Friday, September 21, 2012

I Know What You Did Last Summer

Original Movie Poster

In the 1990s it seemed to me that horror was becoming a little cinematic in scope of the things because Stephen King movies based on his works like The Shawshank Redemption were not full of horror but drama (which isn't bad by any means) and then Scream came along and brought back the horror film and the following year I Know What You Did Last Summer came out and brought the budding horror fan in me a little hope which caused me to discover many of the classics I have already talked about. I didn't know until years later that this film was loosely based on a novel by Lois Duncan and that it wasn't as gory as it was on screen but more thriller based but I did know that I wanted to see it because Sarah Michelle Gellar was in it because I was a die hard Buffy fan but more on that later. So for those of you who have never seen this film (I shudder to think that no one has ever seen this film) let's get right to it shall we?

What's The Plot?
It's 4th Of July in the fishing town of Southport, North Carolina and newly graduated seniors: brainy but beautiful Julie James, quarterback Barry Cox and handsome but poor Ray Bronson go to see their friend and Barry's girl Helen Shivers win the crown of Croaker Queen in the yearly beauty pageant. After her win, the foursome go down to the local beach to celebrate with alcohol, making out and urban legends around the driftwood fire of the killer with a hook for a hand. They head back to town with Ray driving Barry's new graduation present car as Barry is too drunk to drive but it doesn't stop them from getting into an accident by hitting a man crossing the road and killing him. Knowing it is his car and that he is drunk, Barry freaks out when Julie mentions going to the police and the decides that they should dump the body in the ocean and never speak of this again. The others are hesitant and disgusted but Ray and Helen go along with the plan and once Barry threatens hers, Julie solemnly agrees to take this secret to the grave.

The Four Main Characters: Helen, Barry, Julie and Ray

 A year later, Julie comes home for the holiday from college but it is clear that the guilt of what she did has changed her as she is withdrawn and haunted. It doesn't help much when she gets a note stating I KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER and realizes that someone saw her, Helen, Barry and Ray run down the man on the side of the road. The secret they swore to keep has separated these four friends but now they must reunite to figure out who it was they killed and just who that person might have known that could be sending this note on the anniversary of their crime. Pretty soon a note is the least of their worries when a slicker clad figure with a hook is bent on killing the teens and making sure that they do indeed keep their promise all the way to the grave and beyond...

The Gorton Fisherman is pissed!!

Of course, telling the whole plot is a foregone conclusion if you have indeed seen this film and if not, since you know there is a sequel that I plan to talk about you know some characters from this movie survive and I will spoil it in my next post. It's not I'm mean and don't want to tell you the whole plot I just like to indulge those who don't really watch movies as much as myself and others in case they have never seen any of the films I talk about. I hope that the people who read my blog come back just to see what I talk about and see how I express my own views to films in general. I'm not an expert but I can convey things in writing much better than in speaking and I love movies and of course, love sharing that with you. Moving on from that...

What Else Can I Tell You?
I Know What You Did Last Summer has a very talented, good looking young cast who portray characters that are likeable and even un-likeable at times but it proves they are very good because in real life even the people you love or like can annoy you at times with just a shift in their attitudes or some little thing they do that annoys you to no end. Jennifer Love Hewitt as Julie is a bright young woman and a strong character but she is also human and you can see that in how she is struggling to keep the secret and what it is doing to her. She wanted to go the police and was the most logical of the four and of course the one disgusted to just get rid of the body. Jennifer Love Hewitt is a great actress as her work on Ghost Whisperer proves and she is also a new age Scream Queen of horror (quite literally).

Jennifer Love Hewitt as Julie James

Ryan Phillipe as Barry Cox is a good looking jerk jock and at times you can hate him but there are times when you can like him mostly in scenes where he is genuinely scared because he is at his most human and you can tell that Barry does indeed love Helen and is protective of her even though is is shown that keeping the secret destroyed their relationship. I can't really say much about Ryan Phillipe as an actor because the only other movie I have seen with him in it is Cruel Intentions but he was very good in the film and ironically played the same kind of character of a jerk with human emotions and actions hidden beneath the surface.

Ryan Phillipe as Barry Cox

I will be honest after I saw this movie I had a crush on Freddie Prinze Jr. big time! His role as Ray Bronson is portrayal of a character who is not as well to do as his friends or even his girlfriend Julie but he is a caring person as well as intelligent that you can look past those puppy dog brown eyes and good looks and see a real human being. Ray is probably my favorite character in the film for those reasons and I think Freddie Prinze Jr. did a good job bringing Ray to life from a character in a book to the big screen. Besides being a talented dramatic actor, Freddie excels at making me laugh as well whenever his characters require comedy which is why I love watching him in She's All That and the Scooby Doo films because having an actor who is not only good looking but good at comedic timing and dramatic, human acting is hard to find.

Freddie Prinze Jr. as Ray Bronson

Of course, Sarah Michelle Gellar-Prinze as she is known to me now is the main draw of why I went to see I Know What You Did Last Summer with my friend Chris in the first place. See around this time it was Season 2 of Buffy The Vampire Slayer, my favorite show of the time and of all-time if you want to know and I just had to see SMG on the big screen. Sarah plays Helen Shivers, beauty queen but she is not just beauty she is also brains and attitude because there is just no way you can make any role that Sarah Michelle plays be that of a ditzy dumb blonde (and if you argue with me that Buffy was one you didn't really watch the entire show or understand the complexity of the character but I digress).

Helen and Julie off to see Barry.

Helen is Julie's best friend and the secret drives a wedge between them as it does between Helen and Barry and you can see that Helen misses the closeness she once had with both of them. She also has to put up with her older sister Elsa being a bitch and that people do see her as beautiful and shallow but once she has to deal with a killer coming after her and her friends you can see the human side of Helen even in the face of fear. Yes I admit that I am a Sarah Michelle fan girl and I have no shame in it!

Sarah Michelle as Helen Shivers

As an actress, I know she is very talented and she is very versatile in her roles as strong women, likeable women you can relate to, human characters facing real problems and even bitchy women you love to hate as her role in Cruel Intentions and one part of her dual role in Ringer proves. So there you have it I love Sarah Michelle Gellar-Prinze as much as I love Ann and Nancy Wilson of Heart because there aren't too many women nowadays that I view as good role models but when you are genuinely human, beautiful and talented I'm not about to ignore that. Say what you want about it but there it is pure and simple...

Helen, Barry and Julie look for answers.

In a nutshell, I Know What You Did Last Summer is a decent, enjoyable horror flick and a very tame slasher film bordering more on thrills than out right blood and gore and it did succeeded in actually scaring me enough that in the theater I jumped in my seat and made then popular Surge soda come out my nose. If that's not a good enough reason to view this movie that it actually did shock me but not scare me (who watches horror movies on a predominant basis) then I don't know what is!

Next Blog: We return for a look at I Still Know What You Did Last the sequel worth the view?

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