I am sure of two things in this world: 1) “I know what you did last summer” is still an acceptable name for a Facebook photo album, and 2) nothing else.
Technically — and if I may be so bold — I consider I Know What You Did Last Summer to be a Halloween movie because that’s when I watch scary movies. (Crazy, I know.) But I am wrong because it is a summer film. Not just because of the title, but because it takes place during the Worst Summer Ever a.k.a the summer everyone was gutted to death with a fisherman’s hook (which was attached to a fisherman who walked super slowly, but still managed to catch up with his running victims).
So with a plot like this, life lessons are sure to follow. Here are 10 of them, in all of their life-lesson-y glory, and I think it goes without saying that . . .
1) If you hit somebody with your car, do not just leave them for dead
So no, it doesn’t really go without saying. But here we are: first, don’t drink and drive, and second, don’t drive like an idiot around swirly cliffs, and third, if you hit somebody with your car, call the police. Yes, you will probably go to jail since in the case of this crew it was 100% their fault and they were completely negligent, but it will be better than everything else that happens. And that being said . . .
2) If anyone ever suggests “disposing” of someone the way Jennifer Love Hewitt, Ryan Philippe, Freddie Prinze Jr., and Sarah Michelle Gella did, do not listen to them
Because they are criminally insane. How is this the second choice? “We don’t want to jeopardize our futures so let’s COVER UP THIS CRIME IN A HORRIBLE WAY.” I mean, okay, I get panic. I get it. But when dude REVIVES HIMSELF and then ATTACKS IN SELF DEFENSE, it is absolutely time to NOT let him fall in the ocean and die . . . again. (AGAIN! Classic “Why don’t you die?!” schtick from Austin Powers, am I right?) This would be when I maybe call 9-1-1. And that’s why my I Know What You Did Last Summer story would be, “I walked by the hotel I thought celebrities were staying at but I didn’t see anyone so I went home.” (But they knew. They so knew.)
3) If you suspect someone, it probably isn’t that person
We all thought Max — the teen who saw the crew post-accident — was the “I know what you did last summer” note-leaver in question. He was NOT because why would he be? (Like, dude’s just trying to make a living. Like he’d have time to hunt down the year’s BIGGEST MOVIE STARS.) So all I am saying is that in life, if you suspect someone has done something, you are wrong. It is the person you LEAST expect.
4) All villains are embarrassing when you realize they had to select and then commit to an outfit
And I say this because the man-in-a-rain-slicker-in-question had to go into his closet and say, “What outfit should I choose?” and he chose that. He looked at all his coats and belongings and said, “I will wear this rain slicker.” And then he said, “And a bucket hat because it is the 1990s.” Finally, he capped it off with a fisherman hook which is DISGUSTING, but then when you think of him putting on his outfit it’s less disgusting and more, “Get a life, pal.”
5) Just confess. ALWAYS CONFESS
Look, if you have done a thing and then PEOPLE ARE DYING BECAUSE OF THAT THING, confess to the thing. Just confess! It literally cannot get worse. See, and if the gang had read this column (and I guess had a time machine since this movie is almost 20 years old), they could have avoided the disaster. Instead, they visit the guy-they-hit-with-the-car’s RELATIVE, and instead of saying, “Look. We accidentally killed him and we’re stupid idiots, we’re sorry” they LOOK FOR A MAN NAMED BABY BLUE.
6) Do not put your life on hold and try to continue living it normally if you have killed a person and that person’s friend (?!) is trying to kill you
Do not go to the 4th of July party, do not pass go, do not collect $200. Move. Like, to a yurt. Just leave everything and everyone you love and slowly descend into a new state of being. (The state in question is, “I have ruined my life, and I will now live in the Antarctic.”) So just go. Get. And how dare you think you can attend the Independence Day parade. What do you think this is?
7) The police force in every movie is completely useless
It’s a fact: movie police officers are borderline worse-than-I-was-as-a-cashier-at-McDonalds. And I was over/under on my till EVERY DAY. In this case, no one a) alerts the police, but b) when a police officer is there to help Elsa, he not only fails at his only job, NO OTHER POLICE OFFICERS SHOW UP. Where are the police officers?! Why is this town so understaffed? Cutbacks? Do we not think that a man KILLING PEOPLE WITH A FISHHOOK might take precedence over literally anything else? Are they monitoring the parade? And don’t get me started on Gotham cops, but even they, trapped in the tunnel in The Dark Knight Rises, were more available than these guys.
8) If you are given a chance to confess to a crime that resulted in you getting almost killed, take the chance
But no. No, Ray and Jennifer Love Hewiit do not. They sit there and they think: “You know, things have been going well for us. These police officers want to know why this hook-wielding man wanted us dead, but even though they would ABSOLUTELY take pity on us at this point I’M SURE, we will not say the truth.” This would explain why sequels exist, and why I will always be disappointed by the “true killer” in horror movies.
9) The true killer in any horror movie is always disappointing
It just is. So this guy killed his . . . son? Or something? UGH. Show of hands: who wanted it to be Freddie Prinze Jr.? Exactly! We all did! Or Ryan! Or ANYONE ELSE. Instead it’s just this dude who was already a killer, I think? UGHHHH this is like Skeet Ulrich in Scream all over again. This is why I liked Scream 4. Because not only was I not disappointed, I was basically traumatized. CLASSIC “Surprise, bitch!” ala American Horror Story.
10) This movie should have been called Hook
And if you don’t agree, you’re just lying to me, to yourself, and to everyone around you.