I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997)

Movie Title: I Know What You Did Last Summer

Year Released: 1997

Rated: R

Runtime: 1h 41min

Genre: Horror, Mystery

Director: Jim Gillespie

Writer: Kevin Williamson

Starring: Jennifer Love Hewitt, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Ryan Phillippe, Freddie Prinze Jr., Bridgette Wilson, Anne Heche, Muse Watson, Johnny Galecki, Stuart Greer

Review: A year after running over a fisherman and dumping his body in the water, four friends reconvene when Julie (Jennifer Love Hewitt) receives a frightening letter telling her that their crime was seen. While pursuing who he thinks is responsible for the letter, Barry (Ryan Phillippe) is run over by a man with a meat hook. The bloodletting only increases from there, as the killer with the hook continues to stalk Julie, Helen (Sarah Michelle Gellar) and Ray (Freddie Prinze Jr.).

I Know What You Did Last Summer is the epitome of the classic teenage slasher film. Four high school friends are getting stalked around town by a mysterious killer. There's plenty of gore and cheesy deaths to go around, but I think this film also benefits from a well-crafted yet simple story. This film catches a lot of heat for being cheesy and cookie-cutter, but I don't think there's anything wrong with that. This film has developed a cult following many years after it's release due in large part to the fact that it sort of sets the standard for this subgenre of horror movie. It's genuinely interesting to watch our characters play detective and attempt to uncover the mystery behind the man they killed a year prior, as well as trying to unmask the killer who's now hunting them down for their past transgressions. The plot slowly builds and ultimately culminates with a bloodbath of a last act. I think this last point is actually one of my main criticisms. The story slowly develops until the last 30 minutes or so fly completely off the rails. Despite all of this, I think I Know What You Did Last Summer has essentially cemented itself in the pantheon of classic horror films. It's a cheesy teen horror where the characters fall victim more so to their own stupidity than the killer itself. Like it or not, but there's a place for films like this. With a quick runtime, there's no excuse to not make this film part of your Halloween lineup every fall season!

Stars (out of 4):

Fun Fact: Despite being part of the main cast and being in many key scenes together, Helen (Sarah Michelle Gellar) and Ray (Freddie Prinze Jr.) only speak to each other twice. Despite the fact that the two barely interact on-screen, Gellar and Prinze became good friends after meeting on this film. The two eventually fell in love, got married, and had two children together.


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