I was looking forward to watching this one again but found myself wary, will it stand up to my memories? Something shocking happened: I realised, I’ve never seen this film. The film began, ‘Sarah Michelle Gellar! I don’t remember her being in it, and what’s happened to Brandy?’ So I’d skipped the first and only ever seen the second in the series.
The film begins with four teens, the last day of summer, a crazy time before they all float off to collage and never see each other again after making all those sweet promises. Things get a bit wild on that last night and as with all good things, sometimes life throws in a little extra to freak us out and this time, it’s in the form of a man standing in the road, hitting the bonnet, bouncing down the road, then being ditched in the sea by the teens to avoid any questions. But he wasn’t dead until he hit the sea, which makes it murder. Damn. One year later, Julie James (Jennifer Love Hewitt) gets a letter with a few simple words, ‘I know what you did last summer.’
It’s a nice simple but clever plot. Four contrasting tee characters in a bad situation and how they deal with it and the results, which come out. The young cast are great and exciting. Hewitt is a gem and one of my favourite actresses who really should make more film. Ryan Phillippe is also brilliant and shows just what he has to offer and a hint of what’s to come. Freddie Prinze Jr. is good here, but for me, always a bit obvious and lastly, Gellar who I’m not really a fan of, but she’s great here, as she was in Cruel Intensions.
The film was always seen as a bandwagon to the success of Scream, but this is a very different film. Where Scream is clever, fast, witty, sharp and groundbreaking, IKWYDLS is a far more gentler structure, more of a safe film with a thriller heart and a nod in the Hitchcock direction. It’s got a huge dramatic score, which builds tension and it’s photographed beautifully, the pace, look and feel are great, but the one bad point is the script which stinks. It’s shockingly bad and it’s a shame as these actors could have done wonders with a great script. Jim Gillespie (Director) still manages to gain a great performance from all of them, but what if the script was class? We would have had a stunning film on our hands. Alas, it wasn’t to be, but the film is saved by its look and it’s cast keeping the film enjoyable. Thankfully, this and Scream were responsible for a rebirth of horror, adding a fresh popular credibility to a new generation which has only got stronger.
Finally, the villain of the film, which I so far haven’t mentioned is a pretty damn good screen bad guy. Fish hook, hat n coat; memorable and well visioned. If I remember right, he’s great in the sequel, but here he is more subtle. His demise here is amazing though, I’ve never seen anything like it, crazy and original. The film ends with a great final scene too.