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The F*cking Black Sheep: I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997)

Aug. 31, 2012by: Ryan Doom

THE BLACK SHEEP is an ongoing column featuring different takes on films that either the writer HATED, but that the majority of film fans LOVED, or that the writer LOVED, but that most others LOATH. We're hoping this column will promote constructive and geek fueled discussion. Dig in!

I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997)
Directed by Jim Gillespie

“Few think of I Know What You Did Last Summer as premium whiskey, but it ain’t the cheap stuff neither.”

Ah…1997. Brad Pitt and Gwyneth Paltrow sadly split. HBO committed to HD programming (it’d take a while). Mike Tyson ate Evander Holyfield (well, his ear). And I Know What You Did Last Summer continued the horror resurgence trend as the genre had reinvented itself with Scream and somewhat broke away from the recycled formulas of the 1980s. While Wes Craven rightfully gets the respect from his work on Scream, the real man to honor is Kevin Williamson, who returned horror to the teenage years finding ways to make it all seem relevant once again without slicing out the good stuff.

How? Well, it’s not simple to explain, but think of it this way. Both Scream and I Know What You Did Last Summer found that delicate balance between gore, campiness, and teen angst. They were slick productions, but they weren’t sloppy either. They were easily accessible to mass audiences and did the little things quality horror needs: some scares, some hot women, some blood, and one maniac. Not a perfect formula, but Williamson had a way of taking those painfully tired stereotypes and breathing a little life into a deflated corpse.

At least that’s the way I remember it. Let’s face it. Few think of IKWUDLS (that’s a long title to keep typing) as premium whiskey, but it ain’t the cheap stuff neither. Its quality goods that won’t disappoint. Unless you’re hoping for Love Hewitt or Michelle Gellar nude or you’re in search of something sophisticated …then it will disappoint. And if that’s the case, why would you read a column like this one?

Ok…so looking back... IKWUDLS relies on the same tried clichés that all horror does…right down to the campfire scene on the beach where the four graduating seniors (the jock, the beauty queen, the smart girl, the soft guy) all exchange ghost stories about a man with a hook. But so what. The movie knows it can’t stray too far from what works, but at least it doesn’t feel tired. IKWUDLS remembers to have a little fun while still spilling a few pounds of guts and working in the occasional stabbing. You know, the important things of horror.

Speaking of the important things, IKWUDLS owes a great debt to their luck in casting with a damn great collection of actors with Jennifer Love Hewitt, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Ryan Phillippe, Freddie Prinze Jr (does he still count as famous?), Anne Heche, and even the guy from the Big Bang Theory Johnny Galecki. That’s not just a lot of names for a teen horror movie, but mostly A names. It’s something that should happen way more.

With all this praise, I gotta give the biggest knock of IKWUDLS thanks to Scary Movie, which parodied perhaps some of the biggest moments…notably the Love Hewitt spin around sequence “What are you waiting for!!!” and Michelle Gellar’s meltdown during the beauty pageant. They captured those moments perfectly, leaving it impossible to revisit IKWUDL and not laugh. However, it’s not like the movie doesn’t have plenty of stupidity all alone with my favorite dumb element … the letter. When Love Hewitt receives it, the note inside threatens "I Know What You Did Last Summer!" written, of course, in perfect handwriting. As if a deranged killed could possibly have such fine penmanship. Please.

Even with the Wayne’s brothers spoiling the fun years later, they couldn’t diminish the impact of the killer. Yeah, so maybe a fisherman dressed in rainslicks isn’t all that frightening, but that hook, man, it works. There’s a great, small moment when the fisherman drags Michelle Gellar’s sister across the floor with the hook firmly in place in her side. It’s damn brutal looking. The film never goes overboard with gore, but it always reminds audiences that the brutal killshot isn't always necessary.

