I Know What You Did Last Summer Walks The Line Of So Bad It’s Good
By Kory Glover
Upon recently entering my thirties, I’ve come to watch certain horror films with a new perspective; the perspective that absolutely despises teenager characters.
Okay, maybe that’s a little too harsh. Still, you must admit that horror movies have a way of stereotyping teenagers in a bad light. They’re obnoxious, loud, and always seem to have this mentality that the whole world is on their shoulder… even when it’s just high school. Wait until they find out what life has in store for them in their later years.
This was my introduction to I Know What You Did Last Summer, Amazon’s newest nostalgic cash-in.
For the most part, the series follows the storyline of the original film of a group of teenagers accidentally killing someone in a hit-and-run. Not wanting to get in trouble with the police, they hatch a plan to dump the body incognito and never breathe a word to anyone about what happened. But, exactly one year later, someone begins terrorizing the group and taunting them with, “I Know What You Did Last Summer.”
The series also manages to borrow a little bit from the original 1973 novel by focusing more on this story’s mystery aspect, which I’ll admit is a breath of fresh air. While the original 1997 film was serviceable for its time, it was just another teen slasher film like the rest. Nothing really sets it apart from others of its kind.
Lois Duncan, the author of the book, even went on record to say that she was “appalled” that they turned her mystery-thriller novel into a slasher film. So, while not perfect, it is refreshing that they are at least trying to keep some elements of the book going.
The series also introduces some new plot elements and characters that help it stand out.
The first episode opens on prom night. Everyone is doing what teenagers in horror do best; obnoxiously drink, do drugs, have wild sex and blah, blah, blah. At the center is twins Alison and Lennon (Madison Iseman), who could not be more polar opposite.
Alison is described as “weird,” which is basically the show’s way of saying she’s quiet and introverted, who is still recovering from her mother’s suicide. On the other hand, Lennon is a social party girl who likes to drink and snort her feelings away.
When secrets become revealed about her sister, Lennon and Alison engage in an argument that ends in tears and betrayal. Unable to cope with the party, Lennon jumps into the car, along with her other friends, drives off, and you know the story from here.
One of the reasons I absolutely despised this series from the beginning is the absurdness of the Y/A factor. The prom is literally being held at one of the teen’s houses, being chaperoned by parents, and they still just drink, smoke, snort and just do whatever they want. I’d like to say the parents are just oblivious, but you start to wonder if they even care at all after a while.
The inclusion of twins in this story was a welcomed change of pace, but you immediately guess the big “twist” later on. Unfortunately, while Alison and Lennon are different in personality, the show does nothing to physically set apart.
They dress these two up in the same outfit and even give them the same haircut, and we’re immediately supposed to remember which is which. It becomes incredibly confusing at specific points. I know they’re setting up plot points later, but it doesn’t really help when the show is trying to set up character development.
It also doesn’t help that the editing is entirely garbage throughout the series.
Fast editing and quick cuts can be an effective tool that can enhance an action scene, but when you put them in a normal average scene, you tend you lose track of what just happened. It’s not only infuriating, but it also makes the audience lose track of what just happened in the scene.
However, upon further viewing, I found myself unable to turn it off. Not because it was innovative or even that original, but because it just keeps throwing insanity at the audience, you become entranced. Each episode just constantly throws ridiculous dialogue and plot twists that basically leave you no choice but to keep watching and see where the writers are going with this.
What started out as a tedious teen slasher eventually transformed into something that, while not good, was so bonkers that I couldn’t help but give in to the madness. But, I will admit that some aspects deserve praise in this reboot.
In all honesty, I Know What You Did Last Summer is exactly what horror fans need at this time of year. A goofy, dumb horror trip that will satisfy your cravings throughout the Halloween season. There’s a new episode each Friday, so jump on into the madness with me.