I Know What You Did Last Summer

I Know What You Did Last Summer

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Jim Gillespie
Produced by
Written by Kevin Williamson
Based on I Know What You Did Last Summer by
Lois Duncan
Music by John Debney
Cinematography Denis Crossan
Edited by Steve Mirkovich
Distributed by Columbia Pictures[1]
Release dates
  • October 17, 1997 (1997-10-17)
Running time
101 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $17 million[2]
Box office $125.2 million[2]

I Know What You Did Last Summer is a 1997 American slasher film written by Kevin Williamson and directed by Jim Gillespie. The film is loosely based on the 1973 novel of the same name by Lois Duncan. The film also draws inspiration from the urban legend known as The Hook.

The film stars Jennifer Love Hewitt, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Ryan Phillippe and Freddie Prinze, Jr., with Anne Heche, Bridgette Wilson, and Johnny Galecki appearing in supporting roles. I Know What You Did Last Summer centers on four friends who are being stalked by a killer, one year after covering up a car accident in which they were involved. The film was directed by Jim Gillespie, from a screenplay written by Kevin Williamson, writer of Scream.

I Know What You Did Last Summer received mixed reviews from critics, but was commercially successful, grossing over $125 million at the box office.[3] It was also nominated for and won multiple awards.[4] As a result, the film has been parodied and referenced in popular culture.[5]

The film was followed by two sequels, I Still Know What You Did Last Summer (1998) and the straight-to-DVD release I'll Always Know What You Did Last Summer (2006). Though the former film sees a continuation of the plotline established in its predecessor, the latter film establishes a new plotline and does not star any cast members from the previous two installments.


In 1996, four high-school seniors — Julie, boyfriend Ray, best friend Helen and boyfriend Barry — drive home from a party. While driving, Ray becomes distracted, hitting a pedestrian. Ray checks if the injured man is still alive, and concludes he is dead. Another teenager, Max, stops nearby. Julie convinces him everything's okay, so he drives off. The group decides to dispose of the body. At the docks, the man revives, unsuccessfully attacking them before seemingly drowning.

A year later in 1997, Julie's home from college for the summer. She receives a letter stating, "I know what you did last summer." She tells Barry and Helen about the note. Barry suspects Max. The trio go to the docks where Max works as a fisherman. Barry threatens Max with a hook although Max claims that he has no idea about it. Julie discovers that Ray works there; he tries reconciling with Julie. Max is killed by a figure in a rain slicker wielding a hook. Barry discovers a note in his gym locker containing a picture of his car and the message, "I know." Going outside, Barry is almost run over by the slicker-wearing figure, driving his car.

Julie says the name of the person they hit was David Egan, but doesn't say if the article said whether David's corpse had cuts bruises from the car. Ray still suspects Max, while Julie and Helen think the killer may be a relative. They head out to the Egan's home. They find David's sister Missy, who explains that David's death devastated their family. Missy tells them that "Billy Blue" paid his respects after David died, claiming to be his friend.

That night Helen prepares for the Fourth of July parade. Max's killer sneaks into her house, cuts off her hair and writes "Soon" in lipstick on her mirror. As Julie goes to Helen's house, she finds Max's corpse in her trunk. When she goes to show the others, the body's missing, causing Barry to think she hallucinated. Julie, Helen, and Barry confront Ray about recent events, who explains that he received a similar letter.

As Helen and Barry participate in the Fourth of July parade, Barry notices people wearing the same kind of slicker. Chasing one, Barry leaves Helen on one of the parade floats. As it passes by a building, she notices the killer wielding the hook threateningly.

Julie revisits Missy, who found a suicide note. Missy believes that the note was written by David. As the writing matches that of the note she received, Julie tries convincing Missy that it is really a threat, but Missy forces her to leave. At the annual Croaker Pageant, Barry is killed while watching from a balcony. Witnessing this, Helen rushes to the balcony with a police officer, but find no sign of the killer or Barry. The officer decides to drive Helen home.

Julie researches David Egan's death and discovers that a year before the accident, he and his girlfriend Susie were in a car crash near the scene of the foursome's accident. David survived, but Susie died. The research now mentions Susie's father, Ben Willis. Julie realises they ran over Ben, who killed David. When Helen and the officer are stopped by a stalled truck, the latter is killed by the killer with his hook, while Helen flees to her family's store, where her sister Elsa lets her in. The killer enters through a side door and kills Elsa. After a long chase, Helen is eventually caught and killed as well.

Julie goes to the docks to tell Ray her theory but is disbelieved. She notices the name of the boat he's working on: Billy Blue. Julie flees, assuming Ray is the killer. Ray pursues, but the real killer stops him and puts Julie on his boat for her "safety". Looking around, she finds a room containing photos and articles about her and realizes she's on Ben Willis's boat, who is alive and the killer. Ben sets the boat adrift, but before he can kill Julie, Ray boards the boat with a motorboat. He manages to entangle Ben in the rigging, severing his hook-carrying hand as he hurls over the side. All that's found of Ben is the severed hand with the hook. Julie and Ray cover up the car accident by denying knowing why Ben wanted to kill them to the police.

