I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997)
Remember Scream? Scream was very popular. No complaints here, because it deserved that popularity; Scream was fresh and original and good. But “popular” in Hollywood often translates into “let’s do that same thing again,” and every major-studio horror movie for like five years felt at least a little bit like Scream. It was inescapable. But just because something was made to piggyback on the success of something else doesn’t make it bad; I Know What You Did Last Summer is the best of the Scream-alikes, for three basic reasons. One, it shares a screenwriter (Kevin Williamson) – who adapted the 1973 Lois Duncan YA novel of the same name – so at least you can argue that it’s a personal style and not plagiarism. Two, it’s got a dream cast for a mid-‘90s teen romp — you can’t argue with the star power of Jennifer Love Hewitt, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Ryan Phillippe and Freddie Prinze, Jr. And three, it starts from an interesting premise. Scream’s gamechanging idea was “what if you made a horror movie where the victims were actually aware of other horror movies?” Summer is almost a remake of Scream with that premise removed — the characters are being chased by a version of a scary story they tell each other, but they refuse to believe that their bogeyman has come to life. It’s an inverted Scream, perfectly positioned as a date-night slasher movie (which the world will always need), and polished and entertaining on its own terms.
A Nightmare on Franklin Street 2019 is presented by Voodoo Ranger and J.J. Taylor Distributing Florida, Inc. Promotional consideration is provided by Spooky Empire and WEDU PBS.