Remembering ‘What You Did Last Summer’ 15 Years Later
One of our favorite movies to watch every Fourth of July is Kevin Williamson’s underrated slasher I Know What You Did Last Summer – which celebrates its 15th anniversary this year since filming in Southport, North Carolina.
The thriller was written by New Bern, NC native Kevin Williamson (Dawson’s Creek, The Vampire Diaries), who was the hottest thing in scary movies since Freddy Kruger following the massive success of his prior screenplay for Scream, directed by Wes Craven (The Last House on the Left, A Nightmare on Elm Street) in 1996.
When the characters visit “Dawson’s Beach” early in the movie, it is a reference to the WB television series Dawson’s Creek, which was filmed in Wilmington, NC and was also written by Williamson.
I Know What You Did Last Summer opened on October 17, 1997, but the action in the film takes place on two consecutive July 4th holidays, making it the perfect Independence Day viewing recommendation for those who have seen Independence Day and Jaws too many times.
Though it is often unfairly regarded as a rip off of Scream, the script for Last Summer was actually written first, but only snatched up by Columbia Pictures after the massive box office success of Scream the year before.
The attractive young cast featured television starlets Jennifer Love Hewitt (Party of Five, Ghost Whisperer) and Sarah Michelle Gellar (Buffy The Vampire Slayer), along with Freddie Prinze Jr. (Summer Catch – also filmed in NC) and Ryan Phillippe (Flags of Our Fathers).
Gellar and Phillippe went on to co-star on Cruel Intentions, which featured a sly reference to Last Summer when a magazine featuring Hewitt on the cover is seen briefly on screen.
Gellar also went on to marry Freddie Prinze Jr., and the two have since also co-starred in two Scooby-Doo films.
Hewitt recently returned to television to star in The Client List, currently airing on Lifetime.
Williamson has written for his newest hit series The Vampire Diaries since its premiere on The CW in 2009, and he also returned to the genre that made him famous when he wrote Scream 4 in 2011.
You can watch the original theatrical trailer for I Know What You Did Last Summer in the player below!
What’s your favorite 4th of July movie?