The back half of the '90s saw the return of teen-aged slasher, all of which ranged in their actual effectiveness, with star of the first two I Know What You Did Last Summer films Freddie Prinze Jr. recently joking that James Wan's work in the subsequent decade made his films feel so tame that they might as well be comedies. Kicking off with Saw, which he followed with films like Insidious and The Conjuring, it's hard to argue with just how frightening of adventures Wan has delivered audiences over the years, but for those who have a soft spot for slashers, Prinze's earlier efforts are likely just as effective as they were back then.
"I heard they're making an I Know What You Did Last Summer TV series," Prinze shared with Collider. "I don't know how they're gonna make it scary because James Wan, who I love, made those movies not scary anymore because he did Saw and changed the whole game up. Now, my movie is a comedy, but whatever, it's cool."
Due to the success of films like Halloween and Friday the 13th, the world of '80s horror movies was largely defined by the slasher, as the formula only required blood, gore, and a masked killer. As they were able to be produced relatively cheaply, they could be churned out quickly and there was less of a reliance on a strong box office performance to earn a follow-up film.
As the early '90s saw an exhaustion among horror fans from the slasher subgenre, that all changed in 1996 with the debut of Scream. From director Wes Craven and writer Kevin Williamson, the film was not only a compelling slasher in its own right, but a key component in its success was how it reflected the tropes of such films. Additionally, the characters themselves poked fun at cliches within the world of horror, which included plenty of self-referential humor.
When Scream landed in theaters, it was both a financial and critical success, which, for better or worse, kicked off a new wave of slashers that harkened back to the heyday of the subgenre. I Know What You Did Last Summer, one of the first to follow in Scream's footsteps, was also written by Williamson.
As Prinze noted, however, the debut of Saw launched a newfound interest in gruesome practical effects, which focused less on an unexpected narrative and more on unsettling visuals.
Stay tuned for details on the I Know What You Did Last Summer TV series.
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