The streaming giants have spoken, and the streaming giants have agreed: Teen slashers are back, and what better way to drive the point home than to adapt two bestsellers: One of Us Is Lying on Peacock and I Know What You Did Last Summer on Prime.
To start with the latter: This is not your grandma’s I Know What You Did Last Summer. This Summer is edgy: Nudity, OnlyFans, drugs – it is all on display. The original’s plot? Not so much (though, admittedly I can only go by the classic Jennifer Love Hewitt vehicle). I halfway suspect the script came first and the title second, with a few hastily added scenes subsequently thrown in for the story to make sense.
Fair is fair, the setup may not be novel, but it has its charms: Twins Allison and Lennon (both portrayed by Madison Iseman) couldn’t be more different. One is, and I quote,
good, weird, and boring, the other
partying, popular, and sexual. On a fateful night, Lennon, presumably high on drugs and popularity, mows down her sister on the side of the road. Lennon’s friends panic and the group proceeds to throw Allison’s body in the water, right where the twins’ mother had committed suicide. The twist? Allison was the one driving the car; Lennon was the one who was killed. How the friend group doesn’t spot the difference between the two is beyond me – I guess
good, weird, and boring can be turned into
partying, popular, and sexual on a dime.
Then, a year after – the summer a year after – an anonymous somebody tells them they know what they did. (Last summer.)
One of Us Is Lying is not quite as contrived, and it pulls as much from The Breakfast Club as it does from the original I Know What You Did Last Summer. There is a shared DNA between the two shows, but One of Us tries a little bit harder.
We follow a group of four teens stuck in detention with Simon, a notorious high-school gossip blogger. While sipping on a glass of water, Simon goes into an anaphylactic shock. The teens unsuccessfully try to find his EpiPen, and, as these things go, the blogger dies. Left to face the blame is the group, who soon learn that they are all hiding secrets that make each one of them a suspect.
I’ll be honest: I enjoyed One of Us Is Lying. It’s a teen soap of rank, but the mystery of who did what to whom was intriguing enough to keep my interest until the end. I thought I had the twist figured out but, the layers kept on unraveling. It’s an enjoyable show with a solid cast.
I Know What You Did Last Summer has not finished its run yet, but yow… I suppose I will be there until the end, but it is a show that tries way too hard to be edgy. By the time one of the character’s OnlyFans account comes into play, it’s hard to take any parts of the story seriously. It also doesn’t help that there is zero grounding in any sort of reality: a character gets impaled by a machete and their hand cut off, yet they manage to crawl home during the span of twenty-four hours. Do these people not bleed?
All episodes of One of Us Is Lying are on Peacock; I Know What You Did Last Summer streams on Amazon. Pro-tip related to the latter: the trilogy of movies is also on Prime, including the bonkers I Always Know What You Did Last Summer, a forgotten classic. In fact, check that one out before either of the shows and relive the second teen-slasher era’s dying breaths.