PANIC on Amazon Prime Video is a new Young Adult series with a dark plot. Think adventure, drama, and crime. A bit like The Hunger Games but just set in a rural town in Texas. The only way to get out is to try and win. Read our Panic series review here and check it out on Prime Video!

PANIC is a new Amazon Prime Video series in the adventure and crime genres. It also has action, drama, and moments of pure horror for the characters. And yes, this is a Young Adult series but please don’t let that stop you from watching it. The characters are largely relatable and understandable.

In essence, they’ve grown up in a small rural town in Texas where money and opportunity are scarce. To “help” the kids succeed, a competition called “Panic” has started. No one is sure quite how or when, but the winner goes away with enough money to start over somewhere else. A comparison to The Hunger Games is easy to make, but this is an entirely different beast.

Continue reading our Panic series review below and check it out on Prime Video now. Season 1 has 10 episodes, each with a runtime of around 45 minutes.

Just don’t panic!

The actual Panic competition is all about pushing personal boundaries. You can always just walk away and you won’t die from participating. Well, actually, you can die from any small accident or by pushing yourself too far, so while you won’t die from “playing along”, you can die.

We’re talking about all the usual phobias being challenged: Heights, small spaces, water, etc. Basically, it’s like an escape room, but the place they all want to escape from is the actual town of Carp, Texas.


Our review and coverage of movies with an escape room theme >

For the kids graduating High School in this Texan town, there really is no hope of making it out, if you don’t have any money. That might sound simple, but during episode 1, it’s shown in very simple and realistic ways, that these young adults are screwed. The only way to get out is to try and win Panic.

And how do you win? Well, rule number one is to just not panic.

If you do, then you’ll be in danger – both of being eliminated because you can’t complete the challenges and getting hurt.

Panic: Season 1 – Review | Amazon Prime YA Series

YA series with great casting

The casting for Panic is pretty amazing all around. From the main protagonist, Heather Nill, to the smallest of supporting roles. As Heather Nill, we see Olivia Welch delivering a strong portrayal of a smart young woman, who knows she has to fight for whatever she wants. She’s real, relatable, and likable.

Olivia Welch was also in the Netflix series Unbelievable and will be in the upcoming Fear Street Netflix movie (part one that takes place in 1994).

Heather Nill’s best friend is Natalie Williams, who is portrayed with all the optimism and positivity necessary by Jessica Sula. You’ll recognize Jessica Sula from M. Night Shyamalan’s Split (2016) or maybe the Scream TV series or the Netflix mini-series Godless (2017).

There are many interesting characters but I do want to also mention Dodge Mason played by Mike Faist (Wildling). An outsider of sorts who will make an impact by the end of episode 1.

Also, you’ll see a somewhat familiar face in Ray Nicholson (Promising Young Woman). To me, his face is (so far) most familiar because he looks quite a lot like his dad, Jack Nicholson. Still, that takes nothing away from Ray Nicholson delivering an intriguing portrayal of the character Ray Hall.

Watch season 1 of Panic on Amazon Prime Video!

Panic was created by Lauren Oliver who also wrote all the episodes and the book it’s based on. Whenever this is the case (that the book author is part of an adaption), I am immediately excited to watch it. Gillian Flynn has succeeded with this quite a few times and has even gone from book author to adapting other people’s work for the Utopia series.

An awesome series that only got one season and piss poor (pardon my very appropriate french) promotion from Amazon Prime Video. Hopefully, Panic will get a better chance at being a success. Check out our season 1 review of Utopia here >

Personally, I hope to see more series from Lauren Oliver who has a good grip on this medium. I do actually feel that both Panic and Utopia have one thing in common; Rather big casts full of wonderful performances and intriguing characters. Several awesome directors are also attached to this series – including Leigh Janiak who is the director of the three upcoming Fear Street movies.

You’re bound to find someone you root for (aside from the main protagonist). Just don’t get to attached since there can be only one winner of Panic.

Panic has 10 episodes and they’re all out on Amazon Prime Video worldwide from May 28, 2021.


Creator: Lauren Oliver
Directors: Ry Russo-Young, Jamie Travis, Viet Nguyen, Megan Griffiths, Gandja Monteiro
Stars: Olivia Welch, Mike Faist, Jessica Sula, Camron Jones, Ray Nicholson, Enrique Murciano


PANIC takes place in a small Texas town, where every summer the graduating seniors compete in a series of challenges, winner takes all, which they believe is their one and only chance to escape their circumstances and make their lives better. But this year, the rules have changed — the pot of money is larger than ever and the game has become even more dangerous. The players will come face to face with their deepest, darkest fears and be forced to decide how much they are willing to risk in order to win.

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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