Amazon’s “I Know What You Did Last Summer” Is the Stupidest Thing I’ve Ever Seen

You’re probably wondering why a middle-age lesbian who’s scared of her own shadow is writing about a horror series based on an iconic ’90s slasher, but the truth is: why not me? I Know What You Did Last Summer is a show about teens doing murder, and there are twins at the middle, and one of them is named Allison. I have plenty of experience with that.

On paper, I’m not qualified to write about this show at all, but, in reality, I’m perfect for it because these homicidal youths all talk like they’re 40 years old and act exactly like what people my age think Kids These Days are up to, which, in addition to murder, is heavily abusing drugs while Instagramming about the public threesomes they’re having in the living room while all their parents sit idly by in the den sharing a charcuterie board and reading the Wall Street Journal. I don’t know much about stabby cinema, but I do know Amazon’s serialized remake of Kevin Williamson’s classic film (based on Lois Duncan’s novel of the same name) makes Pretty Little Liars look like high art; it’s maybe the stupidest thing I have ever seen in my life.

Allison stands in front of a mirror that says I KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER in pink lipstick

NEXT TIME IT’LL BE YOUR FACE, NOT THIS PUMPKIN. — A

Except for the part where one teen guy gets snuffed instantaneously after declaring, “I’m horny!” That part was masterful and I’m considering sneaking into the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences to nominate it for an Emmy.

So these twins, they’re named Lennon and Allison, and they’re both played by Madison Iseman. Lennon and Allison’s mom died by suicide (SUPPOSEDLY). They’re both obviously messed up by it, although Allison’s grief is more obvious and Lennon mostly makes jokes about it while doing her Instagram and her casual sex. When Lennon returns home to Hawaii after her freshman year of college, things are weird with her family and friends. There’s Margot (Brianne Tju) a famous Instagram personality; Riley (Ashley Moore), a drug dealer or something, her personality changes in every episode; Dylan (Ezekiel Goodman), a Holden Caulfield; and Johnny (Sebastian Amoruso), a football player. Also there’s a severed goat head and some lipstick talking about I KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER scrawled on Lennon’s mirror.

And that’s when everybody starts dying. Luckily for me, most of the carnage happens off-screen, but apparently blood and guts and shock are one of the main reasons people watch horror, so probably the invisible butchery isn’t as much fun for real fans of the genre.

Who all’s gay here? Well, it’s Lennon and Margot, whose lesbian tongue kissing was graded A+++ by Riese in the trailer. Margot is your classic influencer, impossibly beautiful and snapping pics of herself like it’s her job because it’s her job. At first it seems like their whole deal is the closest thing we’re going to get to ’90s teen TV — by which I mean: elicit homosexual mouth smashing for ratings. But their relationship starts getting explored for real in episode four, “Hot Shrimp Salad,” which is, incidentally, another way to die. If you can make it that far, you can start getting some answers. Or whatever it is this show thinks passes for “answers.”

Margot and Allison sit on the bed together

You’re telling us there are literally zero Native Hawaiians in this main cast?

I have hardly ever seen plot holes this big, and I must note that I watched and recapped every episode of Glee. But the billion times I said “wait what?” during the first five episodes of this show actually didn’t bother me as much as the way the whole series seems written as a vehicle (lol) for judging teenagers? These idiots with their phones and their fucking and the way they say “low-key” and “sus” every other second, am I right? And also the way the show’s main plot twist is too twin to handle. Twinner even than Sweet Valley High. Twinner even than Pretty Little Liars. Or maybe twin in exactly those ways. Twin in ways that are nothing new, except maybe the idea that everyone really is gay now.

And whoops, I’ve said too much.

I Know What You Did Last Summer seems less interested in being a serialized horror remake and more interested capitalizing on Riverdale‘s never-ending popularity in pitch meetings and not letting the Gossip Girl reboot corner the market on stalker nostalgia. But it takes itself way too seriously to deserve either one of those comparisons. I Know What You Did Last Summer is my first real brush with classic horror, and it’s also the first time I’ve ever fallen asleep watching someone’s head get chopped off.


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heatherannehogan

Heather Hogan is an Autostraddle senior editor who lives in New York City with her wife, Stacy, and their cackle of rescued pets. She's a member of the Television Critics Association, the Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and a Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer critic. You can also find her on Twitter, and Instagram.

Heather has written 1243 articles for us.

9 Comments

  1. This does take the bloom off the rose of the (quite positive) review I read from a (straight, alas) critic I normally trust – will ensure I at least have a beer in hand as I give it the chance I still want to (but also…it’s in HAWAII??)

  2. Oh, it’s a total hot mess and I can’t stop watching it. I’m actually hate-watching this show because I need to know if I’m right. The first twist was so obvious, it was like Paula Dean getting Turkey-ed, like in your face obvious. I’m pretty sure I know who the bloody scribe is and if they try and drag this out until a season 2 reveal, I will write a message on my own mirror about what happened while I was watching this hoo-ha.

  3. Hey Heather & Autostraddle writers more generally, I would appreciate it if you stopped using ableist terms like “stupid” (also “dumb,” “idiots,” “crazy,” “insane”) on this site. It is a continuing issue I’ve noticed, and cutting out those terms would be a great way to stop perpetuating ableism, which I know is one of Autostraddle’s values.

  4. Heather, I had no intention of watching this before I read this review, and I have no intention of watching it after reading the review, but of course, I HAD To read the review, just to see you eviscerate this show with your vicious, vicious words. Thank you for this gift!

  5. This show is indeed dumb as hell and will age like milk, and the first episode’s “twist” was incredibly obvious, but I’m still enjoying it and invested in finding out what’s going on. What can I say? Sometimes I like Trash. And with only eight episodes, this at least doesn’t have all the pointless filler of your PLLs or your Riverdales. (Also, of the killer, Iseman says, “For me it was a shock, but then I went back and looked at it and the pieces are all there. What’s so great about it is it’s not a let-down and they’re not trying to hide it from you. If you were to sit down and analyze every single episode, you could figure it out. There’s definitely a bunch of misleads, but it’s there — it’s just hidden in the craziness of our show.”)

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