Amazon’s ‘I Know What You Did Last Summer’ Reboot Has Nudity and Drugs But No Hook

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Yahoo! Voices 14 October, 2021 - 11:00am 2 views

'I Know What You Did Last Summer' Has Nudity and Drugs Now—But No Hook

The Daily Beast 14 October, 2021 - 08:20pm

On Wednesday night, the "Toxic" singer posted a video montage to Instagram showing off an array of different outfits. And if one of them looks familiar, well you're not the only one to notice. Spears called out the outfit with the pageboy cap and said what we were all thinking: "Hmmmm something looks familiar …. The hat 👒 …. wait I look 👀 like that girl in the Justin Timberlake video with that hat in Cry Me A River !!!," she wrote in the caption of the video.

The particular outfit she's referring to included a black lace shirt and a tight white pencil skirt that she paired with black booties and a gray pageboy cap, similar to the one she wore to the Crossroads premiere in 2002 alongside Timberlake (and the one that was then later seen in Timberlake's music video for "Cry Me a River").

"Oh shit that's ME !!!," she continued. "I'm Britney Spears ⭐️ ??? I guess I forget that sometimes 🙊 😂 🤷🏼‍♀️ …"

Timberlake's "Cry Me a River" song and video were released in 2002, shortly after the couple's split (and after she wore the cap). According to Entertainment Tonight, he finally admitted that the song was about Spears in 2011 after initially denying it.

Spears also commented on the video in a 2011 interview with Rolling Stone.

"He called me up and behind it was, 'And by the way, you're in a video that's coming out. Don't worry about it. It's not a big deal,'" she explained at the time. "So the record label called and said, 'If you want to change this, you can.' I had the power to say no to the video. But I didn't, because I thought, 'Hey, it's your video.'"

She continued, "I hadn't seen it. Then it came out, and I said, 'I should've freakin' said no to this s**t!' I was so like, 'Woah. What is going on right now?' I think it looks like such a desperate attempt, personally. But that was a great way to sell the record. He's smart. Smart guy."

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Amazon’s I Know What You Did Last Summer reboot hides its few thrills

The A.V. Club 14 October, 2021 - 03:15pm

The show is inspired by Lois Duncan’s 1973 novel and the subsequent 1997 film of the same name. The first two movies of the franchise, led by Jennifer Love-Hewitt, helped revitalize the slasher genre in the late ’90s along with the Scream franchise. The TV adaptation does nothing of the sort; it’s not as campy, slick, or even as clever as it wants to be.

Sara Goodman; based on Lois Duncan's novel and the 1997 film of the same name

Madison Iseman, Ezekiel Goodman, Brianne Tju, Ashley Moore, Sebastian Amoruso, Bill Heck, Fiona Rene, Brooke Bloom

Friday, October 15 with four episodes on Amazon Prime Video

Hour-long YA thriller; four of eight episodes watched for review

IKWYDLS moves into the 21st century with characters of color and sexually fluid teens. However, the show treats inclusivity as a checklist; the writing and most performances are frustratingly one-note. Changing the setting to the small Hawaiian town of Wai Huna doesn’t add much depth, even if it’s clear the residents are harboring quite a few secrets.

The series follows twin sisters Lennon and Allison (Madison Iseman, pulling double duty). They’re polar opposites and constantly fighting because of it: Lennon is wild and popular, while Allison is the social outcast. And they grew further apart after their mother’s death by suicide a few years ago. The tug-of-war between their two personalities is the only potent and moving aspect of the series.

The premiere kicks off with an intense party on graduation night. Lennon and Allison have a complicated fight resulting in them storming off with friends—well, Lennon’s friends—in tow. These pals include Dylan (Ezekiel Goodman), Margot (Brianne Tju), Johnny (Sebastian Amoruso), and Riley (Ashley Moore). As in the film, the teens accidentally crash into someone on the highway. Instead of calling the cops, they dispose of the body and promise to never tell a soul. The twist is the person who was run over isn’t a stranger, but someone closer to home. A year later, the group is now being tormented by an axe-wielding murderer who is seeking revenge for, yes, what they did last summer.

All the teens stick to their respective archetypes: Margot is a clichéd social media addict who loves using the phrase “high-key”; Dylan is the broody and intelligent type; Johnny is the kind, gay friend. The show’s repetitive writing makes it clear to the audience that none of these characters will go beyond their defining traits, with no meaningful evolution or insight into any of the characters or their relationships.

As the de facto lead, Iseman is the only one to benefit from slightly more fleshed-out roles than the rest of her castmates. The actor does her best to bring grit to Lennon and Allison. Moore also works hard to give Riley, the group’s drug-dealing friend, some depth, but there’s only so much the actors can do with a hackneyed script. Tju is a more experienced member of the young cast, but is saddled with the limited descriptors that don’t let her talent shine through.

