The internet has been abuzz with a brand-new show that aired on Tuesday. Cruel Summer is a teen mystery drama, produced by Jessica Biel, Michelle Purple and Max Winkler. It premiered on Freeform on Tuesday and is also present on Hulu for people who want to give into the hype and watch the mystery unfold for themselves.
Cruel Summer has been set against the backdrop of abductions and kidnappings that were rampant in the 1990s. The story follows a socially awkward and nervous teenager Jeannette Turner (Chiara Aurelia) across the town of Skyline, Texas. It encapsulates the kidnapping of the most sought out girl in town, Kate Wallis (Olivia Holt), and connects to Turner’s crucial role in the alleged abduction.
The show has garnered positive reviews so far, including a rating of 89% on Rotten Tomatoes. Holt’s acting skills were appreciated by Kristen Lopez of Indie Wire, who not only gave the show a good rating but also declared that Holt is a sight to behold; a surprise that will easily win the hearts of the fans who loved “Pretty Little Liars.” In her review, she writes about how Holt takes up a character that has an element of danger, which makes her persona more appealing and the show more “compelling to watch.”
Daniel D’Addario from Variety also spoke of Cruel Summer in good words, stating that it keeps you hooked till the end. The producers have been able to “tell a story that moves in unexpected directions” and that’s what makes the show a treat to watch. Similar reviews were shared by several other people including Kristen Baldwin from Entertainment Weekly, who thought that Cruel Summer is a fresh watch that keeps you glued to the screens from start to end.
Baldwin further elaborated on the depth of Aurelia and Holt’s characters that the actors take on with so much ease and perfection. She specifically highlighted the character transformation of Aurelia from a naïve, shy girl to a much bolder, scary creep has been well executed. However, several reviews about Cruel Summer declared the story as a mundane, “predictable plot.” This included the likes of Brian Lowry of CNN who stated that the episode plots do well in creating hype, but fail in terms of sustaining that hype.