I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997)
Dir: Jim Gillespie
My sister used to work in a library, and often brought home books she thought I might enjoy. This was one of them, and so I read the book when I was part of the target audience, a teen, and had always wanted to see the film, but have only now gotten around to it.
When four friends (Sarah Michelle Gellar, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Freddy Prinze Jr. and Ryan Phillippe) go out to celebrate graduating high school, they accidentally run over a man in their car, deciding to get rid of the body and never mention it again. However, a year later, they realise that someone knows, and is out for revenge!
This film adaptation of the book is considered classic 90’s horror, possibly the most recognised of the genre in that decade along with ‘Scream’ (both screenplays were written by the same man, Kevin Williamson). Both of those films have been parodied and referenced to death (no pun intended), and spoofed in things such as ‘Scary Movie’ and endless comedy sketches. Aspects of this in both style and story are clearly evident in much work of the horror genre since, but even when it’s used as inspiration in a respectful way they rarely garner the same level of entry into the zeitgeist as this did and still maintains.
This story involves a lot more suspense than gore, which is far better than the recent trends which have been more towards what’s commonly referred to as ‘torture porn’ and buckets of visceral entrails. Sadly the idea wouldn’t work so well nowadays with everyone carrying a mobile. I can’t quite imagine Julie James (Jennifer Love Hewitt) just texting the others, ‘Sum guy iz after me! Lol’.
All the main four actors have gone on to have moderately succesful careers, and one marriage that at last check is still going strong. There’s even a small role for a young Johnny Galecki who has found huge success on ‘The Big Bang Theory’.
This remains a classic of the genre and especially of its time, and will likely go on to scare teens who are discerning enough to choose suspense and scares over vomit-inducing gore.