Fourth of July Horror: “I Know What You Did Last Summer” (1997)


Most hard core horror fans are not exactly big fans of the meta, self aware, late 90’s style of horror movie that “Scream” so successfully ushered in. Movies like “I Know What You Did Last Summer” and “Urban Legend” were huge hits with the general public but less so with horror fans and critics alike. How dare they create a fun, knowingly mocking type of horror movie? Looking back more than a decade later, it’s easier to see the appeal of these films. They are cheeky, tongue-in-cheek slasher films with hot WB casts gets butchered in interesting ways. Are these great films? That’s debatable. Are they a hell of a lot of fun? You bet. With all that being said, we take a look at the perfect movie to celebrate this Fourth of July, the 1997 slasher hit I Know What You Did Last Summer.

The plot of “I Know” is strictly 80’s slasher fodder. When four friends accidentally hit and kill a man on a road at night, they start to panic and decide to dump the body into the sea. A year later, they all try to settle down again, but one of the friends receives a note in the post, with the words ‘I know what you did last summer’. As each of the friends gains their own reminder, they finally accept the one thing they feared the most; someone knows what happened that night, and now they’re out for revenge.

Tell me you didn’t see THAT coming? “I Know” is silly and the ending has more holes in it than most of the bodies but it’s pleasant enough. This is the kind of old fashioned slasher that we just don’t see today. More emphasis on character and setting (believe me North Carolina has never looked more beautiful) than blood and gore really help this film succeed. Though both male characters played by Phillippe and Prinze Jr. are played as bores, the female characters of Julie and Helen, played by Jennifer Love Hewitt and Sarah Michelle Gellar respectively, shine. These girls actually feel like real friends and behave as though real friends would behave. Helen’s chase scene is one of the best I’ve seen committed to film and Gellar screams like a champ. I can’t say “I Know” is groundbreaking or revolutionary but it’s more fun than most horror movies that routinely open today. Plus, the best news? It’s not a sequel OR a remake!