I Know What You Did Last Summer


Rating 3½

Directed by Jim Gillespie

Written by Kevin Willimason from the book by Lois Duncan

Starring Jennifer Love Hewitt,
Sarah Michelle Gellar, Ryan Phillippe and Freddie Prinze Jr

‘I Know What You Did Last Summer’ was released in America in October 1997, one month after the start of the second season of ‘Buffy’.

Written by Kevin Williamson (the creator of ‘Dawson’s Creek’) and coming on the back of the enormous critical and commercial success of his film ‘Scream’, this one received mixed reviews at the time but was a sizeable box office hit, grossing just under $126 million. Opinion about the film seems to have become increasingly negative in the years since then; partly because Williamson’s reputation has declined, partly because slasher-movies in general are to some extent out of fashion, but largely I suspect because the main cast (Sarah Michelle Gellar, Jennifer Love Hewitt and Freddie Prinze Jr in particular) have all become somewhat contentious figures in recent years.

This is not a piece of high-art cinema but it’s a perfectly decent and well-acted film. In fact, I would be inclined to count it amongst my own personal favourites. Gellar and Ryan Phillippe, in particular, both give excellent performances. Although Gellar’s character, Helen Shivers, is vacuous and self-absorbed, Gellar successfully taps into her vulnerability, especially after her friendship with Julie (Jennifer Love Hewitt) has been irreconcilably damaged.

The film also features Anne Heche, who I happen to like. She might have had her troubled moments, but that has got nothing to do with her talents as an actor. Also, a favourite band of mine, Southern Culture On The Skids, is briefly featured during the beach party scene, another reason why I feel pre-disposed towards the film.


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