TV & Movies

Creepy US Teen Thriller Cruel Summer Has Landed In The UK

The drama was inspired by the treatment of “women in the ‘90s who got skewered in the media.”

Chiara Aurelia in Cruel Summer
Cruel Summer / Amazon Prime

Combining the eerie retro vibes of Stranger Things and the tension and emotion of thrillers like Killing Eve is Amazon Prime’s new drama Cruel Summer, which tells the tale of two teenage girls, and what happens when one of them goes missing. A dark teen thriller, Cruel Summer is produced by showrunner Tia Napolitano alongside actress Jessica Biel and Easy A screenwriter Bert V Royal (who has now sadly parted ways with the show).

The story revolves around characters Kate Wallis and Jeanette Turner. Wallis is the beautiful, blonde popular girl that everybody wants to be. But one day, she disappears. Meanwhile, the awkward and shy Jeanette Turner changes overnight, blossoming into a manicured social butterfly — but this doesn’t last long as she soon becomes the talk of the town, and not in a good way. Spanning over three years from 1993-1995, the series is told from alternating perspectives, all of which slowly unfold to reveal the truth.

Kate is played by the Olivia Holt from Cloak & Dagger and Kickin’ It, while Jeanette is played by Chiara Aurelia from Amazon’s Tell Me Your Secrets and Netflix’s Gerald’s Game. Acting alongside Holt and Aurelia are Froy Gutierrez from Teen Wolf, and Harley Quinn Smith from Once Upon a Time... In Hollywood and Supergirl, among other compelling characters.

Napolitano previously told TV Line the reasoning behind the series’ multi-perspective approach. “We looked to women in the ‘90s who kind of got skewered in the media. We looked to Monica Lewinsky or Lorena Bobbitt… they were pure villains in the media. That’s it, one side to the story,” she said.

She added, “With Cruel Summer, we get to live with these actual human beings and learn that the reality is much more of a gray area than just a black-and-white hero/villain story.” It’s fascinating and layered premise has brought good news to the show: it’s recently been renewed for Season 2.

She added, “With Cruel Summer, we get to live with these actual human beings and learn that the reality is much more of a gray area than just a black-and-white hero/villain story.” It’s fascinating and layered premise has brought good news to the show: it’s recently been renewed for Season 2.

Cruel Summer first aired in the US on the channel Freeform on April 20, however here in the UK, you can catch it for yourself on Amazon Prime starting today (Aug 6).