It All Happens In The Dark

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The boys and girls of summer.

I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997)

You know the story. It is almost as old as the urban legend the kids tell around the campfire in the beginning of the film: teens partying, teens cause accidental death of stranger, teens played by flawless looking television stars, teens decide instead of going to the authorities (which would RUIN their lives forever) to dump the body and swear to never speak of it again. One year later a killer pops up and begins picking them off one by one.

Based on a young adult novel by Lois Duncan (who doesn’t even get a mention in the opening credits) this was the second horror film written by Kevin Williamson, who the year before had a surprise hit on his hands with Scream. So I was expecting something a little more mature and meaty than I got – aside from a few pop culture puns there isn’t any of the tomfoolery or genuine suspense that Williamson brought us with his previous genre dissecting script. This is a phoned in, by the numbers, no muss, no fuss affair elevated by some good performances.

Jennifer Love Hewitt is a wan final girl, so thank God for Sarah Michelle Gellar who really livens things up – she gets the best lines of the film and has a killer chase scene – watching her performance here made me really ache for those days back in the 90s when her career was flying high, because I sorely miss her presence from filmdom. (Yes, I’m letting her ho hum, going-through-the-motions performance in The Grudge slide.)

Here is a selection of some of the things on my mind as I watched this again:

Why do they let Ray (Freddie Prinze Jr.) the stupidest of their group check the pulse of the person they just ran over?

What is Julie studying at college?

Where is Julie’s father?

I like the little exclamation point that the writer of the titular phrase included on his note to Julie.

Julie’s mother asks her if she is one drugs, and she isn’t – but maybe she should be – she is so mopey she started to drag me down.

Barry runs out of the gym because it appears that someone is stealing his car and the guy behind the desk just does what – goes back to reading his paper? And no one hears all the hubbub – the massive crash bang boom – of a car driving into and through a building on what was a quiet night?

When the group gathers in Barry’s hospital room and again discusses what they’ve done and what they should now do, why do they leave the door wide open and raise their voices? Do they all secretly really want everyone to know?

The person behind this has already put Barry in the hospital, so the two girls decide to go off on their own? This is what Julie says to Helen (Sarah Michelle Gellar) about visiting the place where the person they think they killed used to live: “What have we got to lose?” Um, your lives maybe?

How is the killer able to get the body out of the trunk of Julie’s car so quickly without leaving behind even one stray crab or any sign anything was ever there?

Julie is such a bitch. I wish Neve Campbell had played the role instead.

Why is everyone in Helen’s family so mean to her?

It is strange watching Sarah Michelle Gellar getting her ass kicked by some Joe Schmo in a slicker, while on Buffy we’ve seen she is capable of besting Gods and defeating The First Evil Ever.

The killer gives Helen a surprise hair cut while she sleeps – which she gets a cute bob out of and ends up looking better than she did before the slasher’s scissor session.

As far as killer fisherman films go this one is a cut above, but it still misses the mark. C+


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