GET I KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER DVD HERE

GET I KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER BLU RAY HERE

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+5
9:05PM on 08/30/2012
I've always liked this badboy . It's more of that ' beautiful kids in peril ' fluff that flooded the big screens back in the day , but , as you pointed out , the A-List cast helped draw the crowds , and Williamson's words and the gore-lite formula worked wonders . GOOD CHOICE My Man , Good call !!
I've always liked this badboy . It's more of that ' beautiful kids in peril ' fluff that flooded the big screens back in the day , but , as you pointed out , the A-List cast helped draw the crowds , and Williamson's words and the gore-lite formula worked wonders . GOOD CHOICE My Man , Good call !!
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10:33AM on 08/31/2012
This is much better than "I Still Know What You Did Last Summer". All casts were at the top of their game and I too enjoy this movie.
This is much better than "I Still Know What You Did Last Summer". All casts were at the top of their game and I too enjoy this movie.
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2:07PM on 08/31/2012
Good Job! My main gripe with this movie was how fake the dead bodies in the ice looked. I couldn't tell who was supposed to be who. But good movie nonetheless.
Good Job! My main gripe with this movie was how fake the dead bodies in the ice looked. I couldn't tell who was supposed to be who. But good movie nonetheless.
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4:08PM on 08/31/2012
I actually rewatched this flick the other night after rewatching Valentine and Urban Legends (the descendants of Scream, if you will). Definitely a fun movie. Phillippe's insane temper cracks me up in this one.
I actually rewatched this flick the other night after rewatching Valentine and Urban Legends (the descendants of Scream, if you will). Definitely a fun movie. Phillippe's insane temper cracks me up in this one.
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+1
4:48PM on 08/31/2012
The letter would be better if it wasn't written in such bubbly handwriting and dropped the !
The letter would be better if it wasn't written in such bubbly handwriting and dropped the !
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5:11PM on 08/31/2012
I've always liked this movie, yet I've always disliked 'Scream'. Go figure.
I've always liked this movie, yet I've always disliked 'Scream'. Go figure.
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+2
5:17PM on 08/31/2012
I adore Scream but I also loved this movie, even more so playing it straight and being a cast back to the old style slashers aped in Scream. The cast were great, though Hewitt's scream alsways seems a little forced to me. I seem to remember a gorier version when I saw at the cinema compared to what's out there now. It's frustratingly not available here in UK on Blu ray and am hoping a decent special edition will be released soon.
Also kill me but as much as it's more of a cheesy slasher
I adore Scream but I also loved this movie, even more so playing it straight and being a cast back to the old style slashers aped in Scream. The cast were great, though Hewitt's scream alsways seems a little forced to me. I seem to remember a gorier version when I saw at the cinema compared to what's out there now. It's frustratingly not available here in UK on Blu ray and am hoping a decent special edition will be released soon.
Also kill me but as much as it's more of a cheesy slasher type I have a real soft spot for I still know... True it was not quite the sequel that should've been but I still enjoyed it alot and it's grown alot on me over my drunken years. I've heard there's a script out there for the sequel that should've been made that's very good. Anybody seen it/know where it is?
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11:42PM on 08/31/2012
I was at the used DVD store and found "I Will Always Know What You Did Last Summer" a few days ago and I bought it (for $2.50), knowing that it was going to be bad. I just watched it last night and of course it was beyond horrendous! Still love the first and second one though!
I was at the used DVD store and found "I Will Always Know What You Did Last Summer" a few days ago and I bought it (for $2.50), knowing that it was going to be bad. I just watched it last night and of course it was beyond horrendous! Still love the first and second one though!
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1:18AM on 09/01/2012

One of my all-time favorites

Ever since I first saw it when it came out 15 years ago (Good Lord, I feel old), I've ALWAYS loved this movie. Yes, it stars people who are almost too pretty (although I still am not sure I agree with casting Freddie Prinze Jr., but whatev), and the killer is a fuckin' fisherman (which actually can be very effective at times and DOES somewhat make sense considering the location/plot), the movie has always struck me as SO much more than a standard slasher film. Jim Gillespie directed the fuck
Ever since I first saw it when it came out 15 years ago (Good Lord, I feel old), I've ALWAYS loved this movie. Yes, it stars people who are almost too pretty (although I still am not sure I agree with casting Freddie Prinze Jr., but whatev), and the killer is a fuckin' fisherman (which actually can be very effective at times and DOES somewhat make sense considering the location/plot), the movie has always struck me as SO much more than a standard slasher film. Jim Gillespie directed the fuck out of this movie, and some of the shots and cinematography are at times kinda brilliant -- the Fisherman taking out his hook when sneaking into Helen's house, the entire opening over the ocean against the sunset, and Helen's silhouette at the beginning of her chase scene, to name a few.. Speaking of, let's be honest, Sarah Michelle Gellar's chase scene is one of the best, if not THE best, horror chase scenes ever. filmed. Even though in the final act, things start falling all to Hell and it's all highly unrealistic to being with (and of course those two pretty awful sequels didn't help), IKWYDLS (pronounced "ick-widdles") still remains one of my favorite movies of all-time. And by the way, maybe the film isn't perfect, but I can tell you what is: the original movie poster. I have it framed on my wall, and I've always thought it was both gorgeous and brilliant. Simple, but effective.. Eh, anyway, that's just my three cents...
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1:26AM on 09/01/2012