I Know What You Did Last Summer Review: Even With a New Twist, This Franchise Should Have Stayed in the '90s

TV Guide 14 October, 2021 - 12:20pm

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Amazon's new series is like a horror version of 13 Reasons Why

I Know What You Did Last Summer is the best type of intellectual property to get the reboot treatment. It's remembered fondly, but it's not so classic and beloved that any remake will inevitably pale in comparison to the original. No one's youth is going to be murdered by a new version of the story, aside from the teenagers who get brutally hacked up in it. A reboot even has the potential to be better than Lois Duncan's 1973 young adult mystery novel and screenwriter Kevin Williamson's 1997 slasher movie, neither of which are great works of art. I Know What You Did Last Summer is mostly just a hooky premise (pun intended) for an enterprising writer to use as a springboard. The ideal IKWYDLS TV adaptation would have a more ambitious story with deeper characters while reviving the fun, crowd-pleasing tone of the movie. 

Amazon's new teen horror drama series reboot certainly seizes the opportunity it's been given to take the franchise in a different direction, but it doesn't really make the franchise better. And it doesn't conjure up nostalgic memories of the late '90s and early '00s. It just turns I Know What You Did Last Summer into yet another sour Gen Z drama without much personality of its own. 

The basic premise, as mentioned, remains intact, because it's so simple as to be perfect: A group of teenagers who hit a person with their car, disposed of the body, and vowed to keep what they did a secret are being hunted one year later by a mysterious killer who... knows what they did last summer. The interesting new idea that series creator Sara Goodman adds to the premise can't be discussed without spoiling the show's first twist, so spoiler warning from here on out. 

I Know What You Did Last Summer 2021 introduces a diverse group of graduating high school seniors in small-town Hawai'i. There are twin sisters Lennon and Allison (both Madison Iseman), the former of whom is popular, outgoing, and extremely messed up (think Twin Peaks' Laura Palmer), and the latter of whom is unambitious and withdrawn, and has been ever since their mother killed herself in some kind of cult mass suicide, the details of which the show keeps mysterious through the first four episodes sent for review. There's Margot (Brianne Tju), a rich, selfish social media influencer. There's Dylan (Ezekiel Goodman), a mopey boy with OCD who's in love with Allison but was seduced by Lennon in an effort to hurt her sister. There's Riley (Ashley Moore), a poor girl who deals ketamine to support herself. And finally there's Johnny (Sebastian Amoruso), a floppy-haired bisexual hunk who dreams of going to Juilliard. They've all known each other since they were little, which means they think they know everything about each other, but they all have secrets. 

One night, after a drug-fueled graduation party, Margot, Dylan, Riley, and Johnny get into Lennon's Jeep. Allison is sitting in the driver's seat, hiding out after a fight with her sister prompted by Lennon sleeping with Dylan. They think she's Lennon, and Allison doesn't bother to correct them. Allison accidentally hits Lennon in the road, and the friends — who are not Allison's friends — hide what they think is Allison's body in the very same cave where her mother died and agree to never tell anyone else what happened. 

Allison goes home and tells her father Bruce (Bill Heck) what happened, and they come up with a plan: Allison will become Lennon. They'll tell everyone Allison ran away, and Allison will take over her sister's life. 

A year later, "Lennon" comes home from college and starts getting threatening messages from someone who knows what she and her friends did, and who begins killing them and other people in town. So her life is very complicated. She has to try to figure out who's after her while also trying to keep her true identity secret. 

The secret identity twist is a clever addition that gives more narrative juice to the story to help support it over the course of a whole season instead of just 90 minutes. The show's most compelling scenes are the ones where "Lennon's" secret is threatened, or where she wishes she could be Allison and tell the truth about how she feels. There's some complexity to the character, who has to pretend to be someone she had a love-hate relationship with when she was alive. 

But that change is pretty much the only thing that works about the reboot. The rest of it is an acrid mess of edgy teen drama tropes that plays like a horror version of 13 Reasons Why. You could go down a checklist of things that are annoying in this type of show. Convoluted storytelling that overuses the device of nonlinearity? Check. Scenes that are meant to build intrigue but in practice give so little information that they're just confusing? Check. Extreme violence and images of self-harm that will make you clutch your pearls a little bit? Check. Overly of-the-moment dialogue that will make this show age like a blue slushie left outside on a Hawaiian summer day? Check and double check. The characters talk in the therapized teenspeak of social media, saying things like, "I can't even right now. This goes way beyond attention-seeking behavior." The writers tried so hard to make the teen dialogue sound "authentic" that they failed to make it distinctive. 

