New teen drama on Amazon Prime Video, Cruel Summer is a breathtaking thriller about the crossed destinies of two teenage girls in the 1990s. Is the series worth a look?
WHAT IS IT ABOUT ?
Cruel Summer is an unconventional series that takes place over three summers in the ’90s, when a beautiful and popular teenage girl goes missing and another teenage girl, shy and awkward and seemingly unrelated to the first, suddenly becomes the icon of the city before turning into America’s most despised person. Each episode is told by alternating points of view.
The entire first season of Cruel Summer is available on Amazon Prime Video. Episodes seen: 10/10.
WHO IS IT WITH?
Produced by Bert V. Royal (Easy A), Tia Napolitano (Scandal) and Jessica Biel, among others, Cruel Summer brings together some familiar faces. The two heroes are played by Chiara Aurelia, seen in the thriller Jessie, the series Tell me your secrets and more recently in Fear Street: 1978, and Olivia Holt, star of the Disney Channel who then joined the Marvel team by camping the heroine Tandy Bowen in the series Cloak & Dagger.
Among the other teenagers in the series, we find Froy Gutierrez (Teen Wolf) and Harley Quinn Smith, the daughter of Kevin Smith who illustrated herself in The Masters of the Universe and in the last film of Quentin Tarantino, but also Allius Barnes (Unbelievable) and Nathaniel Ashton (Mr Mercedes).
On the adult side, series fans will recognize Sarah Drew, who played April Kepner in Grey’s Anatomy, Michael Landes (Lois and Clark), Brooklyn Sudano (My Family First), Andrea Anders (Joey, Young Sheldon) and Blake Lee (Parks and Recreation).
WELL WORTH A LOOK ?
“It’s a cruel, cruel summer …”. There couldn’t be a better title than the hit Bananarama to announce the color of this new young adult series on Amazon Prime Video. Except that it is not one but three cruel summers that will live Jeanette Turner (Chiara Aurelia) and Kate Wallis (Olivia Holt), the two heroines linked forever by a terribly event.
The kidnapping of Kate, a popular and highly regarded high school student in Skylin, Texas, by Vice Principal Martin Harris (Blake Lee) will turn the community upside down. But the drama will turn into a nightmare when the teenager resurfaces and accuses the discreet and ambitious Jeanette of not having reported her disappearance and of having “taken her life”, making Jeannette the most hated person in the country.
By drawing the crossed portraits of these two young women who are completely opposed but united by a dark secret, Cruel Summer draws with brio and authenticity the outlines of American youth of the 1990s. The brilliant writing of showrunneuse Tia Napolitano (Scandal, Grey’s Anatomy ) makes the series created and developed by Bert V. Royal, to whom we owed the excellent teen comedy Easy A with Emma Stone, ultra realistic on the social pressures exerted on young women in adolescence.
It is these heavy societal standards that will lead Jeannette and Kate to experience horrors for three summers, from 1993 to 1995. The series indeed follows three temporalities simultaneously and the showrunneuse succeeds in this jaw-dropping exercise by perfectly alternating the sequences with all consistency. maintaining the suspense and tension until a confusing finale.
We can sometimes feel overwhelmed by the overload of information and the alternation between temporalities at the beginning of the series but no scene is free and everything overlaps as the episodes twists and turns. The form of Cruel Summer makes everything very entertaining and we get involved quite quickly in the intrigue and the investigation around the disappearance of Kate and the consequences which ensue from it.
In addition to the rhythm and the suspense, the series benefits from a superb soundtrack, with the best hits of the 1990s that will appeal to both the younger generation and the nostalgic. Cruel Summer perfectly transcribes the atmosphere of the time, whether in the customs or in the clothing style of the teenagers of the time.
If the shape of the series is attractive, the substance is not to be outdone. Through the story of Kate and Jeannette, impeccably interpreted by …