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I Know What You Did Last Summer – 6

Director – Jim Gillespie

Cast – Jennifer Love Hewitt, Freddie Prinze Jr., Sarah Michelle Gellar, Ryan Phillippe, Bridgett Wilson, Anne Heche, Johnny Galecki, Muse Watson, Stuart Greer

Release Year – 1997

Reviewed by John of the Dead

One year after the success of Wes Craven’s Scream, we were given another teeny slasher film playing high on the clichés of the sub-genre, I Know What You Did Last Summer.  Written by the same mind who gave us Scream, Kevin Williamson, I Know What You Did Last Summer does not his as hard as Scream did, but manages to make for a pretty fun slasher film that should bring back memories for those born in the 80s(meaning you hit this film at the prime age), just as long as you can look past the “Dawson’s Creek” feel.

This watch follows teen “heart throbs” Jennifer Love Hewitt, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Ryan Phillippe, and Freddie Prinze Jr. as Julie, Helen, Barry, and Ray, four high school sweethearts partying during their last summer before college.  During their night of boozing and debauchery they accidentally strike a man crossing the road with their vehicle.  Much to their surprise, the man is not dead, but critically injured…and to save their arses they dump the man in the local marina instead of calling the police.  The group takes a vow to never speak of the night again, but fast forward one year later and someone knows what they did last summer.  The group is stalked by a stealthy killer who constantly reminds them of what they did last summer,  Unable to go to the police without potentially spending life in prison, the dwindling group of friends must fight back against this vengeful killer.

While not a great slasher film, this one does bring back memories for me.  For me being a mere 12 years old when I first saw this film, you can bet your arse it scared me.  Now 12 years after the films debut I do not find this scary at all, but this watch does give me most of the things I look for in a slasher film.  With Scream on his credits, it is obvious writer Kevin Williamson knows his stuff about the slasher sub-genre, and he brought in nearly all of the usual clichés, which I gladly welcomed given what this film is.

Williamson’s story for the film is simple, but enjoyable for fans of such films.  We get the usual revenge element associated with the slasher sub-genre, and it is used to the benefit of the film.  The fact that the revenge takes place one year after the original event adds a personal feel to the vengeance, especially because the killer could have taken revenge immediately, but waited for a special night in which they would all remember what they did.  We do not get much background info on the killer, which some may like and others may dislike.  I personally did not mind it, but that was mostly due to killer keeping me entertained with other bloodier things.  We get the usual character play in this one, with each of our four main protagonists serving their purpose of appealing to the teen base of viewers this flick is aimed at.  Thankfully, we get a slasher with a pretty cool weapon that I really have not seen another slasher use as a primary weapon.  The weapon? A fish hook, which provides for some truly awesome kills.

Direction-wise Jim Gillespie did a fine job with this film, and managed to turn a modern teen slasher film into a non-crappy watch.  It is rare that a teen slasher comes with an R-rating these days, so it was sweet to see Mr. Gillespie up the gore and kills and make this a worthwhile watch.  His usage of the killer was awesome too, and for a guy simply donning a fishing parka he looked pretty damn creepy and got the job done as a positive slasher.  His camera work and scenery was well done as well, making for a nice visual tone which helps keep the viewer engaged.  The film suffers no pacing issues, and I must commend Gillespe and Williamson for keeping this film tight and to the point.

Overall, this is an OK teen slasher from the mind behind Scream that also plays on the clichés of this infamous horror sub-genre.  We get a cool killer, some good kills, and a nice revenge theme that makes for a fun watch for fans of slasher films.

Rating: 6/10

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