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I Know What You Did Last Summer

I Know What You Did Last Summer

By Patrick Samuel • January 8th, 2014

I Know What You Did Last Summer

Static Mass Rating: 4/5
Columbia Pictures

Original release: October 17th, 1997
Running time: 101 minutes

Director: Jim Gillespie
Writers: Kevin Williamson, Lois Duncan

Cast: Jennifer Love Hewitt, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Ryan Phillippe, Freddie Prinze, Jr., Anne Heche

I Know What You Did Last Summer

I still remember my last year at high school before I went off to college. I couldn’t wait for the summer and the end of my exams that I felt I’d studied for my whole life. There were a few parties, late nights and lots of days spent hanging out with my friends. We went to gigs, shopped for clothes at the markets and bought records we’d listen to together in our rooms while our moms and dads went to work and earned the money for us to spend. Those were wonderful days and the most we worried about was whether or not we passed those exams, so if anyone a year later passed any of us a note saying “I know what you did last summer” – well, it really wouldn’t be the end of the world. It wasn’t any secret, after all, I just told you.

That’s not the case for these four Southport youths. On the night of July 4th, 1996 Julie (Jennifer Love Hewitt), her boyfriend Ray (Freddie Prinze Jr.), Julie’s best friend Helen (Sarah Michelle Gellar), and her boyfriend Barry (Ryan Phillippe), are out drinking on Dawson’s Beach and talking about their futures but on the way home something terrible happens – they run over a man and instead of informing the authorities, they decide to cover up the manslaughter. After dumping the body in the water, Barry forces them to agree that they’ll take the secret to their graves. Unfortunately for them, that’s what someone else intends as well.

One year later Julie arrives back home from college to find her friends haven’t really moved on with their lives, and neither has she. They seem to be haunted by the events of July 4th, 1996, but then Julie shows them a note she received that says “I know what you did last summer” and tells them she’s worried that someone else was there, someone saw them and knows that they killed a man. But what do they want? To turn them in, or to take out their own revenge on Julie and her friends?

I Know What You Did Last Summer

I Know What You Did Last Summer was adapted for the screen by Kevin Williamson who also wrote Scream (1996). As one of the films that signaled a return to the slasher film sub-genre, it bears all of the hallmarks, such as a past event where the killer sees an injury, fault or death, an event that commemorates it, the killer identifies the guilty parties involved and targets them, and there’s a final girl that has to battle the killer at the end.

Along the way, I Know What You Did Last Summer provides some great moments. There’s Julie’s infamous “WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR, HUH? WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOOOOORRRR?” as the four friends realise they’re being targeted by a mysterious killer with a hook. There’s Helen’s swimsuit moment when she wins the beauty pageant and of course, who could forget her harrowing death scene? I Know What You Did Last SummerIt’s one of those films where people might survive if those around them acted faster instead of slowly walking toward a door to unlock it while someone’s being attacked outside. Although, that might take the fun out if it being a slasher film, wouldn’t it?

As Julie tries to find out who’s targeting them there are several red herrings thrown in our path. They’re all equally suspicious but only one of them can be the culprit and part of the fun with a film like this is working out who it is. It might not be as rewarding as Scream was, but in my decades of experience as a slasher film fan, very few films can match that brilliance. With a soundtrack that includes Hush by Kula Shaker, Summer Breeze by Type O Negative, D.U.I. by The Offspring and Proud by Korn, I Know What You Did Last Summer manages to summarise perfectly what it was like to be a teenager in the 90s.

Though it went on to spawn two sequels, I’d say the original remains the best out of the three films specifically because of its ensemble casts of up-and-comers from the time, its sharp script and some of the scenes I mentioned. It’s hard for slasher films to maintain this kind of quality and balance the scares with likeable characters and an intriguing story, but I Know What You Did Last Summer does all of that, making it one of the highlights in what I remember to be a good year for films.

I Know What You Did Last Summer

Patrick Samuel

Patrick Samuel

The founder of Static Mass Emporium and one of its Editors in Chief is an emerging artist with a philosophy degree, working primarily with pastels and graphite pencils, but he also enjoys experimenting with water colours, acrylics, glass and oil paints.

Being on the autistic spectrum with Asperger’s Syndrome, he is stimulated by bold, contrasting colours, intricate details, multiple textures, and varying shades of light and dark. Patrick's work extends to sound and video, and when not drawing or painting, he can be found working on projects he shares online with his followers.

Patrick returned to drawing and painting after a prolonged break in December 2016 as part of his daily art therapy, and is now making the transition to being a full-time artist. As a spokesperson for autism awareness, he also gives talks and presentations on the benefits of creative therapy.

Static Mass is where he lives his passion for film and writing about it. A fan of film classics, documentaries and science fiction, Patrick prefers films with an impeccable way of storytelling that reflect on the human condition.

Patrick Samuel ¦ Asperger Artist

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