In the post-"Scream" era, the teens-and-maniacs combo no longer works. "Scream" lampooned and celebrated slasher films so expertly that any subsequent movies are likely to seem quaint and out of it.
"I Know What You Did Last Summer" certainly does. It's hard not to compare it to "Scream," also written by Kevin Williamson.
The trouble starts for Jennifer Love Hewitt, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Ryan Phillippe and Freddie Prinze Jr. when they accidentally kill a guy, whose body they dump into the ocean and forget about until a year later, when anonymous notes warn them, "I know what you did last summer."
"I Know What You Did" has a few startling moments, and the theme (how doing the wrong thing can wreck your life) resonates. Some of the dialogue is clever, but the references aren't as up to the minute as they should be, and the characters are generic.
Hewitt is an able actor, but Gellar, who is so sharp on "Buffy, the Vampire Slayer," is disappointingly blah. And her character is involved in too many stupid things like entering dark rooms. Just the kinds of stupid things, in fact, that "Scream" made fun of.
'I Know What You Did Last Summer'
Starring Jennifer Love Hewitt and Sarah Michelle Gellar
Directed by Jim Gillespie
Released by Columbia Pictures
Rated R (language, gore)
Sun score: **
Pub Date: 10/17/97