Five Ways ‘I Know What You Did Last Summer’ Ruined My Life

Happy 5th of July! In honor of Independence Day yesterday, let’s explore my 2nd favorite movie involving the 4th of July: I Know What You Did Last Summer. (I tackled Independence Day last year on the 4th, of course.)

Now, some things we should discuss before we get into this movie. 1. It came out in October of 1997. 2. I was 13 in October of 1997. 3. I already loved Party of Five and House Arrest and was already watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer. So, taking in all that info I was pretty jazzed about seeing I Know What You Did Last Summer. (This is also right before my huge Kevin Williamson obsession between Scream [obviously that came out first but I saw it AFTER IKWYDLS so it still counts] and Dawson’s Creek.)

Obviously, the biggest hurdle to me seeing this movie was the fact that I was 13 and my parents definitely weren’t going to see this movie. (I want to point out my husband, while discussing this movie with me, compared it having BOTH SMG and JLH as “the late 90’s girl version of Pacino and DeNiro starring in Heat.” So there’s that.)

So obviously I ended up in a situation where my two best friends and I had tentative plans with three boys to go see I Know What You Did Last Summer at a movie theater where we knew we could buy tickets to something else and go into a showing of this. I have no idea what we bought tickets for but one time we definitely said we saw The Big Green and saw something else and I was so nervous about discussing the movie afterwards that I read a review of it in the paper so I would have some info to say. To this day, I’ve never seen that movie and it still makes my stomach tie into knots.

Since I saw this movie initially on a 13-year-old’s idea of a “triple date” and while also doing something that would not have been approved by my parents. I’m a pretty anxious person so this was a very tense situation for me to see a horror movie under.

Here, under stress, are five ways I Know What You Did Last Summer ruined my life:

1. Cannot Drive at Night on Any Kind of Hill Without Going to “That Place”

Obviously, this is a horror movie so the way it immediately ruined my life was that it made it impossible for me to sleep at night. And, of course, the first way it ruined my life has GOT to be the driving-on-curves-at-night-with-your-friends thing.

I grew up in Upstate New York and given my proximity to the Vermont or Massachusetts border we would sometimes drive around at night out of boredom.

This was only if the 24-hour Walmart was too boring, of course, or if there wasn’t a movie we felt like watching. So, without fail, we’d be driving around at night, on twisty abandoned roads and someone would take it to that place. That I Know What You Did Last Summer dark, dark place.

It’s virtually impossible to drive around with your friends without thinking about this movie, I think. You’re listening to music, just like they were, you’re having a good time, just like they were. It’s impossible to not make the comparison! Damn you, IKWYDLS and your horrible, horrible ways.

2. Realized I Am the Julie of Everything

You know how Julie AKA Jennifer Love Hewitt is all happy with her wispy bangs at the beginning when she goes off with Freddie Prinze Jr on the beach? Or when she and SMG are hanging out?

(How weird is it now that FPJ and SMG are in this together but NOT a couple?)

Well, I’m more Julie after “the incident” – all nervous and tense and mad at her friends. I mean, around the time I saw this movie I was VERY concerned with having a “Valentine” and when I didn’t, proclaimed “I will wear black on Valentine’s Day instead of celebrating.”

So that’s where I was at 12/13. Typical Julie/JLH behavior!

Also, for the record, I definitely would have Julie’d that situation better and made us call the police. Come on, you guys!

3. Made Me Terrified Of Pageants

They’re at the pageant right before they get in the car and run over that fisherman. SMG is high off her pageant win and they’re all excited about heading off into the future with their new lives.

Her tiara gets knocked off while they are trying to KILL THE GUY THEY HIT BUT DIDN’T KILL AS THEY THROW HIM INTO THE SEA (sorry but that is insane) and then, duh, everything happens the following year around the 4th of July and at this same pageant! SMG WATCHES RYAN PHILLIPPE GET KILLED FROM THE PAGEANT STAGE.

So, duh, I obviously assumed terrible things happen at pageants and since they were things that only existed in movies to me, I just assumed that to be true.

Also, SMG getting her hair cut off in the middle of the night is a related fear of mine (see also The Brady Bunch Movie).

4. Speaking of Terrified, Let’s Talk About Anne Heche

Anne Heche is the scariest kind of horror movie character in this movie. The so-creepy-they’re-maybe-not-that-creepy-for-real kind of hickish character.

SMG and JLH worm their way into her home to “use the phone” after having some “car trouble” and obviously she has crazy knives everywhere and is just hacking at animals and stuff throughout some of their conversations. Obviously, also, the girls are there to do research on the person they think they killed the summer previously.

Also, important to note, that through Anne Heche is how they suspect Freddie Prinze Jr. briefly of being involved (you always at some point have to suspect one of the main characters – duh).

5. Made Me Want Some Crazy Bonding Experience With My Friends (Hopefully Not Almost-Murder)

I mean, here’s the deal. This is a bad situation. They shouldn’t have hit someone. They shouldn’t have tried to dump his body. They shouldn’t have tried to KILL HIM AGAIN after realizing he wasn’t dead. And they definitely shouldn’t have thrown his body into the sea.


They did get some good bonding in, am I right?

Okay, that’s a bit weird but like, I always loved watching horror movies with my friends BECAUSE that alone was a bonding experience. You’re all scared and huddled up against each other, you’re high on sugar, it’s great. And then within the movie they’re also having such a bonding moment (maybe not as wholesome as mine) but it still made me a little jealous.

Is this too sick? I feel like I’ve maybe said too much. Oh well, I’ll assume you get what I’m saying.

Also, duh, I still know what you guys did last summer or whatever.

(Images from the movie screengrabbed by me, Heat image , other image my own)

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