These flaws are all the more striking when compared to the 1997 I Know What You Did Last Summer, which is charming precisely because it's so straightforward. It's a simple story told in linear fashion with absolutely no self-aware winks to the audience. Kevin Williamson helped create the Frankenstein's monster of cliché-conscious meta-horror with his (still brilliant) script for Scream, but IKWYDLS was his anti-Scream. It's a movie that could have been made in 1981 that doesn't call attention to the fact that it could have been made in 1981.  

The new I Know What You Did Last Summer, on the other hand, can't stop drawing attention to the fact that it could have only been made right now. There's a gruesome shot in Episode 2 that was lifted from Ari Aster's 2018 hit Hereditary. That's as far back as I Know What You Did Last Summer is looking for inspiration. "Ew, old movies are so boring," a character says in the show's only acknowledgement of its source material. 

That line, in a nutshell, sums up the problems with I Know What You Did Last Summer's tone. It replaces the unpretentiousness of the movie with the same referential, Whedonesque faux-humor that's so dispiritingly grating in every other show or movie that does it. And they all do it. 

I Know What You Did Last Summer does take the franchise in a new direction narratively, which is good. But it would have been better if it had gone in that new direction while keeping the thing that was appealing about the original version. What we get instead doesn't work as either a contemporary show or a nostalgia exercise. It's just not fun enough.     

TV Guide rating: 2/5 

The first four episodes of I Know What You Did Last Summer premiere Friday, Oct. 15 on Amazon Prime Video.

I Know What You Did Last Summer review: The teen horror update hits the mark

GameSpot 13 October, 2021 - 01:00pm

I Know What You Did Last Summer tells a familiar tale of recent high-school grads targeted by a mystery killer for their crimes from the previous summer. But this outing comes with a few twists.

Amazon shared the first three episodes of I Know What You Did Last Summer with Android Authority. Below is our review of the new original series.

You can watch it on Amazon Prime Video starting October 15.

While driving home from an end-of-school party, a group of high-school seniors strikes and kills a pedestrian. Then, one year later, when they’re all home from school, a cryptic message appears at one of their homes: “I know what you did last summer.”

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Things get messier from there. Suspense builds as the teens try to protect their secret, all the while looking for the identity of the killer who’s now targeting them. Will their crime be exposed? And will they even survive long enough to face justice?

The first four episodes of the eight-episode season will be available all at once on October 15. The remaining four episodes will roll out weekly the following Fridays.

But this is very much an update of the story, and a remix of its major themes and plot points. You don’t need to have any knowledge of the source material to enjoy this. But just as importantly, you’ll get plenty out of it even if you think you know what to expect.

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There are some obvious surface changes. The new Hawaiian setting allows for some gorgeous cinematography and local cultural markers, for example. And the series naturally offers an up-to-date portrait of teen life, with everything from social media to diverse sexual orientations — several of the teens are openly queer.

The big narrative change comes in the identity of the victim and the ensuing killing spree. The teens didn’t hit an anonymous passer-by. They killed one of their classmates. And the real shocker? The victim’s twin sister was in the driver’s seat.

Plenty of twists and shocks follow, and I won’t spoil them here, but suffice it to say, there’s plenty more to this series than finding the killer. We get flashbacks to the night of the accident and cover-up, slowly building up a bigger picture of what led to, well, everything. And in the present day, the teens aren’t the only ones on the chopping block. In every corner are more secrets, betrayals, and crimes that need solving.

There’s so much going on that the central hit and run feels buried in other overlapping mysteries. In a mostly successful effort to do something new, the creators of I Know What You Did Last Summer beg the question: why bother tying this to the older film at all?

There’s something to be said for the classic set-up though. A straight remake of the 1997 film would likely underwhelm. And a reactionary update might annoy. The series instead splits the difference. Keeping a good premise but making something new out of it.

More horror reviews: Slasher is a gnarly good time on Shudder

Some of the drama and interpersonal conflicts between the main cast get a little convoluted, with the twin dynamic feeling a bit half-baked. Having said that, there’s something appealing in the sprawling sense that these characters live and breathe in a three-dimensional world. New characters with little connection to the main plot populate the narrative, coming and going in a way that evokes a real small town. An over-eager cop who thinks he’s the hero of his own story is a particularly welcome member of this B-team, adding a quirky sense of humor to the whole thing.

Amazon Prime’s willingness to let this show include drugs, sex, and some gruesome kills also gives the show a welcome, hard edge. If you’re worried about the series being tame to attract a younger audience, rest assured, this one doesn’t hold back. It’s very much a teen narrative but in the grand horror tradition of sneaking into R-rated movies when no one’s looking.

If that sounds like what you’re looking for, I Know What You Did Last Summer delivers the goods.

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