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Panic [Review]

Series: Panic

Starring: Olivia Welch, Jessica Sula, Mike Faist, Ray Nicholson, Cameron Jones

Streaming: Amazon Prime Video

Review: Klep Napier

Rating: 3X’s out of 5X’s

Amazon adapts the teen psychological novel by Author Lauren Oliver titled “Panic” into a 10 episode series.

Panic follows a group of teens in the small town of Carp Texas when at the end of every school year, the seniors play a series of dangerous games for a large pot of money where one hopes they will be the lucky one who survives, wins and gets out of town.

Heather Nill (Olivia Welch) never thought she would ever participate in Panic, in fact she thinks everyone in town including her best friend Natalie [Jessica Sula] are insane for playing, but when life altering and unfair circumstances arise in Heather’s personal life, she’s pitted against all odds and chooses to compete. Not only is she up against the odds, but now she’s also up against her best friend.

Let me say this up front, if you are a fan of the book go into this with a clear and open mind. Because where a lot of the original sauce has been spread on top of this dramatic sandwich, a whole lot of fresh ingredients brought in by the original writer Lauren Oliver herself, has been mixed in as well.

Oliver shakes things up a bit leaving much to be unraveled by her fans. In this take motives and character traits have been moved around and there is much more than just teens defying adults while playing some deadly game. This time there is a bigger agenda going on behind the scenes that make the game Panic so much more dangerous.

The positive things about Panic are that it mostly focuses a lot on facing your fears and finding your true strength to simply push back even when you feel like you may be stuck. But there isn’t much else we can say without giving up the goodies.

What we can say from the perspective of folks who haven’t read the book is although it doesn’t honor what many may already know, it plays a little like 13 Reasons Why set in the town from Footloose. Characters in Teen movies/shows these days tend to not only lack empathy, but also basic remorse for the well being of other characters and their peers. When did adolescent life become so cut-throat? The on going trend shows stories about young adults willing to keep dangerous secrets, take lives or overlook lives being taken in the name of dramatic affect for good storytelling.

The adrenaline rush is there with Panic. But unlike its original story, the conclusion tends to take most of the heat off of it’s younger key players by slapping a little adult drama into the mix. After all you can’t tell a story about small town high school kids without the short comings of the generation which raised them, right?

Overall, Panic delivers high stakes and the emotional tension which makes for good television. With all boxes checked off that make up for a typical Teen Drama (Suicide, Deception, Love Triangles, drugs and abuse) this series goes high on the “some content may be triggering for some viewers” list. And if you’re into that kind of thing. Grab your popcorn and enjoy this slow burn of a psychological mystery.

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