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I Know What You Did Last Summer
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I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997)

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Plot Summary:
"On the magic Summer's night of high school's end, Julie, Helen, Ray and Barry get into Barry's new Beamer and drive out to celebrate, their lives and hopes before them. But on the road they have a terrible accident; hit and kill a man. They dump the body in the sea and don’t report the accident. But one year later they are each being stalked by someone who knows what they did last Summer."

Review by
Phil Davies Brown
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Review Date: 15 December 2003 My Rating: out of 5


Kevin Williamson continued his takeover of the horror genre with his first ever script, which was based on the novel of the same name by Lois Duncan.

It deals with the ramifications of an accident that occurred whilst four friends celebrated their High School Graduation.

One year later, Jennifer Love Hewitt gets a note saying I Know What You Did Last Summer, and it gets creepy from here on.

Choosing to do things old skool, proved to be effective, as the teens are stalked through the little town of Southport by a mysterious fisherman with a 'huge hook', looking for revenge.

Our kids have to figure out who and why, as they are stalked through a myriad of set pieces, the most effective involving (the love of my life) Sarah Michelle Gellar (watch your back Freddie) in her family's shop, after hours.

The film was a number one sensation at the U.S. box office and ensured that each of it's stars went on to international fame and acclaim.

One of the most simple and effective teen horror movies of recent years, deserves extra credit for playing it straight when the rest of Hollywood were playing it for laughs.

Reviewer: Josh Winning @horrorasylum
Review Date: 31 October 2001 My Rating: out of 5

I Know What You Did Last Summer has to be one of my all time favourite movies. It is an impressively well constructed film that not only boasts a brilliant cast, score and script, but the best directing and atmosphere that has graced our screens perhaps since Halloween.

Williamson's script is intelligent, and cleverly side-steps all the pit-falls that a movie of this type could have fallen into, and is not too 'hip' as to stumble over its own dialogue. Whereas in Scream (oh come on, it had to be mentioned somewhere), Williamson mocked the cheesy slashers of the s, here he pays tribute to everything that makes an enjoyable and thoroughly entertaining thriller.

The cast (including Sarah Michelle Gellar, Freddie Prinze Jnr. and Jennifer Love Hewitt) surprised me with their finely-honed and believable performances. Their characters may have stuck closely to the clichés of old-fashioned horror, but each handed in performances that are way under-rated.

The build up of tension throughout the movie is remarkably clever (John Debney's excellent score gets top marks in this department with his haunting, depressive ballads), and the idea of a killer who toys with his victims to invoke fear into them before finally killing them is one of genius proportions. It's a technique that has been employed in horror before (most notably in the more recent 'Valentine'), but never more effectively then in I Know What You Did Last Summer.

The thing that made this movie so unnerving was the whole idea that the characters are being 'punished' for what they did. Again, revenge is a very common factor in slasher flicks, but here the reason for revenge actually makes sense, and we are not subjected to mindless babble in which the killer tries to make sense of his own actions. Simplicity is the key, and Williamson knew it. There's also a very strong morality tale at the core of the film; we all know that what the characters did was wrong, but how many of us in their situation would have reacted any differently?

Something else that sets I Know What You Did Last Summer apart from other slashers - and in truth, apart from the gratuitous boob shots and gore, I Know... is more of an artistic thriller - is the amount of character development that is allowed, and the fact that instead of having death after death (therefore eliminating the need for a plot), the film allows us time with each character to get to know them well enough to fear for them when they are attacked.

Kevin Williamson continues strongly onwards with this highly-raut, entertaining dip into classic slasher territory. Sarah Michelle Gellar gives a winning performance, and the directing is superb. This is one that should not be missed.

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