IKWYDLS (4th Of July Movie Review) | Get Tonk'd | Your Pop Culture Protein Fix

"Happy Fourth Of July, Julie!" | I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997)

IKWYDLS (4th Of July Movie Review) | Get Tonk'd | Your Pop Culture Protein Fix

"Happy Fourth Of July, Julie!" | I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997)

There are certain movies that will be forever linked to a time of year. Die Hard? Christmas. Independence Day? July 4th. Halloween? Well...you get the idea. In fact, the horror genre is notorious for using holidays as a place-setting. From Black Christmas to Friday the 13th to Trick 'R Treat, slasher movies, in particular, rely on a holidays or important events as the backbone to their story. Lol. 'Story'.

Back in the summer of 1997, less than a year after Scream blew-up the box office and basically revived a dying genre, I Know What You Did Last Summer hit the silver screen. Like Friday the 13th was to Halloween, I Know... was the first of the cash-and-grab 'rip-offs' that dominated theatres for a solid five years, before eventually petering out as supernatural shockers like The Blair Witch Project and The Sixth Sense ushered in the early 00's.

Writing this now and realising the 'resurgence' of teen slasher barely lasted half-a-decade, I can understand why many horror fans recall the 90's with such derision. Looking back, many of these movies just aren't very good. Not to point fingers *cough*Urban Legend*cough*. However, as a kid, these movies were everything! And since I enjoy looking at the world through the rose-tinted spectacles of nostalgia it seemed only fitting to review one of my personal faves.

Loosely based on Lois Duncan's 1973 YA suspense novel of the same name, I Know... shares more in common with 80's slasher Prom Night than it does with its original source material. This comes as no surprise, as Hollywood's then-golden boy, Kevin Williamson, Scream mastermind and horror-buff, is screenwriter here too. (Fun fact: Williamson went on to adapt and direct another Lois Duncan novel Killing Mr Griffin into Katie Holmes-vehicle Teaching Mrs Tingle. It's not great, but Helen Mirren is in it so...)

I Know... tells the story of four teens with hilariously bad names, Julie, Helen, Barry and Ray, who accidentally kill a man whilst driving home from a Fourth of July party. These kids, mostly entitled high school graduates with the world at their feet, freak the f*** out and decide to dump the body in the ocean. Big mistake. Huge.

"When you leave a man for dead. Make sure he's really dead."

One year later, Julie, the group's moral compass and general whiner, played by Jennifer Love Hewitt's breasts (seriously, her tops are so tiny!), returns to her hometown of Capeside (it's not, but it's basically the same as Dawson's Creek, another Williamson creation) after an unsuccessful year of flunking through college. She's depressed, her Mom is super disappointed in her, and to cap it all off someone has sent her a letter. Unmarked. Reading...


Dun dun dun! Julie hooks up with her friends to figure out what the hell is going on -- Helen (a star-turn from Sarah Michelle Gellar), Barry, (sexy-as-hell Ryan Phillippe), and Ray (Freddie Prinze Jr) -- Anyway shit starts going down. The killer, a Fisherman with a bloody hook-for-a-hand, starts messing with them; running them down, chopping off their hair, putting a body in the trunk of their car... The usual.

Here's the thing. 90's teen horror films were less exploitative that their 80's counter-parts, due to the characters being hip to tropes, so there's little-to-no nudity and, in the case of I Know..., very little gore. That being said, this film along with 1999's Cruel Intentions played a huge part in my sexual awakening, mainly due to Ryan Phillippe's abs. I replayed that locker scene like...a lot!

The story focuses on four main characters and pretty much sticks with them throughout, so Act 2 plays out mostly like a mystery-thriller, with Julie and the gang trying to figure out who is f***ing with them.

"What are you waiting for, huh, what are you waiting for? WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOOOOOOR!!"

It's Act 3, when the kids start actually dying, that things really kick into gear. The best part of the movie (and one of the greatest moments in ANY slasher movie EVER), is Sarah Michelle Gellar's chase scene. The set-up is that *spoiler alert* Helen has just watched her boyfriend, Barry, get murdered, but no-one believes her. Natch. Classic sexism at work here. Anyhoo, she is driven home by a cop, only for the road to be blocked forcing them to take the alley. Gasp. There, the cop meets the pointy end of the Fisherman's hook and it game-on!

In the next five minutes, Gellar kicks her way out of the cop car, sprints through the deserted (LOL) streets to her sister's store, Laurie Strode's the front door until finally being let in. But of course, the killer has snuck in through the back. He offs the sister (who is a total dick anyway) and cat-and-mouses Gellar, before chasing her upstairs, out a window and down an alley. My description is doing the scene absolutely no justice, but needless to say it is epic, ridiculous and brilliant. The thing is, Sarah Michelle Gellar's portray of Helen has been so likeable, side-stepping the usual 'hot best friend' tropes and giving the character some real pathos, you are willing her to survive. Whether she does or not? Well you'd have to watch the movie.

I Know... is silly, contrived and dated. But it's iconic. You've got TV series naming episodes after it, kids writing songs of the same name. It's a term ingrained into popular culture. And every Fourth of July I am reminded why.

"Happy Fourth of July, Julie!"