“I Know What You Did Last Summer” Is a Failure on Every Level [Digital]

After whatever that MTV reboot of “Scream” was, networks and companies seem to be learning all the wrong lessons from it. Rather than breathe new life in to a once solid slasher series, Amazon has botched it from out the gates. Instead of a tense, white knuckle slasher/murder mystery, Lois Duncan’s novel is adapted in to an erotic teen drama thriller. Think less “Slasher” and more “Riverdale.” It’s a glacially paced glorified drama with a horror tint that downplays the horror and slasher aspects of the aforementioned movie series in favor of gratuitous sex, pointless nudity, and droning dialogue.

One year after the fatal car accident that haunted their graduation night, a group of teenagers find themselves bound together by a dark secret and stalked by a brutal killer. As they try to piece together who’s after them, they reveal the dark side of their seemingly perfect town – and themselves. Everyone is hiding something, and uncovering the wrong secret could be deadly. “I Know What You Did Last Summer” takes on a new meaning as the episodes progress, turning from a doom filled threat, in to a cheap excuse for expository flashbacks.

The frame of the narrative is that there were so many events that led up to the narrative’s central murder. And it comes crashing together with every episode obviously intending on leading in to a big reveal. I don’t know if Amazon is planning an anthology format with this series, or stretching out this arc. If it’s the latter, I can’t see why anyone would want to see this nonsense through to the end. The series gives us zero motivation for seeing the mystery unfold in its completion as we follow a group of affluent, hopelessly obnoxious characters all trying to cope with their horrific deed from the previous summer. Considering Amazon is giving us the first four episodes outright, it’s disappointing that “I Know What You Did…” takes a painfully long time to get moving.

Before that, its endless clunky expositions, back story set up, silly moments where years long friends chat with one another relaying information to one another that is apparently crucial to the central mystery. Shocking enough the red herrings get so much more development than the actual main cast. Truthfully, I spent more time trying to figure out why I should care about them than actually invested in the mystery. “I Know What You Did…” dabbles more in to the horrors of small town America, their twisted secrets, and what the potential killer (killers?) has in store for these characters.

There are also many questions left on the floor for the viewers that the original films left dangling in the air. Why does no one notice the person sneaking in and out of houses leaving random body parts in places? Why is no one tracking the mysterious text messages? How is everything so intricately planted to arouse discovery and horrifying exploration at just the right moment? “I Know What You Did Last Summer” could be a great horror drama if it wasn’t so ashamed of the horror aspects it derives from. In its place we get a goofy, monotonous erotic teen drama about scandals, sex, and drug use sans the actual vicious killer ingredient that (let’s face it) we all came for.

It’s garbage and I’m okay with not following the season through to the end, unless it all boils up to a gore filled stalk and slash finale with a mind blowing reveal; I highly doubt it. 

The first four episodes Premiere on Amazon Prime Video October 15th, with the remaining four episodes available each Friday, culminating in the season finale on November 12th.