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I Know What You Did Last Summer(1997) - Hateful Teens Get What's Coming To Them [User Review] [User Review]

 

I like to say something positive about every film I review, so I will get that out of the way by saying that Jennifer Love Hewitt never looked better than she does here. The movie poster made her career, along with the scene of her standing in the street and yelling after finding crabs in her trunk (now if that isn't subliminal somehow...). The movie picks up when she starts walking around in that little low-cut blue top. If there is any reason to watch the film now, it is to watch her fleeting moment of glory before she started putting on weight. She looks mighty fine.

Overall, this film is ruined by terrible acting and busy direction. We don't get just a scene of the actors walking along - no, we first have to see a random fisherman carrying a humongous fish, I guess to establish that, yes, those fishing boats in the background do indeed mean that this is a fishing village. Sloppiness abounds. As for the acting, don't get me started. Sarah Michelle Gellar reads her lines like a prim schoolgirl reading cue cards with her perfect little pronunciations that sound like she is trying desperately for that "A" in elocution. Ryan Phillipe plays his character as if he wants us to throw darts at the movie screen. JLH is mousy one minute and hyperactive the next, and Freddie Prinze Jr. shows he is the master at looking blank while everybody else is over-acting. Everyone seems to be self-conscious in the extreme, straining to create that little extra touch of suspense from random scenes that contain no suspense at all.

As for the script, I credit Kevin Williamson with creating characters so unlikeable that we begin rooting for the Gorton Fish Guy to finish them off quickly. They hit some poor schnook in the road, and only get upset at what might happen to THEM. By the way, they know the guy they hit wasn't dead because he moaned and opened his eyes - hello? Are we supposed to feel sympathy for people who don't lift a finger to help an innocent victim they hit and who, as events overwhelmingly establish, was not fatally hurt? This scene in particular was parodied nicely in "Scary Movie," but the whole film is ripe for that treatment.

So much makes no sense. Ryan Phillipe goes around punching people at random, really personifying the Ugly Teen paradigm that is the heart and soul of this film, yet the remorseless killer charitably spares his life early in the film - why? Sarah Michelle Gellar, lose the Marlon Brando biker hat! The Jennifer Love Hewitt character, Little Miss Know-It-All (they have a much better name for her in "Scary Movie), draws instant conclusions from nothing ("This is his weekend, if he's going to do it, he will do it now" - huh?). The first teen killed, I don't get that, he had nothing to do with the incident at all and in fact kind of sees through the ugly teens' act, why would the killer target him at all, much less first? So much makes no sense. Meanwhile, the teens walk around in their own little self-absorbed dreamworld while everyone else is oblivious to everything. Um, the world at large really isn't that clueless, you know....

It's difficult to like a film when you can't like the characters. Ugly teens - don't get me wrong, they are pretty boys and girls, just ugly in the sense of being utterly unlikeable, self-absorbed and arrogant - are a really shaky foundation on which to build a film. Williamson should have gone all the way and made it clearer they had it coming by giving some insight into the slasher's character and motives. As it is, we are driven to try to empathize with characters we also are driven to despise. That internal contradiction ruins the film, well, unless you really do start rooting for the killer....

A wildly over-rated film that may please fans of the actors, but probably not too many others. May also be good if you want to see arrogant little High School Gods and Goddesses get their comeuppance.





Source of the Bitter: RetroGuy09

Comments, rants and other stuffs below
vhabhi (not verified) on Mon, 03/22/2010 - 2:35am

These people still have fans

JAS on Sat, 02/13/2010 - 4:46pm

Wait. What? These people still have fans?

I thank you for the great review, but I also am slightly upset as after years I managed to whipe this one from memory... and now it's back. Years of therapy wasted!

The only good to come of this movie is JLH jubblies and as you put it "May also be good if you want to see arrogant little High School Gods and Goddesses get their comeuppance."

Que on Sat, 02/13/2010 - 5:04pm

have to say I actually enjoyed the 'scarymovie 1'. after all.