Available May 28 on Prime Video, Panic is an adaptation of a successful teen novel by Lauren Oliver. Is this thrilling series worth a look?
WHAT IS IT ABOUT ?
In a small rural village far from everything, each year the older ones risk their lives in an illegal game which can earn them lots and lots of money and allow them to leave. Anonymous judges issue a series of challenges to the competitors who confront them with their greatest fears. They are 47 at the start of the race, there will be only one left at the end …
Panic is available in full on Amazon Prime Video. Episodes seen: 5/10.
WHO IS IT WITH?
On the bill in this series for teens, we find promising young talents such as the heroine Olivia Welch, who had a small role in the mini-series Unbelievable and who will also hit the screen this year in the new saga of horror Fear Street, but also Mike Faist, who will be found in West Side Story, the new film by Steven Spielberg.
The rest of the cast includes already more seasoned actors like Jessica Sula (Skins, Split), Enrique Murciano (FBI: Missing, Bloodline), Camron Jones (American Nightmare, Shameless), Jordan Elsass (Little Fires Everywhere), Bryce Cass (13 Reasons Why) and Ray Nicholson, the youngest son of Jack Nicholson, who is currently playing in theaters in Promising Young Woman.
WELL WORTH A LOOK ?
After the successful The Wilds, Amazon draws Panic, its new series for young adults, also dark and exciting in a very different setting. Writer Lauren Oliver adapts her own bestseller of the same name, thus ensuring a certain fidelity in the transcription of her story on the small screen.
Each summer, newly graduated high school students from Cap, a lost little Texas town, enter into a dangerous competition for the chance to change their lives and have a better future. To win the competition, students will have to participate in a series of challenges that play with their fears. There is only one instruction: do not panic.
Rejecting this competition at first, Heather nevertheless finds herself obliged to participate when she discovers that her junkie mother has stolen all her savings and therefore all her hopes of leaving town. Even if the contest had two deaths the previous year, the high school students do not hesitate for a single second to put themselves in danger, thinking that the game is terribly worth the candle.
In the end, there will only be one left
Panic builds his story by staging one ordeal per episode, a clever process to ensure a constant and growing suspense as the series goes on. The challenges play with universal anxieties, – claustrophobia, dizziness, fear of certain animal species, etc. -, which certainly affects each player.
But the series is fortunately not based only on its concept which turns out to be perfect for the TV format. Moments of tension and suspense also play a part in each of the storylines of the main protagonists who see their secrets come to light because of the game.
Everyone has their reasons for participating in Panic and their authentic and quite tragic stories make the characters terribly endearing, not least thanks to the solid performance of the actors. The series oscillates between the well-written coming of age stories but also the social drama that scratches the varnish of deep America while eyeing the side of the thriller and sometimes even the slasher.
A sublime and neat staging, a cruel and controlled concept, characters with a certain thickness, a creepy and terrifying atmosphere,… the effective ingredients of Panic are the same which have made the salt of cult teen thrillers like Remember you .. last summer, the Hunger Games or even Battle Royale.
With authentic character writing, which you can easily relate to, and an oppressively realistic vibe, Panic even comes close to Stephen King’s first classic, “Walk or Die”. A call for order that the organizers of Panic could have launched to the participants of this competition. Do you dare to take part?