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I Know What You Did Last Summer Review
You know things aren't looking good when the promotional poster resembles the cover of a cheap chapter book written for retarded middle school children.
During the last Schlocktoberfest I went on a metaphorical rampage through the 1990s slasher revival period, watching every piece of shit to capitalize on the success of Scream (and Scream itself) in an attempt to find more fodder for mocking and in an attempt to understand why it happened and why it happened when it did. Why did the Clinton years engender a resurrection of the Reagan style of horror? (Bill was a triangulatin' motherfucker who killed Iraqis, but he wasn't an outright war criminal drooling retard like Ronnie Raygun.) Why did the liberalism through centrism make people want to see costumed men murdering teens whose sins included premarital sex and foolhardy drinking? Why the fuck were Americans so stupid so as to subsidize multiple franchises of the same boring shit? Why did irony become a valuable component of the horror film? Why was said irony so poorly done? I Know What You Did Last Summer didn't help me answer any of those questions to my satisfaction, but it did elucidate several tertiary materials and provide me some unintentional laughs. And Jennifer Love Hewitt as a vulnerable chick who appears in little clothes several times. Hard to go wrong with that. I Know What You Did Last Summer does often, but still, the spirit of the point remains...
I love the exclamation point.
I Know What You Did Last Summer begins on a dramatic note, as the camera swoops over a dark sea while Type O Negative's "Summer Breeze" plays. Let it be said that I Know What You Did Last Summer sports, to my knowledge, the sole slasher soundtrack inclusion of Type O Negative (as in actually in the movie's soundtrack and not on the movie's $15 for sale at Sam Goody soundtrack), one of my favorite bands. From there it all fucking goes downhill, since the movie does not contain any other Type O Negative tracks, nor any good storytelling, nor anything else remotely redeeming. A group of friends, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Freddie Prinze Jr., Sarah Michelle Gellar, other guy (Ryan Phillippe - I don't know who the fuck he is), are hot and sexy teens who have just graduated from high school. This is their time to go partying and make jackasses out of themselves before college starts (and they go party and make jackasses out of themselves...in a college environment). Unfortunately, on the way from a party, the gang hits a guy on the road and they believe they killed him. The logic behind why they decide to cover it up is suspect. Why not use cell phones to call 911? Why not contact rich dad's people to cover it up? It's stupid. But they do it anyway, swearing each other to secrecy and drifting apart as a result of that, mostly thanks to the guy still being alive when they throw him into the river.
Do you really think Type O Negative is appropriate for this movie?
One Year Later,
The character dynamics established in this movie were further explored in the sequel, Scooby Doo.
People start dying because of the fisherman's machinations (and by machinations I mean stabbing people with his hook), leaving the other guy and Sarah Michelle Gellar dead and leaving the power couple of Freddie Prinze Jr. (who turns out not to be killer) and Jennifer Love Hewitt to ward off the evil of the Fisherman. He turns out to be Ben Willis, the guy they really ran over, and he didn't die, not even when they threw him in the lake. Thus, I wonder why he's so murderously pissed off (he even kills people not involved with the cover up of his injury). He didn't die. He was just somewhat inconvenienced, since his not dying proves he's immortal. They manage to "kill" him and everyone lives happily ever after. OR SO YOU THINK! Would you be surprised to see a horror movie seemingly end happily but then shocks you with a quick, twist, violent ending? If you would, you're a fucking idiot. Jen goes for a shower and she sees an ominous message written onto the mirror and JUMP CUT SCREAM DEATH END. Don't you just fucking love horror movies tailored to scaring teenage girls.
Anne Heche is 40% Tweety Bird.
Speaking of which, that is what encompass the scares: shite meant to scare teenage girls who have vast mounds of disposable income because their parents acquiesce to their status as worthless leeches draining the life from society. Remember when things were legitimately creepy, when things did not need to be made obvious with the use of dramatic music to tell the idiots in the audience when the scary moment or the pathetic carnival barker bamboozling moment is? Yeah, me too. Videodrome was like that; so was The Fly and even the original Halloween. Now with the advent of neo-horror that takes the trashy, grindhouse-esque cheesy nature of old slashers and slicks on some high production values and insulting feigning of narrative complexity and of character complexity, that shit ain't cool no more. Thank the gods for I Know What You Did Last Summer. I don't even need to go into depth as to which specific devices the movie uses to frighten the Dawson's Creek (which the child molester who wrote this created) crowd because you'll know it when you see it. Just the same old shit with a little more irony and self-consciousness! I will note, however, that the Fisherman serves as the beginning of the trend to take an ordinary garment and make it evil. See also Urban Legend's parka, Urban Legends' fencing outfit, etc., etc. Thanks a lot, Last Summer!
