I Know What You Did Last Summer & Now I Really Wish I Didn't: Review

Amazon Prime rebooted the classic horror slasher franchise and spun it off into a series for a new generation. The eight-episode first season follows the aftermath of a hit-and-run accident five friends get into after their graduation party. But there's a lot more to the story than that – and a pretty big twist right out of the gate that makes no mistake this isn't your parents' IKWYDLS. Just so you know, I'm throwing on the "MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD!" sign for Amazon Prime's I Know What You Did Last Summer before you go any further…

I Know What You Did Last Summer
Image courtesy of Amazon Studios

Our main characters are twins Lennon and Allison – Lennon, the social butterfly, and Allison the disaffected loner. After a giant fight between the sisters, Lennon's friends hop in her jeep where she sits crying and they drive. Of course, since this is the inciting incident, Lennon runs over Allison, who decided to walk home and she's now dead. The teens decide to hide her body in a cave for the tide to take care of it – just like how the local cult killed themselves back in the day. She was a loner anyway, so they just say she ran off and they're all free to continue about their lives and go off to college.

I Know What You Did Last Summer & Now I Really Wish I Didn't: Review
Image courtesy of Amazon Studios

…Except that wasn't Allison they killed. That's right – the twins pulled a switcheroo: that was really Allison wearing Lennon's coat sitting in the car crying, leaving Lennon to walk home to cool off. So now Allison assumes Lennon's identity (though she does tell her dad, who's pissed but doesn't want to lose both daughters in one night, so he goes with it) and as Lennon, goes off to college. Fast forward to a year later, and that's when the real story starts.

As IKWYDLS follows a similar structure as any other story of the slasher genre, someone has discovered their secret and starts picking the teens involved off one by one. The story was creatively different enough from the original film iteration, though the format was far too spread out and included a lot of unnecessary drama, backstory, and b-storylines that took away from the main plot rather than adding to it.

Perhaps the most disappointing thing of all is the ending – the killer is Margot, Lennon's girlfriend & a stereotype of a rich, hyper-trendy influencer. Of not unimportant note, given that the show takes place in Hawaii, they do a good job casting a town full of Asian and Pacific Islander representation; however, Margot is the only Asian cast member of the main group to survive more than two episodes. And she turns out to be the killer all along…while her mom and bodyguard were in on it and helped her murder not only her friends but other innocent townspeople who poked around their secret.

I Know What You Did Last Summer
Brianne Tju and Madison Iseman in I Know What You Did Last Summer. Image courtesy of Amazon Studios

And the secret in question isn't the murder of Allison, but the fact that Allison had been pretending to be Lennon this whole time. In a weirdly cute ending that oddly felt fitting (and in a similar spirit to the original film), "Lennon" and Margot, each knowing each other's secret, frame Dylan for everything and ride off into the sunset together, as it were.

The ending of IKWYDLS doesn't feel undeserved; it just feels unsatisfying for a show that went on for seven episodes prior to it. This suffers from "streaming bloat" common with streaming original series: it would be a good, solid series if it cut down on unnecessary fluff and drama and capped out at 4-6 episodes. True, the original film it's based on also feels relatively slow, but the series had a chance to improve on that and make something totally different – they took liberties in every other aspect.

Though creatively different enough, the series does itself a disservice by taking the IKWYDLS name; it's closer to a spiritual sequel than it is a remake. The nods to the original are nice – including a scene at a community fair where Margot is wearing the crown from the original – however, it isn't enough to satisfy fans of the original film.

The series left it open for a second season with Dylan taking the blame for Margot's murders, Lennon and Margot together, and Riley's honey-preserved cult-ritual dead body somehow coming back to life in a giant freezer. But it shouldn't get a second season. Not only is this story that it was telling finished, but nobody is going to be eager enough to sit through over a month of weekly releases for a lackluster suspense story that's too spread out. The cult stuff is weird and even though it's clear now it was just a setup for season two, it still feels cheap – like sitting through an entire YouTube video just to realize it was an ad all along.

By the end of it, it's unclear who should get the win of a happy life because the survivors are all pretty terrible people – it's hard to have a satisfying ending when everyone is deeply unlikeable and the characters that the audience did connect with are killed off early on. It was entertaining enough and given a choice, it might be fun to skim-binge now that it's all out, but with literally thousands of other choices of what to watch, there are much better horror series and teen drama series out there. Riverdale is coming back for a sixth season, and the new Chucky show is pretty good…

Amazon Prime's I Know What You Did Last Summer's first season is streaming now.

Amazon Prime's I Know What You Did Last Summer

I Know What You Did Last Summer
Review by Eden Arnold

Amazon's I Know What You Did Last Summer is definitely not a remake, the pace moves slowly, and seems more about the drama than the kills or suspense. It's more akin to a teen drama found during The CW's earlier days than a slasher movie. It's not bad and it showed some promise initially, but it's just not worthy of the IKWYDLS moniker.

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About Eden Arnold

Eden enjoys watching baking shows with her cat, and they have lots of opinions about television (as well as movies and everything else). She puts this to good use along with her journalism degree and writing experience with by-lines over the years in newspapers, magazines, books, and online media outlets. You can find her on Twitter and IG at @Edenhasopinions.
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