First it was the return of the disaster movies and now it’s the return of the slasher movies. I Know What You Did Last Summer (from here on known as Last Summer) is the second slasher movie from writer Kevin Williamson. His last slasher film was the wildly popular and entertaining Scream. What classifies a movie as a slasher movie? 1) The killer has to wear some sort of a mask – this time around the killer is dressed as The Gorton’s Fisherman. 2) There needs to be ditsy female leads with ample cleavage. And 3) There needs to be a cast of one-dimensional characters that serve as slasher fodder. I’m happy to say that Last Summer dutifully fulfills all the requirements as a slasher movie.
During their last summer together, two teen couples go to the beach and have a party. One of them gets raging drunk. His friends, being the good friends that they are, don’t let him drive. But, while driving back a series of events happen that causes the driver to hit a man on some pretty curvy roads. In a panic the teens dump the dead guy into the sea and swear to each other that they won’t tell anyone what they did.
A year after the accident the teens are torn apart and avoiding each other like the plague. But, the terror starts with a small note to one of the teens, Julie (Jennifer Love Hewitt of the TV show “Party of Five”). After receiving the note the town is terrorized by the Gorton’s Fisherman who kills with a mighty right hook. The killer, whose identity is unknown, also summons the three other teens –Helen (Sarah Michelle Gellar of the TV show “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”), Barry (Ryan Phillippe), and Ray (Freddie Prinze Jr.).
It’s sad to say that Last Summer is not as enjoyable as Scream and it does not even come close to being as scary as Scream. The problem that I see with Last Summer is that it IS the movie that the characters in Scream poked fun at. In Last Summer the characters do all the wrong things, which were all readily pointed out by the characters in Scream. Keep in mind that Williamson wrote both films. At least in Scream the characters knew that they were in a slasher movie and the script took courage in poking fun at its own genre. Not so with Last Summer, Last Summer takes itself seriously and that is just no fun.
None of the performances were great, but what do you expect from a slasher movie? The two male leads were obviously picked because they look good. And the two female leads were picked, again, obviously because of their cleavage, which is used often during the film. Director Jim Gillespie is no Wes Craven (who directed Scream) and it shows. The scares in Last Summer are mostly the shock type; bursts of loud sounds and turn-around-to-see-the-killer type shocks. Nothing really frightening.
The ending of the film, though predictable, was very cool. I wanted to like I Know What You Did Last Summer, but there isn’t much to like in this film. It’s just not as fun as Scream and at points it’s just not fun at all. I know that I Know What You Did Last Summer will inevitably have a big draw because of the heavy promotion of it being from the writer of Scream, but if you want to see this film, I would suggest that you do it during a matinee showing or on video.
I did learn something from this movie though, if you happen to kill someone while driving don’t dump them out to sea. But if you do decide to dump them out to sea, do check that they are dead before dumping them out to sea. You could avoid the ghastly death by fishhook.