Oh, research done by the Internet. When are you ever not funny?
This movie has an interesting history. It was made mostly as a result of Scream's success, obviously. Kevin Williamson wrote the script to both Scream and I Know What You Did Last Summer, and when the former obtained success critically and at the box office, the script was rushed into production for sake of some good old fashioning cashing in. The thing is...the two are completely different. If Columbia thought they were getting their answer to Scream, they thought wrong, as the two are completely different in tone. For better or for worse, Scream is tongue-in-cheek, ironic, attempting to be funny. I Know What You Did Last Summer, contrastingly, is completely serious (with maybe a little irony in the way of ironic teenage dickhead one-liners, but anybody could do that) and dark in mood and tone. It serves as a precursor to all the doom and gloom slashers which would assault the multiplexes in the late 90s. The sequel would be zanier, as it had black people and Jack Black pretending to be a black man, but this one is stark in its devotion to telling its inane, depthless story. Thus, we see what the 90s slasher revival was really all about - not a new way of staging horror but rather a simple rehashing of old elements. Scream had the veneer of doing something different, but Kevin Williamson's followup script showed Scream was simply same old shit with obnoxious late 90s irony tacked onto it. Thus, it is my belief that I Know What You Did Last Summer was the true first film in the trend.
I Know What You Did Last Summer also bred more evil teen stars than Scream did. With Scream, you had Courteney Cox, Neve Campbell, Rose McGowan. One already had success, one is so pathetic now she will reprise in Scream 4, and another is fucking Robert "Spy Kids: Rape" Rodriguez ('nuff said). David Arquette and Jamie Kennedy do not count because they're most likely dead now. Last Summer, on the other hand, has Sarah Michelle Gellar, Freddie Prinze Jr. and Jennifer Love Hewitt, all of whom have gone on to destroy people's lives with their shitty, shitty films and shitty television roles. Freddie Prinze Jr. alone tips it in this film's favor for his status of romantic comedy Hitler starting in the late 90s. So what if Scream introduced us to Matthew Lillard? So did the Bible in that story about the snake but you don't see Richard Roeper or some other fuck praising that book. So yes, the acting is very poor on part of everyone in this flick. And why not, they're hot people according to the WB audience. Though I will say Jennifer Love Hewitt looked hot in this movie. Too bad her hotness faded into whiny ugliness about 5 years after this.
"We got totally wasted last summer and had sex! You were great!"
The final comparison to Scream I believe I need to make to proves I Know What You Did Last Summer's greater importance: the sequels. Wes Craven directed every Scream movie and Richardson wrote the first and second ones. I Still Know What You Did Last Summer included neither the first's director nor writer. By the third one it was already headed into direct to video territory (with none of the preceding films' cast, might I add). This is the format successors in the neo-slasher subgenre would emulate, not Scream's. It's much easier to slash budget upon a sequel and then ride it out in the video market. Less expenditures yields more profit. Sure, you could say it was the 80s slashers which spawned numerous sequels that neo-slashers were aping, but I Know What You Did Last Summer brought that style back to the fore. Who knows if we'd get a Hellraiser 486 without this Freddie Prinze Jr.-fueled idiocy.
Well, back to discussing this shitpile of a movie, eh? I spent so much time speaking of its outside value because, really, the movie has nothing much in it. Standard boilerplate nonsense of distinctive looking killers and promiscuous (but not that promiscuous) teens and a covering up an accidental death storytelling engine which I'm pretty sure Ted Kennedy used before to better acclaim. There's nothing fucking there, people, except for Jennifer Love Hewitt's tits and the brave new old world of generic product meant to stimulate the masses into adrenal ecstasy. Face front, true believers, this is godawful rubbish. Therefore, only watch if one seeks to understand better the toxic cultural climate of Clinton's second term's years of America. I suggest a bottle of wine to accompany, since you fucking know I didn't watch this shit without getting wasted before and during.
How many drinks do I need for this to be good?: 440