens are part of one big love pentagon because almost all of them sleep with each other at some point). The intimate scenes (if you can call them that) sometimes feel gratuitous, but they do add to most of the past and present storylines.

They underscore Lennon and her friends’ various dynamics and explain why Lennon might have more enemies in her social circle than initially suggested.

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Madison Iseman and Brianne Tju in 'I Know What You Did Last Summer'
Source: Amazon Prime

Though most of the characters are believable as recent high school grads, there are aspects to I Know What You Did Last Summer that will leave you wondering if they were included for mere shock value — like lots of underage drinking and drug use with little to no legal consequences.

That being said, I Know What You Did Last Summer does stand on its own as a murder mystery that takes a few cues from the OG movie and puts its own spin on the story. Be ready to be torn on who to suspect and who to root for.

Watch new episodes of I Know What You Did Last Summer Fridays on Amazon Prime.

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