There is a new kid on the block and the campy suspenseful thriller might be the salve that we all need right now. Freeform’s latest series Cruel Summer follows two teenage girls whose lives got intertwined when one of them was accused of kidnapping the other.
Cruel Summer is a show that has you question the concept of motive and crime in a way that confuses you on who to root for; Kate the supposed victim or Jeanette the supposed witness to the abduction and a girl with a big motive to be seen as capable of such actions.
The teen drama takes on a more compelling narrative of pretty little liars and blends it with a delicious narrative of big sky. It is rich in narrative and the story moves at a slippery slope of creep and heightened reality of thrills and games between the two protagonists.
The suspense thriller has set up an intriguing challenge and a unique method of storytelling by allowing the story to span over three years while also making it a three days event.
The story moves in unexpected directions that can be quite gripping and twisted at the same time. From mysterious disappearances to the issue of sociopathy, this is a show with a giant mind of its own. And the mind is stretched beyond the horizon to accommodate all the characters to create an addictive but well-written story.
Cruel summer setting
The time-hopping series is set in a small sleepy town of Skylin, Texas in the 90s where everyone knows each other’s secrets and everyone is suspicious.
Cruel Summer plot
Cruel summer series explore the world of the girls across three years of summer. Kate was kidnapped in the summer of 93 and by 94, Jeanette had assumed the position of Kate by befriending Kate’s friends and even started dating Kate’s boyfriend. And by 95, the new prom queen is dealing with the aftermath of being blamed for Kate’s imprisonment.
The campy storyline is off to a promising start by having the two protagonists tell their own perspectives on a single event that may or may not be real. Jeanette, one of the two girls, is a socially awkward but cheerful teenager that took over the popularity position of Kate after she went missing. Then became the nation pariah after Kate was rescued.
Things get more complicated when Kate accuses Jeanette of knowing about the kidnapping as she was there the night she was abducted by their school principal. Although there is a chance Kate could also be lying about the abduction. Jeanette retaliates by going after Kate’s family.
Ratings and critical acclaim so far
Cruel Summer holds 91% fresh ratings on Rotten Tomatoes indicating favorable reviews. Olivia Holt’s portrayal of Kate has essentially been praised by professional critics alike who lauded the actress’s silent immersion in her character’s traits and mannerisms to show the trauma and anger of Kate’s at the world sudden acceptance of Jeanette as the golden girl of the town.