Slasher movies had gone out of style in the early 1990's and remained
that way until 1996's Scream brought the genre new life with its unexpected
success. The man responsible for the screenplay of Scream, Kevin Williamson,
penned the screenplay for this 1997 summer hit, based on a Lois Duncan young
Know What You Did Last Summer (1997)
Starring: Sarah Michelle Gellar, Jennifer
Love Hewitt, and Freddie Prinze, Jr.
Four friends find themselves committing a crime when they accidently hit a
man with their car on a deserted road. Rather than fess up to the accident
-- which they feel could ruin their futures -- they decide to cover everything
up by dumping the body in the ocean. The death is ruled accidental and everything
seems fine. Fine, that is, until the next summer, when they individually begin
receiving threats from someone who seems to know what really happened on that
The movie begins with an interesting
plot, semi-intelligent characters and a fair amount of tension and suspense.
However, the film slowly degenerates
into a standard "filmmaker-sees-Halloween, filmmaker-copies-Halloween" affair.
Non-essential characters are sacrificed to the fisherman with a hook who serves
as the movie's gimmicky killer, ala Freddy or Jason. Even Scream had a gimmicky
killer, but it was part of that film's parody of horror films and fit the mood.
Here, he's just another copy of what we've been seeing since John Carpenter
sent Michael Myers on his first spree in rural America in 1978.
Kevin Williamson seems to have lost
his sense of what doesn't work anymore in slasher movies. The characters
get instant fright-induced lobotomies when
confronted with a life-threatening situation and constantly put themselves
in danger. Would a character in Scream utter the line, "Come on, sit in
the back and I'll let you do things to me?" I don't think so. It breaks
the "rules" set forth in Scream. Williamson will probably hate the
fact that, if he stays in the slasher movie genre, every movie he writes will
be benchmarked by those rules.
It's a shame that I
Know What You Did Last Summer is completely undeserving
of its success (and its forthcoming and inevitable sequel). It could have been
a good film had it not swerved haphazardly into the body of stupidity standing
in the middle of the road.
Love Hewitt can be seen in Sister Act 2 as Margaret. (Source: The
Internet Movie Database)