With a new installment of “Scream” set to premiere in theaters in January, “I Know What You Did Last Summer,” which hits Amazon Prime Video as a series this Friday, won’t be alone in trying to resurrect the bloody teen terror for the new millennium.
The subgenre that gained audiences in the 1970s and 1980s and became known as “slasher horror” — from “slash”, to cut, the way plot characters are often treated, one by one, by a serial killer — has made some inroads. for the last decade, but none as successful as the two “cinefranchises” that took off in the mid-1990s.
With this new incarnation, Amazon promises to test the lode in new times, in which teenage encounters seem to occur much more in virtual environments than in deserted camps or soporific streets.
The story, divided into eight episodes, continues to be based on the book released by Lois Duncan in 1973. It deals with a group of teenagers from a small town who, upon completing high school, end up accidentally killing someone and, desperate, give end to the corpse.
A year later, the group that had taken different paths meets again and, one by one, begins to be threatened by a murderer with the message that gives the title to the production.
From then on, the spectator will be entertained (1) trying to find out who the killer is (2) waiting for the next character to be killed, always with an unorthodox method.
In this 2021 version, some elements have been incorporated into the plot: the death in the first episode has a deeper and more disturbing connection with the characters, and the chase plot has been taken to the mostly digital environment in which we spend our time.
The effect is that the consistency with which the heroine feels stalked becomes far more distressing (and familiar) than in the original—we are tracked, watched, and called for messages all the time, after all.
If the 1997 film brought together a cast already raised to the status of teen idols at the time —Jennifer Love Hewitt, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Ryan Phillippe and Freddie Prinze Jr.— and carried the signature of Kevin Williamson, who had just revived the genre by soaking it of irony in “Scream”, here the cast is yet to burst.
Madison Iseman (Allison/Lennon), Brianne Tju (Margot), Ezekiel Goodman (Dylan), Ashley Moore (Riley) and Sebastian Amoruso (Johnny) do the job that’s expected of them, and, even if nothing memorable, it’s possible that the series gains the survival it had in the movies. The adult cast, headed by Bill Heck, is a step short.
The 2021 version also offers something more in terms of family drama to try to take the characters out of the two-dimensionality they are usually condemned to. Nothing, however, that can get rid of the clichés that tend to swarm in productions like this. It remains to wait for “Panic”.
‘I Know What You Did Last Summer’ premieres this Friday (15th) on Amazon Prime Video
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