CRUEL SUMMER Season 2 on Hulu is the second season of the Freeform production. This is an anthology series, which means only the concept is the same. The cast is new – and still good. Read our Cruel Summer season 2 review here!

CRUEL SUMMER Season 2 is out on Hulu now with the first two episodes of the season. We were very impressed with the first season of the popular YA mystery series from Freeform. A series where we see what a huge difference a year can make in someone’s life.


Check out our season 1 review of Cruel Summer here >

Just like season 1, this second season also has ten 45-minute episodes. As this is an anthology series, where only the concept is carried over from the first season, we’re introduced to many new characters. And also a really intriguing new cast!

Continue reading our Cruel Summer season 2 review below. Premiered on Freeform on June 5 and you can find it on Hulu from June 6, 2023.

The season 2 plot

The story of Cruel Summer still begins during one summer and then continues the next summer, where everything is very different for our main character. We’re also still in the 1990s but barely as the storyline plays out in the summer of 1999 and 2000.

So, yes, we get lots of 1990s music and outfits as well as the whole Y2K scare around New Year’s Eve.

Season 2 is set in an idyllic waterfront town in the Pacific Northwest. The core plot still centers around “the rise and fall of an intense teenage friendship”. However, it isn’t quite as simple (or teen drama drive) as you might think.

First, we follow the early friendship between Megan, Isabella, and Megan’s best friend Luke. Megan does not like Isabella at first, but the two soon become best friends. And then there’s Luke who becomes part of a love triangle.

Or does he? It’s all part of the mystery where nothing is quite as it seems. And no one can be trusted!

Cruel Summer: Season 2 – Review | '90s YA Mystery

The elegant use of different time periods

At the beginning of each episode, we’re told which days the story plays out for that one episode. Also, the use of color-grading (along with the looks of the characters) always helps us keep the timelines in check as viewers.

So far, so good. Seriously, too many series are not very good at keeping various time periods in check. A series like Saint X took it a bit too far for my liking. Even if I did enjoy the overall story.

The three main characters of Megan, Isabella, and Luke are portrayed by Sadie Stanley (Dead to Me), Lexi Underwood (Little Fires Everywhere), and Griffin Gluck (Locke & Key) respectively.

I really enjoy all three portrayals. Especially the way the girls have changed from one summer to the next is quite interesting. To say the least.

Also part of the core cast is KaDee Strickland (The Grudge) as Megan’s mom and Isabella’s host mom. Isabella is a foreign exchange student. Yes, despite being a US citizen who has simply spent most of her life abroad. That part didn’t make much sense to me, but I can live with it.

Paul Adelstein (True Story) is the father of Luke – and yes, I do realize that just made him sound like Darth Vader. Also, Lisa Yamada (Missing) plays another of the girls in the friend group while Jenna Lamb plays the younger sister of Megan.

Start watching season 2 of Cruel Summer now

If you’ve watched season 1 of Cruel Summer, you will know that nothing is quite as it seems. Things change drastically from one time period to the next. Season 2 approaches the story and wild developments from three different timelines surrounding Y2K.

I am really enjoying this second season, which has a lot going for it.

Also, admittedly, it doesn’t hurt that this story plays out around Y2K and the main characters are around the age I was back then. Obviously, that makes it all the more fun for me personally. It might not be as interesting and fun for others.

However, I will say this; If you enjoyed season 1, then you definitely want to check out season 2 as well. Also, Jessica Biel continues to be an executive producer on the series and she has become quite the “stamp of approval” for me. She consistently works on high-quality productions!

Cruel Summer Season 2 is out with the first two episodes on Freeform and Hulu from June 6, 2023.


Creator: Bert V. Royal
Stars: Sadie Stanley, Lexi Underwood, Griffin Gluck, Lisa Yamada, Sean Blakemore, KaDee Strickland, Braeden De La Garza, Nile Bullock, Paul Adelstein, Jenna Lamb


In the summer of 1999, small-town computer genius Megan resents the arrival of outgoing and mysterious foreign exchange student Isabella; little does she know how her life will change by the summer of 2000.

I write reviews and recaps on Heaven of Horror. And yes, it does happen that I find myself screaming, when watching a good horror movie. I love psychological horror, survival horror and kick-ass women. Also, I have a huge soft spot for a good horror-comedy. Oh yeah, and I absolutely HATE when animals are harmed in movies, so I will immediately think less of any movie, where animals are harmed for entertainment (even if the animals are just really good actors). Fortunately, horror doesn't use this nearly as much as comedy. And people assume horror lovers are the messed up ones. Go figure!
Karina "ScreamQueen" Adelgaard
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