About the film
I Know What You Did Last Summer is a horror/ slasher film released in 1997 and was written by Kevin Williamson, who also wrote Scream. However, the film is based on the book of the same name by Lois Duncan. The film stayed at the #1 spot at the box office and won 17 out of the 19 awards it was nominated for.
After a successful night at a local beauty pageant, Helen, Barry, Julie and Ray are drinking and partying at the beach. On the way home, Ray runs over a freshman while he isn’t paying attention to the road due to Barry being drunk and dropping his drink. Everyone starts freaking out about their futures and what will happen to them after people find out they killed someone. They throw the body into the ocean in an attempt to hide what they did and they all end up going their separate ways.
One year later, Julie returns home from college where she's been having problems concentrating. Things definitely aren’t how she left them. One day, she recieves a note saying 'I know what you did last summer'. Of course, she freaks out and Julie starts to warn the others, terrified that someone else was there they day of the accident. This is only the beginning of the terror that the four some are about to experience.
Jennifer Love Hewitt as Julie James
Sarah Michelle Gellar as Helen Shivers
Ryan Phillippe as Barry William Cox
Freddie Prinze, Jr. Ray Bronson
What I thought
Although probably not my favourite genre of films now, a good few years back I would love nothing more than to watch a horror film.
The plot follows a group of teenage friends as they prepare for a great summer and finishing high school. Even though they have been having a good night, Barry has been drinking too much and carries on drinking in the car; causing Ray to run someone over. As a group, they decide to keep this a secret and never tell anyone, even though Julie is against the idea; she thinks they just come clean and just call the police. A year later, Julie is home from college and the events of the previous summer still play on her mind and even more so when the group begin to get notes saying ‘I Know What You Did Last Summer.’
As plots for slasher films go, I really liked this one. Although some parts are extremely predictable in regards to who dies and who doesn't there were still some great shocks. Until it is actually revealed, there is no way of knowing who the killer actually is which is something I really liked about this film. I hate being able to guess who is doing all of the bad things early on and with this one, it was definitely a surprise. The thing about '90s slasher films is that they're supposed to be quite cheesy... I think. Films such as Scream as very similar and I don't go into watching them expecting a masterpiece. With this one, I think you have to expect cheesy and predictable in order to enjoy it for what it really is.
Even though this film has a main cast of some pretty good names, the acting isn’t great at all. Jennifer Love Hewitt stars as protagonist Julie, the character with a conscience. She’s really the only one in the group who cares about what they have done and the only one who still really thinks about it a year on. But, she annoyed the hell out of me. Julie’s character is so whiny and annoying and I kind of wanted her to die. Unfortunately, she doesn't – that’s where the predictability comes in. Also with parts as a main character are Sarah Michelle Gellar as Helen, Ryan Phillippe as Barry and Freddie Prinze, Jr. Ray. I wish I could say that all did a great job but they didn't I do think the crappy acting is partly what I like about these kinds of films though.
I am glad to see the main actors have now gone on to bigger and better things and their acting skills have greatly improved...well, with the exception of Freddie Prince Jr. I still don’t like him at all. Ryan Phillippe has had some fantastic roles in films like Cruel Intentions. Sarah Michelle Gellar went on to be the star of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Jennifer Love Hewitt also had her own long running show, Ghost Whisperer.
I know what you did last summer was followed by two sequels. The first sequel did pretty well and i liked it more than the original film but the third film went straight to DVD. Much like the Bring it on sequels, the third film doesn't include any of the original cast so I just haven’t bothered with it.
At one point, I Know What You Did Last Summer was once the most parodied film and here are a few examples of what it was used in:
- Scary Movie is a parody of this film and Scream
- Shriek if you know what i did last Friday the thirteenth is also a parody of this film, amongst others.
- Various episodes of TV shows have been named after this movie.
Even though this film is really silly at times, I’ll still always love it. It’s just one of those films that you can’t help but like.