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I know what you like to do each summer, Hollywood. You like to reboot successful formulas, repackaging them for a new generation that might vaguely recognize your title but don’t know enough about the details to realize they are being sold the same movie, again and again. Which explains why Sony is dusting off Jim Gillespie and Kevin Williamson’s I Know What You Did Last Summer for a planned franchise reboot.
Deadline reports that Oculus writer-director Mike Flanagan will write and produce this update, with the hope that he can keep the new I Know on a micro-budget (like Oculus) but produce big box-office wins. The original I Know What You Did Last Summer followed a group of high schoolers who kill a stranger with their car, then agree to dump his body in the water and forget the tragedy has occurred. The guilt of the accident eats away at the foursome, though, and things get gradually worse when they start getting notes that someone knows what they did.
In 1997, everyone involved with I Know What You Did Last Summer was red hot. Beautiful girl-next-door Jennifer Love Hewitt was making a name for herself on television’s Party of Five, while Sarah Michelle Gellar had just started to break through as Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Male co-stars Ryan Phillippe and Freddie Prinze Jr. were catching on in movies like The House of Yes and Crimson Tide.
The secret ingredient to the original I Know What You Did Last Summer, though, was screenwriter Kevin Williamson, who had penned the self-referential horror comedy Scream for Wes Craven the year before, and brought a lot of the same genre knowledge and winking humor that helped Summer separate itself from the pack. This wasn’t just a grisly slasher thriller, as a killer with a fisherman’s hook stalked the pretty coeds of a quaint seaside town. It was the start of a franchise… or, a movie that inspired at least one sequel. Yes, it was actually titled I Still Know What You Did Last Summer.
Casting will be key for this reboot. If Sony is smart, they’ll mine the talent of the Disney Channel or Nickelodeon TV series, looking for pretty, young actors who don’t mind working on the cheap and aren’t afraid to test their scream quotient in a possibly memorable horror reboot. We’ll keep you posted on the movie as it moves along.