‘Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin’ May Not Be a Necessary Reboot, But It Does Offer One Thing ‘PLL’ Was Missing

A is baaaack.

For all those who used to religiously tune in to ABC Family (now Freeform) each week to see what would become of the four protagonists on Pretty Little Liars, there's a new reason to celebrate. HBO Max just released a reboot of the hit series, titled Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin, and although it takes place in a totally different town with a brand-new batch of actresses, this teen horror series offers all the same chills, thrills and drama of the original, with a few surprises up its sleeve.

While it's only been a little over 10 years since the original came out, it feels hard to justify a reboot of the series (which, mind you, has already had two spin-offs as well). However, fans of the OG PLL will likely find something to love in this fresh iteration, while new viewers will surely devour its Riverdale meets Scream aesthetic. Keep reading for our full review.

Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin takes place in Millwood, PA, only a few miles away from the town of Rosewood, where the original was set. The first episode begins at a school dance, where a weeping, scared girl runs into the auditorium, asking a group (of what appears to be former friends) for help. However, when this squad actively ignores her, she ends up climbing to the ceiling, where she leaps to her death and closes the dance in a Carrie-level spectacle of gruesomeness.

Flash forward to present day, and the five women who witnessed this death are fully grown, with daughters of their own (played by Bailee Madison, Chandler Kinney, Zaria, Malia Pyles and Maia Reficco) who are attending the same high school. The generational aspect to the show is a welcome addition, providing a mystery surrounding these girls' mothers and the horror they witnessed. Similar to another recent hit, Yellowjackets, viewers will enjoy piecing together these parts of the past along with the frights that are taking place in the present. To make matters even more interesting, one of the girls' moms gets a mysterious flyer from the night of that school dance, right before she is found dead in her bathtub, with an “A” painted on the wall.

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Karolina Wojtasik/HBO Max

In case it wasn't already clear, the one thing that allows this reboot to stand out is its level of horror. Original Sin functions more as a slasher series, rather than simply a mystery thriller, which will please fans who found the original to be a little lacking in its scares. Although PLL had its haunting moments, there were only so many things the writers could do with threatening messages and mysterious figures darting around corners. Here, the viewer is thrown into the gore, which ups the stakes and makes our villain more menacing from the get-go.

Not to mention, the five protagonists at its center are made more intriguing because they have more flaws. In the original PLL, the girls certainly made their mistakes, but these were often small instances, or even tragedies that happened by accident. However, in this new series, we see characters secretly filming the boys locker room or having illicit affairs with their friends' partners. When the protagonists think that one person is out to get all of them, they even quickly enact a plan of revenge. PLL: Original Sin grabs you from the beginning because the five “liars” are even a little scary themselves.

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Karolina Wojtasik/HBO Max

If there's one complaint, it's that it's hard to find a justification for this reboot. In a market that is stuffed with teen shows revolving around mysterious murders (think Riverdale, Élite, etc.) and with barely a decade separating this remake from the original, Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin feels like much of what we've seen before.

However, it does offer a much more diverse set of characters compared to the old PLL, and as stated, the level of horror offers a fun, frightening ride that is hard to find on TV today (unless you watch underrated gems like Peacock's Chucky). Sure, the dialogue can sometimes be a tad cringey and these writers are convinced that teens talk like TikTok diatribes in every instance of their life, but overall, the show offers enough binge-worthy drama that it will keep viewers hungry for more.

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Barbara Nitke/HBO Max

Purewow Rating: 4 Out Of 5 Stars

Did we need Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin? Not necessarily. However, this show offers a few welcome twists for fans of the original, while its slasher aspects will please horror fans looking for a show that offers more than just jump scares. With intriguing time jumps, a talented cast and deliciously-wicked characters, Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin is a binge-worthy blast.

For a full breakdown of PureWow's entertainment rating system, click here.

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Associate Editor, News and Entertainment

Joel is the former Associate Editor for News & Entertainment and has been reporting on all things pop culture for over 5 years. Before working at PureWow, he served as a...