i-know-what-you-did-last-summerColumbia
1997
R

“Is the dried-out, washed-up has-been having a moment?”

After a post-graduation Fourth of July beer blast, four tipsy teens accidentally smash up a pedestrian with their car, and, in a panic, dispose of the almost-dead body in the ocean. Sure enough, the following summer, the reunited group is stalked by a mysterious figure clad in fisherman’s garb–replete with fish hook.

So, about the mid to late 1990s, after several years of the horror genre sucking so hard light could not escape its odoriferous void, suddenly a movie co-created by Wes Craven and the guy who created Dawson’s Creek – Kevin Williamson – brought us a movie that proved to be the very kind of self-aware and tongue-in-cheek kind of horror movie that reflected the decade it was created in. Namely, that movie was Scream.  And with the popularity of that movie came the inevitable flood of knockoff movies of this slick new rebirth of the slasher genre.  One of the first to be released in this mass was another Kevin Williamson-penned teen slasher, I Know What You Did Last Summer.

Since there was that connection to Scream by way of the script writer, and also starring a bunch of young popular actors, including the likes of Sarah Michelle Gellar, Freddy Prinze, Jr., and future ghost whisperer Jennifer Love Hewitt.  Oh, and Anne Heche.  Can’t say I remembered her too much, really.  But anyway, what resulted was a formulaic teen slasher that lacked the wit and freshness that Scream was.

I remember not really wanting to see this when it was out in theaters.  But, a couple of compadres talked me into going with them when it was at the local Second Run Theater.  The story itself is essentially the same as that of Prom Night – a bunch of vapid teens driving after a party accidentally commit vehicular manslaughter and cover up the accident rather than owning up to their transgressions.  A year later, everyone who was involved in that little hit-and-run are beginning to find themselves in danger of becoming living impaired at the hands of an overdressed fisherman with a hook.

For some reason, I Know What You Did Last Summer is looked back on nostalgically, and did rather smashingly in the theaters in its initial run.  I want to know why.  Really, I Know What You Did Last Summer, besides having a rather pretentiously long name (and yes, I realize it’s based loosely on a novel of the same name from the 1970s), the cast is your standard Stupid Pretty Kids Doing Pretty Stupid Things, culling mostly from a lot of the teen dramas that were on the air at the time.  The villain is not scary, the kills standard and boring, and the big reveal at the end rather confusing.  Quite frankly, I Know What You Did Last Summer was dull, and not even a So-Bad-It’s-Enjoyable kind of horror movie.  Forgettable the first ten minutes after the credits roll.  Pass.

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