LONDON: Amazon Prime’s latest reimagining of a tried-and-tested franchise sees Lois Duncan’s 1973 Young Adult novel turned into a 10-part horror series (a change in format from the 1997 movie adaptation starring Sarah Michelle Gellar and Jennifer Love Hewitt) that, much like its new platform, feels tailored for a 21st century audience. This time around, “I Know What You Did Last Summer” features a fresh roster of teenagers with questionable morals — only now they have cellphones, Instagram followers and frequently reference memes.
One year after the group of unfeasibly attractive teenagers agree to cover up a tragic car accident, they begin to be picked off, one at a time, by a mysterious killer. Frightened to go to the police and admit what they’ve done, the group begin to suspect everyone around them (and, increasingly, each other) of taking revenge for the sins of last summer.
So far, so familiar. Show creator Sara Goodman has a narrative ace up her sleeve, however, though it’s difficult to say much without erring into spoiler territory. Credit is due to lead actress Madison Iseman for elevating her character to more than just a simple scream queen.
Plaudits should also go to whoever choreographed some of the more grizzly set pieces — there is a certain macabre enjoyment in watching the characters meet their untimely end with such flamboyance. Plus, many of the main characters are written to be so unlikable that it is hard to have much sympathy for them as they are stalked by the killer.
After a flurry of initial episodes, Amazon Prime is releasing new instalments weekly, so there is a little wait before the murderer is finally unmasked — and “I Know What You Did Last Summer” plays with that, offering up multiple dead ends and bait-and-switches to ratchet up the tension. Thankfully, there are plenty of overly entitled and unpleasant teenagers left to be put through the wringer.