A By-The-Numbers Slasher That Lacks Cutting Edge
When it comes to post-modern slashers, along with the Scream franchise I Know What You Did Last Summer is one of the most internationally successful slasher movies ever released. While A Nightmare On Elm Street and Texas Chainsaw Massacre are likely to be the names you remember for years to come alongside Scream, there’s no denying I Know What You Did Last Summer was incredibly successful when it dropped back in 1997. Unfortunately the film is riddled with problems; from its uninteresting cast of characters to its uninspired storyline, I Know What You Did Last Summer falls short of hitting the right notes to make it an enjoyable slasher, failing to inject the title with enough excitement to give it a decent lasting impression.
The story follows the conventional route so many slasher movies before it have taken. A group of teens are stalked by a hook-wielding maniac and begin getting killed off one at a time. All of this stems from an accident that occurs at the beginning of this living nightmare where the group run over an innocent man and dump the dead body in a nearby lake. When threatening notes show up some time later, it’s clear someone knows what happened and what transpires is a fight for survival as the teens scramble to piece together what happened while avoiding being killed themselves.
The story itself plays on the success of Scream and all those before it but fails to really nail the lasting power needed to make this anything but a by-the-numbers slasher. The film lacks energy and fails to inject the scenes with enough memorable set pieces to make it worth re-watching. Unlike Scream which boasts one of the most iconic villains in this genre, I Know What You Did Last Summer’s hook-wielding murderer fails to inspire the same memorable look. Last Summer is a perfectly serviceable horror in its own right and its international success speaks for itself but it pales in comparison with so many others in this genre.
All of this builds toward the end reveal and final hoorah which lacks inspiration and if anything, seems a bit disappointing and obvious in the grand scheme of things. It doesn’t help that you can empathise with the villain far more than the teenagers, especially after running over the victim while drinking alcohol. It’s certainly not the best way to garner empathy for our protagonists who, for the most part, are unlikable and make it difficult to really care about the main characters.
When it comes down to it, I Know What You Did Last Summer is a simple slasher movie complete with forgettable characters and an uninspiring plot. With so many other options in this category of horror, this is unlikely to be a film you return to in a hurry.