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File:SummerTrilogy 4509.jpg

Some people really don't know how to let things go...

I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997) is a horror/slasher film very loosely based on the novel of the same name by Lois Duncan, starring Freddie Prinze, Jr., Sarah Michelle Gellar, Jennifer Love Hewitt, and Ryan Phillippe. The screenplay was written by Kevin Williamson, one of the writers of Scream.

The tale starts with a party and the consumption of too much alcohol, as these stories tend to do, during a beach party after Helen Shivers (Gellar) wins the Croaker County Beauty Pageant. On the way home, however, a drunken swerve of the friends' car leads to the death of a fisherman on the side of the road. The four decide to tell no one, and to forget the whole thing, throwing the body into the ocean. But somebody saw, and the next summer, they start to take vengeance, warning the four with an ominous message: I KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER. Before long, people start dying, killed by a rain-slicker-clad figure wielding a hook...

I Know What You Did Last Summer was followed by two sequels: I Still Know What You Did Last Summer (1998) and the straight-to-video I'll Always Know What You Did Last Summer (2006).

This movie contains examples of:

  • Asshole Victim: The fine details are up for debate, but this is a slasher film that actually attempts to justify all the various teenagers getting killed; a hit-and-run probably doesn't deserve a Roaring Rampage of Revenge, but it's not the usual innocent batch of campers either.
    • Max, in the first film, kind of qualifies.
  • Audible Sharpness: The hook in the both movies. Even when it contacts nothing but air.
  • Black Spot
  • The Capital of Brazil Is Buenos Aires: Lampshaded and subverted in the second movie as a plot point.
  • The Cast Showoff: Jennifer Love Hewitt singing karaoke in the sequel. In addition to acting, Hewitt was also a pop star, enjoying a fair degree of success in, of all places, Japan.
  • Dark Secret: The hit and run that starts the plot.
  • Fan Service: Jennifer Love Hewitt in that tank top she wears for the final third of the first film.
    • Also her wiggling around in the tanning bed in the second.
  • Final Girl: Julie in the first two films and Amber in the third
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: The Fisherman.
  • Hey, It's That Guy!: Hey, Jack Black! What are you doing playing as a pothead in the sequel?
  • Hook Hand: The killer in the sequel has one of these. In the original movie, the killer carries a gaffing hook.
  • Horror Doesn't Settle for Simple Tuesday: All three films take place around the Fourth of July.
  • In Name Only: The book and the first film begin similarly, but go in different directions (and, arguably, different genres--the book is much slower-paced and less violent.)
    • It's telling that the sequel doesn't credit Lois Duncan for the use of her (remaining) characters.
    • The third film is this to the first two as besides lacking any of the other characters besides the Fisherman it shifts into outright supernatural horror.
  • It Was Here, I Swear: Used repeatedly (and relentlessly). The most egregious example is the dead body and 400 crabs stowed in the trunk of one character, only to disappear equally suddenly.
  • Jerk Jock: Barry
  • Nasty Party
  • Not Quite Dead: The Fisherman.
  • Offscreen Teleportation
  • Our Ghosts Are Different: The Fisherman in the third movie, possibly some kind of Living Memory.
  • Pick on Someone Your Own Size: Intergender example; the crazed fisherman is obsessed with killing Julie James and friends after they hit him with their car. He got better.
  • Punny Name: Will Benson, who was the son of the previous killer, Ben.
    • Its even lampshaded.
  • Radio Contest: Subverted in I Still Know.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: The Fisherman in I'll Always Know, after The Reveal.
  • The Reveal:
    • I Know: The killer is Ben Willis (the guy the group actually hit) and not David Egan (who they thought they hit, and who Ben actually killed) or someone trying to avenge him.
    • I Still Know: Will Benson is (obviously) Ben's son.
    • I'll Always Know: It's not a copycat, the killer is Ben, who has literally come back from the dead this time.
  • Revenge Before Reason: The Fisherman.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: The fisherman after he's left for dead in the first movie.
  • The Stinger: Someone is still trying to kill Jennifer Love Hewitt at the end of the sequel. According to Part 3, it's the Fisherman himself. After Jennifer killed him, he came back as a ghostly entity that looks like a zombie.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Helen and Barry.
  • Villain Ball: The Fisherman sure does pass up a lot of opportunities to kill those teens. Somewhat justified in the first movie, where his intent is not only to kill them, but to make them squirm and be afraid. Still, Willis' quest for revenge threatens to expose his murder of David Egan, which he would've been clear of completely thanks to the teens. The second movie is arguably worse, where the Fisherman should know better by then not to mess around.
  • Xanatos Roulette: The Fisherman's plan in the second movie, getting Julie to an island resort full of people. Additionally, there's ensuring that Julie would become friends with his son and the "contest" to win the trip.