Good Addition to the Young Adult Genre

While watching One Of Us Is Lying, you can’t help but recall titles such as 13 Reasons Why and Panic.

Published: 27th February 2022 05:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 25th February 2022 05:34 PM   |  A+A-

One Of Us Is Lying

Express News Service

Its clichéd setting notwithstanding, Erica Saleh’s adaptation of Karen M McManus’ young adult mystery/drama novel is an engaging ride. While watching One Of Us Is Lying, you can’t help but recall titles such as 13 Reasons Why and Panic. They all belong to the young adult genre, and they feature overlapping themes as well. Everyone (well, almost) puts on a public face for their peers. Those who are unafraid to be themselves are often relegated to ‘social outcast’ status. The remarkably bright Simon Kelleher (Mark McKenna) is one such student. His best friend, Janae (Jessica McLeod), and he sit together, passing sarcastic remarks about their classmates’ inability to be individuals, to be authentic.

He takes this endeavour a step further with his app, posting revelatory information pertaining to his classmates. A day of detention for five students ends in tragedy when Simon suffers an anaphylactic shock after drinking from the water cooler. His sudden, unexpected passing raises questions about the remaining four students in the room, all of whom Simon threatened to expose. The police’s focus falls on the other four: Bronwyn (Marianly Tejada), Bayview’s star student; Addy (Annalisa Cochrane), a popular cheerleader; Cooper (Chibuikem Uche), champion baseball pitcher eyeing the major league; and Nate (Cooper van Grootel), a drug dealer with difficult home life.

Each of them has the motive, but so does the rest of the school. The genius kid sick of pretence had dug out enough dirt on everyone, including teachers. One Of Us Is Lying taps into the complex and confounding world of teenage lives. The overwhelming need to be seen in a particular way by others or just be seen is the underlying theme of the show. It is nice to see nuance in the central characters’ personalities when they are forced to work together. Even the family dynamics play a big part in each of the teens’ existence. The complexity of characterisation is captured in the writing. The police investigation, however, is not great. For the high school kids to outwit law enforcement so easily, and at almost every given turn, feels rather implausible. 

One Of Us Is Lying has been picked up for a second season. It is likely that the narrative follows the events from Karen M McManus’ follow-up, One Of Us Is Next. Worthy performances, a good soundtrack, decent pacing, and writing that doesn’t go into melodramatic cliches ensure that Season 2 can be awaited with tempered excitement.                                                                              

—Mrinal Rajaram

One Of Us Is Lying

  • Creator: Erica Saleh
  • Genre: Mystery
  • Platform: Netflix
  • Language: English
  • Rating: 3/5


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