I Know What You Did Last Summer (R)
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This was loosely based on a 1973 book that I haven't read, by Lois Duncan. The movie came out in 1997, and was written by Kevin Williamson, who had previously written the 1996 movie Scream, without the success of which this movie never would have been produced. Anyway, I was surely very aware of this movie when it came out, because it was part of the much-hyped revival of the horror genre that had started with "Scream." And... before watching the movie on DVD in 2017 (when I'm writing this review), I felt certain that I must have seen the movie at some point, either on TV or VHS. But watching it twenty years after it came out, it didn't seem familiar enough for me to be sure whether I'd seen it before or not. (Not, of course, that that matters to anyone but me.)
It begins on the Fourth of July, when a girl named Helen (Sarah Michelle Gellar) wins a local beauty pageant. In the audience are her best friend, Julie (Jennifer Love Hewitt), Helen's boyfriend, Barry (Ryan Phillipe), and Julie's boyfriend, Ray (Freddie Prinze Jr.) After the pageant, the four friends spend some time at a party, and later spend time together on the beach, where they have a good-natured disagreement about the way the urban legend "The Hook" is supposed to go. Later that night, while driving home, they accidentally hit a man in the road. At first they think it was an animal, but when they find the body, a drunken Barry insists on trying to cover up what happened, though Julie would rather call the police. Ultimately, the four of them agree to Barry's plan, and they dump the body in the ocean (though ridiculously close to shore, I thought).
One year later, Julie returns home from her first year of college, obviously still deeply distressed over what had happened the previous summer. And then she gets an anonymous note saying "I know what you did last summer." This leads to her getting back in touch with her old friends, none of whom she'd talked to in the past year. And it seems none of their plans for the future had worked out. (Incidentally, I want to mention that one minor plot point is how everyone except Ray ostensibly came from wealthy families, though it never really seemed to me like any of them were remotely "rich," or anything.) Ray clearly wants to get back together with Julie, and Helen wants to renew her friendship with Julie, but Julie really isn't much interested in them, beyond figuring out what the hell is going on. Anyway, Barry quickly assumes the person who sent the note must be a guy named Max (Johnny Galecki), who always had a crush on Julie, but also had seen them on the road the night of the accident. So Barry confronts Max, who seems to have no idea what the confrontation is about. And later, Max is murdered (for no apparent reason) by whoever had sent the note to Julie. And over the days leading up to the anniversary of the accident, the killer (who wears a fisherman's rain slicker and hat and carries a large hook) stalks the four friends. Meanwhile, they try to figure out who's doing all this.
That's all I want to reveal of the plot. It's not the greatest movie, but I do think it was fairly fun. Of course, that may be partly out of a sense of nostalgia for the time in which it came out, and the fact that it's always nice to see Gellar and Hewitt in anything. Anyway, it's nice to have seen the movie, whether it was for the first or the second time. And since I got it on a triple feature DVD set, I'll soon watch and review the two sequels, which I think it's safe to say I haven't seen before.
Followed by I Still Know What You Did Last Summer