A year later in 1998, Julie is two weeks away from returning home to see Ray. As she enters the showers at school, she notices one of the steamy glass doors has the words "I still know" written on it. An unknown figure then crashes through the door.



The film produced two soundtracks. One of them featured the score composed by John Debney, while the other contained various rock songs found in the film.

I Know What You Did Last Summer (Original Motion Picture Score)
Film score (Digital download)/Audio CD by John Debney
Released October 7, 1997
Length 50:44
Label Super Tracks Music Group


I Know What You Did Last Summer (The Album)
Soundtrack album (Digital download)/Audio CD by Various
Released October 7, 1997
Length 51:14
Label Sony Music
  1. "Hush" by Kula Shaker (2:55)
  2. "Summer Breeze" by Type O Negative (4:57)
  3. "D.U.I." by The Offspring (2:26)
  4. "Kid" by Green Apple Quick Step (3:17)
  5. "This Ain't the Summer of Love" by L7 (3:09)
  6. "Losin' It" by Soul Asylum (3:01)
  7. "Hey Bulldog" by Toad the Wet Sprocket (2:31)
  8. "My Baby's Got the Strangest Ways" by Southern Culture on the Skids (3:59)
  9. "Waterfall" by The Din Pedals (3:47)
  10. "Clumsy" by Our Lady Peace (4:27)
  11. "One Hundred Days" by Flick (3:40)
  12. "Great Life" by Goatboy (3:50)
  13. "2 Wicky" by Hooverphonic (4:44)
  14. "Don't Mean Anything" by Adam Cohen (3:43)
  15. "Proud" by Korn (3:17)


On Rotten Tomatoes, 36% of reviews were positive.[6] Metacritic reported an aggregate score of 52 out of 100 based on 17 reviews.[7] Critic Roger Ebert gave the film 1/4 stars and wrote in his review, "The best shot in this film is the first one. Not a good sign."[8]

Jennifer Love Hewitt was praised for her performance as Julie James by an Entertainment Weekly columnist stating that Hewitt knows how to scream with soul.[9]

Box office

In its opening weekend the film grossed $15,818,645 in 2,524 theaters in the United States and Canada, raking #1. By the end of its run, I Know What You Did Last Summer grossed $72,586,134 domestically and $53,000,000 internationally for a worldwide total of $125,586,134.

Home media

The film was released on DVD by Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment in the US on June 16, 1998. Special features included a theatrical trailer and filmmaker's commentary. It was released on DVD & video in the UK by Entertainment in Video with no special features. The film was released on Blu-ray for the first time ever on July 22, 2008, with more special features including the director's short film: "Joyride" with optional commentary, a featurette titled "Now I Know What You Did Last Summer", a music video of Hush by Kula Shaker and also included the theatrical trailer and filmmaker's commentary from the DVD. Though it was released in the US, it is available to be watched in regions A, B & C. The Blu-ray was re-released by Mill Creek Entertainment on September 30, 2014 in the US. It contains no special features and is only available in Region A.

Awards and nominations

Year Ceremony Category Work Result
1997 ASCAP Award Top Box Office Films John Debney Won
1998 Saturn Award Best Horror Film "I Know What You Did Last Summer" Nominated
Blockbuster Entertainment Award Favorite Female Newcomer Jennifer Love Hewitt Won
Favorite Actress
Favorite Supporting Actress – Horror Sarah Michelle Gellar
Favorite Actor – Horror Freddie Prinze Jr. Nominated
Favorite Actress – Horror Jennifer Love Hewitt
Favorite Supporting Actor Ryan Phillippe
International Horror Guild Award Best Movie "I Know What You Did Last Summer"
MTV Movie Awards Best Breakthrough Performance Sarah Michelle Gellar
Young Artist Award Best Performance in a Feature Film – Leading Young Actress Jennifer Love Hewitt

Sequels and remake

The film was followed by two sequels: I Still Know What You Did Last Summer (1998) and I'll Always Know What You Did Last Summer (2006), which went direct-to-video. Both were critically panned. In the first sequel, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Freddie Prinze Jr. and Muse Watson were the only returning actors from the first film. The second sequel has very little relation to the first two, other than the premise, having the same producers of the original and the Fisherman being the main villain. However, the film featured completely new characters and an entirely different setting.

On September 14, 2014 Sony reported that they have plans to remake the film; Mike Flanagan and Jeff Howard are writing a script. Sony also states that the film is a high priority and is set for a 2017 release.[10]


External links

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