When it comes to the slasher genre, it seems that after the 80’s, things just kind of fell off. The glory days were over and for some reason, no filmmaker was ever able to capture that same magic ever again. The Scream franchise seems to get some love in the horror community, and I personally enjoy films like Urban Legend and Valentine, but again, they don’t really come close to the feeling you get when watching the classic slashers of yester-year. Jim Gillespie was one of said filmmakers, trying his hand at the ever-popular sub-genre with his entry in 1997, I Know What You Did Last Summer.
After a 4th of July celebration, four friends get into trouble, after accidentally hitting a man with their car. Afraid to face the consequences, they decide to dump the body and never speak of this night again. A year later, the teens are living their separate lives, in school or working, but it seems that someone knows exactly what they did and is out to teach them a lesson, one by one.
I Know What You Did Last Summer actually starts off really strong. There is a good setup with a believable back-story and the perfect way of introducing a new kind of killer to the slasher genre — a fisherman with a big hook as his weapon of choice. That’s about where the positive points end for this film, however.
The cast full of pretty faces actually did very well. Jennifer Love Hewitt, Sarah Michelle Gellar, and Ryan Phillippe were all very believable as the young, entitled teens who grew up in a small fishing town with a lot of money. The person who killed it all for me was Freddie Prinze Jr. I mean, this guy was really awful. Every time he was on-screen, it got worse and worse. By the end of the film, I couldn’t stand to see him anymore. If they just re-cast his character with someone else, things would have been so much better.
On top of this very poor choice of casting, there wasn’t much excitement offered. While the best slashers of the 80’s were in your face and explicit, I Know What You Did Last Summer was timid and quite reserved. The first kill was amazing. A hook to the face, only to then be dragged off with the hook still lodged deep into your jaw… priceless! After that, however, the kills were off-screen or hidden in some other way. Sure, we get to see a little more blood and later, a severed hand, but I expected much more after seeing the first victim being dragged off. If this rated R film didn’t act like a PG13 one, things, again, would have been a lot better.
If you are a fan of the post-90’s slashers like Scream, I think this film is still worth a watch. It has some good gore effects and the acting is good for the most part. Be sure to pick up a copy on Blu-ray today from Mill Creek Entertainment’s official website today and let us know what you thought of it!
I give this film 2.5 fishhooks to the face out of 5.