After repeated viewings over the years, I've come to appreciate I Know What You Did Last Summer more for its production value and what screenwriter Kevin Williamson was attempting to achieve. Based on the 1973 book of the same name, the plot's whodunit mystery element is also rather fun while it still plays like the standard slasher flick. Sony Pictures brings the horror favorite to 4K Ultra HD with an outstanding Dolby Vision HDR presentation, an equally impressive Dolby Atmos soundtrack, and a healthy selection of supplements. Overall, the UHD package makes for a Recommended addition to the library.
When I Know What You Did Last Summer originally hit theaters in 1997, I was not a fan. Not only did I think of it as an obvious post-Scream cash grab, of which there were many, but I also didn't care for it being a standard, by-the-numbers slasher flick that didn't offer a fresh, novel take on the genre. Of course, screenwriter Kevin Williamson penned this script, based on the 1973 book of the same name, before the now-classic Wes Craven satire, but the timing of this release nonetheless made it feel like a knock-off capitalizing on the success of the far-superior and much sleeker Scream film.
Over the years, however, I've come around to appreciating the movie for what Williamson was attempting to do, which was simply to modernize the mostly dead subgenre for contemporary audiences. Given the slew of knockoffs that suddenly emerged at the time, I Know What You Did is the better of the late-90s horror hoard. Primarily, I rather admire how the story plays out more like a whodunit mystery that the foursome of kids try to solve while at the same time, surviving a crazed maniac wearing a rain slicker and wielding a hook, which I can admit now is a cool, new take that borrows from a familiar childhood urban legend. Unfortunately, my criticism of the movie still remains that of the killer, who never poses any real threat nor does his sudden reveal manage to offer much of a surprise.
Still, I Know What You Did Last Summer makes for a fun watch that I now can enjoy.
For a more in-depth take on the film, check out Peter Bracke's 2008 Blu-ray review HERE.
Vital Disc Stats: The Ultra HD Blu-ray
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment brings I Know What You Did Last Summer to Ultra HD Blu-ray as a two-disc combo pack with a flyer for a Digital Copy, which when redeemed, users have access to the 4K Dolby Vision HDR version with Dolby Digital Plus 5.1 audio. The triple-layered UHD100 disc sits comfortably opposite a Region Free, BD50 disc, and both are housed inside a black, eco-elite vortex case with a glossy slipcover. At startup, the disc goes straight to an interactive main menu with the usual options while music plays in the background.
The slasher favorite terrorizes the sleepy fishing town of Ultra HD with an outstanding HEVC H.265 encode that not only exceeds expectations but also delivers a worthy upgrade. Struck from a fresh remaster of the original 35mm camera negatives, the native 4K transfer is highly detailed with sharp, clean lines along buildings, vehicles and the streets of Southport. We can plainly make out every blade of grass and leaf in the trees while the texture and stitching in the clothing are very well-defined. A few softer moments are to be expected, given the filming style and cinematography of the period, but overall, it's a stable, satisfying video awash in a very fine layer of grain, giving that beautiful film-like quality.
The Dolby Vision HDR presentation also comes with an excellent, spot-on contrast and brightness balance, showering the action in crisp, brilliant whites and deep, inky blacks with strong shadow delineation, providing the 2.39:1 image with a lovely cinematic appeal and a great deal of dimensionality. Specular highlights supply a sparkling, beaming sheen on watery surfaces and along metallic surfaces while the various light fixtures maintain a tight, snappy glow, exposing the finer details within the hottest areas. The overall palette also enjoys a wider, more animated array of colors, from the energetic blues of the sky and clothing to the rich, lively greens of the surrounding foliage. Meanwhile, secondary hues are fuller and dynamic with facial complexions appearing more natural and healthier in the young cast. (Dolby Vision HDR Video Rating: 92/100)
The teen horror flick hooks home theaters with an equally notable and highly enjoyable Dolby Atmos soundtrack that nicely complements the grim, hair-raising visuals.
Right from the opening moments with the Type O Negative song and sounds of the coast, imaging feels expansive with lots of background activity and a sharply detailed mid-range exhibiting superb clarity and clean differentiation between the softest and loudest segments without the slightest hint of distortion. While keeping much of the action within the front soundstage, the object-based remix also displays superb channel separation and movement across the fronts with marvelous off-screen effects while maintaining precise, well-prioritized vocals in the center. Several moments discretely bleed into the heights, creating a highly engaging half-dome effect. The low-end could be stronger and more demanding, but bass is nonetheless palpable, adding a hefty, weighty presence to the action and music.
On the whole, rear activity is often more silent than not, which is not an entirely bad thing, as mentioned above. Still, when the surrounds and overheads are employed, the room bursts with life as debris, fireworks and other atmospheric effects of the coastal town effectively spread across the ceiling speakers. Action sequences reveal outstanding directionality and flawless panning, generating a satisfying hemispheric soundfield, and the score arguably makes the best use of the format, spreading into the front heights and surrounds to create a larger soundscape. (Dolby Atmos Audio Rating: 88/100)
Celebrating the movie's 25th Anniversary, Sony has packaged a decently good selection of new bonus material to go along with the same assortment as the previous Blu-ray release.
Over the years, I Know What You Did Last Summer has grown on me, and I've come to appreciate it more for its production value and what screenwriter Kevin Williamson was attempting to achieve. Sony Pictures brings the horror favorite to 4K Ultra HD with an outstanding Dolby Vision HDR presentation and an equally impressive Dolby Atmos soundtrack, making it a notable upgrade over its Blu-ray predecessor. With a decent assortment of extras, two of which are new and exclusive to this release, the overall UHD package makes for a Recommended addition to the library.
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