Review: 'I Know What You Did Last Summer' is Saddled With a Lackluster Script

by Kevin Taft

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Thursday October 14, 2021

'I Know What You Did Last Summer'
'I Know What You Did Last Summer'  (Source:Amazon Studios)

I'm sure the pitch for the series "remake" of "I Know What You Did Last Summer" felt like a no-brainer. Similar to recent hits "Pretty Little Liars" and "Cruel Summer," it feels natural to take an existing property and update it for modern audiences. But in doing so, it would be good to remember to make at least one character (that doesn't get killed off right away) likeable.

Taking the concept of the Lois Duncan book, and completely running in other directions with it, the TV series version of the book and popular '90s film (and its sequel), creator Sara Goodman has somehow made a simple idea overly complicated and filled it with so many despicable characters there is literally not one person to root for. Not only that, but the dialogue is pat and unrealistic. No teen talks like this, and the result is everyone walking around and reacting to the world as if it's a constant annoyance.

The show starts with the event that triggers the series. Set curiously in Hawaii, the story begins with graduation night. The local parents are throwing a party for their kids (which includes drinking and all). Two estranged twins meet up, and while the rebel Lennon takes her reserved sister Allison (both played by Madison Iseman) aside to doll her up for the big party, there is lot of drama within their group of friends — none of whom are nice people, except for maybe Dylan (Ezekial Goodman), but he later turns dour and mean.

As Lennon and Allison argue about their standing with their father, their past, the loss of their mother, and Allison's obvious crush on Dylan, everyone gets mad at everyone else. Eventually the crew find themselves in a car driven by Lennon. As they all argue exactly like friends don't (why are they even friends with rich bitch Margot played by Brianne Tju?) there is distraction and they accidentally hit someone in the middle of the road. That person is Lennon's twin, Allison. Or is it? (You'll have to watch the show to see what I'm talking about.)

The motley group of teens inexplicably decide to throw the body in a watery cave (that used to house a cult!) and pretend that Allison just ran away. (See? They are awful people. In the original, it was a nobody the group killed. Here, it's one of their own. They. Are. Awful.)

Eventually, Lennon admits to her father what happened (huh?) and he decides to keep the secret (double-huh?), which is made even worse by the fact that some people aren't who they say they are.

This is where the audience literally has to spend half of the episodes trying to remember who the twin is that's alive, and who among the characters thinks she's Lennon, versus those who think she's Allison. It's mind-numbing.

Eventually, we know that a year later someone says they know what this crew did last summer, and they need to come together in order to figure out what to do.

The first episode is a slog to get through, with most of the episode taking place at the aforementioned party full of narcissistic, self-involved teenagers. Then the accident occurs, the terrible decision follows, and then comes the year-later reveal that someone knows something.

While the show is based on the slasher movie, murders don't occur until the second episode. I won't give away who is killed first, but seriously? That person? (The only likeable character on the entire show?)

As the threats by a mystery person escalate and videos of the people this phantom is killing off are sent to the core crew, the characters get more and more annoying. They yell, bitch, complain, argue.... Not one person has an ounce of empathy. Not one person can think of anyone else but themselves, and more than once they make quippy comments that I think the writers want the audience to think are clever, quotable lines, but in context they are offensive.

To be transparent, I received four episodes and could only make it through three. There is nothing scary or all that interesting about this reboot, and the slowness of the plot, the irritating characters, and the confusing twin angle make this a show I can't see fans of the original enjoying.

I give credit to Iseman, who is able to create two radically different personalities for the twin sisters and keep it believable throughout, but she's saddled by a lackluster script, a horrible cast of characters, and a mystery no one will ultimately care about.

"I know What You Did Last Summer" premieres on Amazon Prime October 15th.

Kevin Taft is a screenwriter/critic living in Los Angeles with an unnatural attachment to 'Star Wars' and the desire to be adopted by Steven Spielberg.