One of my all-time favorites

Ever since I first saw it when it came out 15 years ago (Good Lord, I feel old), I've ALWAYS loved this movie. Yes, it stars people who are almost too pretty (although I still am not sure I agree with casting Freddie Prinze Jr., but whatev), and the killer is a fuckin' fisherman (which actually can be very effective at times and DOES somewhat make sense considering the location/plot), the movie has always struck me as SO much more than a standard slasher film. Jim Gillespie directed the fuck
Ever since I first saw it when it came out 15 years ago (Good Lord, I feel old), I've ALWAYS loved this movie. Yes, it stars people who are almost too pretty (although I still am not sure I agree with casting Freddie Prinze Jr., but whatev), and the killer is a fuckin' fisherman (which actually can be very effective at times and DOES somewhat make sense considering the location/plot), the movie has always struck me as SO much more than a standard slasher film. Jim Gillespie directed the fuck out of this movie, and some of the shots and cinematography are at times kinda brilliant -- the Fisherman taking out his hook when sneaking into Helen's house, the entire opening over the ocean against the sunset, and Helen's silhouette at the beginning of her chase scene, to name a few.. Speaking of, let's be honest, Sarah Michelle Gellar's chase scene is one of the best, if not THE best, horror chase scenes ever. filmed. Even though in the final act, things start falling all to Hell and it's all highly unrealistic to being with (and of course those two pretty awful sequels didn't help), IKWYDLS (pronounced "ick-widdles") still remains one of my favorite movies of all-time. And by the way, maybe the film isn't perfect, but I can tell you what is: the original movie poster. I have it framed on my wall, and I've always thought it was both gorgeous and brilliant. Simple, but effective.. Eh, anyway, that's just my three cents...
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1:51AM on 09/01/2012

Great movie

One of my old school faves, always loved this movie. Scream gets all the cred from non-horror fans wanting to sound like they know something about the genre, while they simultaneously crap all over this, and unfairly so.

It's shot slickly, the music choices fit, most of the cast is dead on (Freddy Prinze's dumb face and weak delivery always cracks me up though), and the script is solid. If I could give Anne Heche an Oscar for her brief moments in this, channeling Texas Chainsaw, I would. I
One of my old school faves, always loved this movie. Scream gets all the cred from non-horror fans wanting to sound like they know something about the genre, while they simultaneously crap all over this, and unfairly so.

It's shot slickly, the music choices fit, most of the cast is dead on (Freddy Prinze's dumb face and weak delivery always cracks me up though), and the script is solid. If I could give Anne Heche an Oscar for her brief moments in this, channeling Texas Chainsaw, I would. I especially like some of the more subtle moments, that no one remembers. Like, Love Hewitt and Gellar almost reconnecting in the car, but it not being possible. Gellar's home life and relationship with her sister. The fact they all were so fucked up by what they did, that when we come back to them a year later, they can't stand each other and each of their personal dreams have died. Even just all the ways the killer fucks with them, when he could easily kill them, like cutting Gellar's hair and smashing Barry with the car. He wants them to know they're dead and suffer, until he's ready to take them.

Lots more I could say about how this script has more depth than people give it credit for, but nowadays (likely because of the terrible sequels and Freddy Prinze Failure) this is the name I hear brought up to rip on horror all the time. Great film and underrated.
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