On Second Thought: “I Know What You Did Last Summer”

The slasher genre seemed to die out some time during the 1980’s, but fortunately there was a resurgence in the mid to late ‘90s. That brought us many now classic films, some better than others, but all pretty enjoyable overall. It was good time while it lasted as horror “slasher” films now just repeat the same things you’ve seen over and over. Originality is dead in all forms. Fortunately there’s the films of the past to keep close by when wanting to watch a film that doesn’t suck like the ones we see today.

The Columbia Pictures film “I Know What You Did Last Summer”, still hits all the right notes for a film from the ‘90s.

This slasher stars Jennifer Love Hewitt (“Criminal Minds”, “Hot in Cleveland”), Sarah Michelle Gellar (“Princess Rap Battle”, “The Crazy Ones”), Ryan Phillippe (upcoming “Return to Sender”, “Secrets and Lies”), Freddie Prinze Jr. (“Star Wars Rebelss”, “Bones”), Johnny Galecki (upcoming “Rings”, “The Big Bang Theory”), Bridgette Wilson (“Phantom Punch”, “Shopgirl”), Anne Heche (“Dig”, “Wild Card”), and Muse Watson (“NCIS”, “Suburban Gothic”).

The film was directed by Jim Gillespie (“Venom”, “Eye See You”) and written by Kevin Williamson (“Stalker”, “The Following”). It is based on the novel of the same name by Lois Duncan.

It originally hit theaters on Oct. 17, 1997.

Another holiday, another film. Unfortunately for me I don’t have many films to choose from that fall directly in line with he holiday that is today. The Fourth of July. Fortunately this wasn’t really an issue as the first title that popped into my head was this one. It takes place during the Fourth of July holiday, so it’s perfect!! To make things better, it’s a horror slasher film from the ‘90s, and who doesn’t love those?!

While this film, along with many of the other ‘90s slasher films that came out, is a great one in Pop Culture, it’s not particularly good when you look at the whole film. No matter, it’s still an incredibly fun movie! I found myself glued to my screen the entire time somehow. I’ve seen it enough times so the contents are pretty well burned into my memory.

As I’ve probably said a few times now, this film is enjoyable still, and it’s also, lets not forget this, not that good. But it could be worse, so there’s that. It still works on various levels, which is interesting given that it’s almost 20 years old.

This film, and by extension, Williamson, knows how to build suspense. It’s practically a lost art, but I recognized what he was doing instantly. While the suspense isn’t overly gripping anymore, there are little moments that can easily keep you going for a bit. While a lot of this suspense seems to build from the killer taunting our lead actors, it still seems more effective than should be. I couldn’t help getting caught up in everything going on, even though I knew there was no way to change the various outcomes. After the big finale showdown I couldn’t help but notice that my heart seemed to be racing a bit more. If I’d just come from jogging in place or simply jumping up and down while I watched this film, sure, I’d give you that. Neither of those things happened. Just watching a film I’ve seen countless times.

As with most horror films, this one too is riddled with characters that make many bad choices. This one starts off as one big and ridiculously thought out bad choice. Dump the body of the guy you accidentally hit with a car. Nothing says stupid like that. Throughout the film I couldn’t help but roll my eyes and heave heavy sighs. Let’s see, who makes bad choices? Just about everyone. Phillippe didn’t try too hard to run out of the path of the car, Wilson didn’t do anything but stand there, let out a little scream and be killed (dumb), Gellar didn’t flat out run longer and faster (she chose to stop) and get killed, and I’m sure there’s more. Gellar’s death more likely than not would’ve happened anyway. As I think on it, he could’ve grabbed her and then killed her.

I like to talk about characters for some reason. Most of the time they’re not interesting at all, and other times they’re the ones you could break down and talk about for hours. Guess which one these characters are? They’re likable and that’s all you need. Hopefully, as with the case for Gellar, they’re really likable. Somehow watching her get stalked and ultimately killed was a little sad. I didn’t like that she had to be the one killed off next. I’m not sure if Hewitt necessarily should’ve died instead, but somehow I wouldn’t have minded as much.

This film is certainly a simple one. It’s a slasher, with a mystery to support it. It’s still plain fun. Everything you hope for from this film is delivered, and on the plus side, it’s not excessive with the blood and gore, something seriously lacking today. I feel, that regardless of this being the first time or the 100th time watching this film, it’s going to entertain the hell out of you still. If you can get into in the slightest, the film’s pretty much a success. The bar for success on this film isn’t terribly low, but it’s not super high either. I definitely chose right for this holiday and in terms of having it in my film collection.


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