Is ‘I Know What You Did Last Summer’ Worth Watching?

The first four episodes of Amazon Studios and Sony Pictures TV’s young adult horror series, ‘I Know What You Did Last Summer,’ were just released on October 15, 2021, and we at Horror Facts decided to binge-watch all four episodes.

The series is a modern retelling of the 1997 identically titled slasher film which told the story of a group of four friends who accidentally hit and kill a man on their graduation night. Rather than report the crime, the teenagers decide to dump the body and keep what happened that night a secret. A year later, they are stalked by a killer who knows what they did and is out for revenge.

Amazon’s ‘I Know What You Did Last Summer’ series follows roughly the same format, with our new cast of teens engaging in wild parting on their graduation night which ultimately results in them accidentally killing someone after deciding to leave the party despite no one being in any real condition to drive.

The series, however, takes a much different turn from the movie in that the pedestrian they strike down is not an unknown man but, rather, someone the group knows.

Returning to the same premise, the group dumps the body and everyone agrees to tell no one what happened that night.

This whole situation happens at the end of the first episode but, to get there, you are going to have to endure the first episode.

The premiere episode, titled ‘It’s Thursday,’ starts by showing us Lennon (Madison Iseman) returning home after being away at college for a year. When she returns, she is greeted with an ominous message written on her mirror claiming, “I Know What You Did Last Summer.” We then cut to the summer before, where we see the infamous graduation party. This is where the episode spends about 90% of its runtime to establish our new cast of teens, which includes Margot (Brianne Tju), Dylan (Ezekiel Goodman), Riley (Ashley Moore), Johnny (Sebastian Amoruso), and Iseman, who plays the dual role of twin sisters Lennon and Allison.

The first episode is a bit tough to get through, as this is where it leans heavily into the YA content. In the end, you will learn that not one of our principal cast is a decent or likable character. Despite what ‘I Know What You Did Last Summer’ show-runner Sara Goodman said during the Amazon panel at ComicCon@home back in July about the characters being “layered,” they seem pretty one dimensional in this episode and in the three that follow.

If only the one episode of ‘I Know What You Did Last Summer’ had aired, it would have been a hard sell to want to come back the following week. But, as we established, the first four episodes released at the same time, so the show must go on.

Going into the next episode, titled ‘It’s Not Just for Dog Shit,’ the series continues on the same thread as the movie, with the estranged friends reuniting to discuss the fact that Lennon received a message informing her that someone knows about the accident.

This episode attempts to expand on the teens’ characters, but it serves to further the stereotypical roles they have been placed in as the socialite, the gay best friend, the brooding intellect, and the troubled character with the tough upbringing. The only characters in the series that appear to experience any depth are the ones played by Iseman. 

This second episode also serves to establish the series’ supporting cast of characters, which includes Bruce (Bill Heck), Lennon and Allison’s father; Lyla (Fiona Rene), a local cop; Courtney (Cassie Beck), Riley’s troubled mom; Dale (Spencer Sutherland), a less than savory individual; Kelly Craft (Chrissie Fit), the ex-wife of Johnny’s new boyfriend; Hannah Scalon (Danielle Delaunay), Dylan’s hippie mother; Doug Cruise (Eric William Morris), another local cop; Harold (Dann Seki), an employee of Bruce’s; and Clare (Brooke Bloom), whose character is still shrouded in mystery.

It’s in this second episode of ‘I Know What You Did Last Summer’ that we are reminded that we’re watching a slasher series, as one of the primary cast members is brutality murdered by an unknown assailant – an assailant who now appears to be sending messages from the car crash victim’s phone.

The story then continues into the third episode, ‘A Gorilla Head Will Not Do,’ where our teens are now faced with the reality that someone knows their secret and is out for revenge. Not entirely convinced that the person they killed a year ago could be responsible for the murders, Lennon soon starts to investigate the killer. Although originally reluctant to help, her friends eventually decide to join her and they discover that the killer has struck again, claiming the life of another person who was on the road the night of the accident.

The final episode, ‘Hot Shrimp Salad,’ sees Lennon once again investigating the killer, as she continues to foolishly follow their game. She soon questions her beliefs and is willing to accept that the killer is truly who they claim to be.

However, a startling discovery derails this notion and she is once again left to wonder who the unknown killer is that is stalking them.

Another pair of gruesome murders reminds the gang – and us – that the killer is still out there and they are still coming for them!

The only downside to each episode is the show’s desire to keep returning to the graduation night party. There, it attempts to give you each person’s perspective of the events that took place at the party. This is an attempt to develop the characters but, in the end, it does little to change our initial opinions of them or to further the story in any way.

The B storyline throughout each episode has the character of Bruce working hard to keep the events of that night a secret to protect his daughter. There is a lot more to this character than we are led to believe, and it’s evident that Bruce knows more than he is letting on.

Overall, the series has captured the interest of the staff here at Horror Facts.

For the first couple of episodes, the series presents the viewer with the idea that the killer could only be one particular person, with the odd moment where you’ll find yourself wondering if it could potentially be another person. That all changes with episode four, where the playing field opens up and we’re truly left wondering who the killer is.

Having this change of direction halfway into the series is a risky move. For the next four episodes, we’ll be guessing who the killer is and, if it does not live up to our expectations, the series runs the risk of seriously letting down the audience.

Let’s hope that the remainder of the ‘I Know What You Did Last Summer’ episodes manage to keep up the pace that the first four were able to generate.

The as yet unnamed fifth episode is scheduled to air on October 22, 2021. There is no official description for this episode at this time.