I Know What You Did Last Summer

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This article is about the film. For other uses, see I Know What You Did Last Summer (disambiguation).
I Know What You Did Last Summer
I Know What You Did Last Summer.jpg
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
Release dates
  • October 17, 1997 (1997-10-17)
Running time
101 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $17 million[1]
Box office $125.2 million[1]

I Know What You Did Last Summer is a 1997 American slasher film based on the 1973 novel of the same name by Lois Duncan. The film changes many aspects of the book, which was not a slasher novel. 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 and Bridgette Wilson 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.[2] It was also nominated for and won multiple awards.[3] As a result, the film has been parodied and referenced in popular culture.[4]

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.


On July 4, 1996, four high-school seniors - Julie, her boyfriend Ray, Julie's best friend Helen, and her boyfriend Barry - drive to an isolated beach after drinking at a party. While driving home, Ray becomes distracted and accidentally hits a pedestrian.

As they argue over what to do, another teenager, Max, stops nearby. Julie convinces him that everything is all right and he drives off. Over Julie's protests, the group decides to dispose of the stranger's body. They take the man down to the docks to dispose of his body, but he revives and attacks them before falling into the water and drowning.

One year later, Julie is home from college for the summer. She receives a letter containing a note that says, "I know what you did last summer." When she tells Barry and Helen about the note, Barry suspects Max. The trio go to the docks where Max works as a fisherman. Barry warns Max, then threatens him with a hook. Julie discovers that Ray also works there, and he tries to reconcile with Julie. Later, Max is killed by a figure in a rain slicker wielding a hook.

Barry is at a gym when he discovers a note in his locker containing a picture of his BMW and the message, "I know." Going outside, Barry is almost run over by the rain slicker-wearing figure, who is driving his car.

Julie reveals that the name of the person they hit was David Egan. As Ray still suspects Max, Julie and Helen thinks the killer might be a local relative, so they head out to the Egans' residence deep in the inland swamps. They find David's moody older sister Missy, who explains that David's death devastated their family. Missy tells them that someone called "Billy Blue" came by to pay respects after David died, claiming to be his friend.

Helen returns home that night and prepares for the Fourth of July parade the next morning. Max's killer sneaks into her house, cuts off her hair in the night, puts her tiara in her bed and writes, "Soon", in lipstick on her mirror.

As Julie goes to Helen's house she finds Max's corpse, wrapped in Barry's jacket, in her trunk. When she goes to show the others, the body is missing, causing Barry to think she hallucinated. Julie, Helen and Barry confront Ray about the recent events. Ray claims that whoever knows is after him too and that he received a similar letter.

As Helen and Barry participate in the Fourth of July parade, Barry keeps an eye out for the killer, but notices several people wearing the same kind of dark rainslicker. Chasing one, Barry leaves Helen on one of the parade floats. As it passes by a two-story building, she notices a shadowy figure in a black rainslicker wield a hook threateningly.

Julie revisits Missy to ask her more about David Egan and "Billy Blue". Missy tells Julie that David is dead and shows her a suicide note he left. As the writing matches that of the note she received, Julie tries convincing Missy that it is not a suicide note but a threat; Missy orders her to leave. Julie further researches David Egan's death. A year before the accident, he and his girlfriend Susie were involved in a car crash not far from the scene of the foursome's accident. David survived, but Susie died. The research mentions Susie's father, Ben Willis. Julie realizes that they did not run over David Egan that night but Ben, who killed David and disposed of the body that night.

At the annual Croaker Pageant, Helen's reign as Croaker Queen is about to end. While watching from a balcony, Barry is killed. Helen rushes upstairs with a police officer, but they find no sign of the killer or Barry. The officer thinks Helen imagined it and offers to take her home. When their road is blocked by a barricade they have to drive down an alley, where they spot a stalled truck. The officer is quickly killed by a dark figure with a hook. Helen escapes and rushes to her family's store, where her sister Elsa lets her in. The killer enters through a side door and slashes Elsa's throat. The killer pursues Helen, killing her steps away from the parade.

Julie goes to the docks to tell Ray her theory, but he does not believe her. She notices the name of the boat he's working on: Billy Blue. Julie panics, believing Ray is the murderer, and runs off. As Ray chases her, a fisherman stops him and puts her on his boat for safety. She looks around the boat and finds a room that contains photos and articles about her, Helen, Barry and Ray and realizes she is on Ben Willis’s boat. Ben sets the boat adrift and chases Julie.

Ray catches up to Ben's boat with a motorboat. He uses the ship's rigging to cause Ben to lose his hook-carrying arm as he plummets over the side. All that is found of Ben is the severed arm with the hook in the hand. When the police question Julie and Ray, they deny having any idea why Ben would have wanted to kill them.

A year later, Julie is getting ready to return to her hometown for another summer to see Ray. As she enters the showers, she notices that one of the steamy glass doors has the sentence "I still know," written on it. As she looks around, a dark figure 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)


The film received mostly mixed reviews from critics. On Rotten Tomatoes, 36% of comments were positive.[5] In another review, Metacritic reported an aggregate score of 52 out of 100.[6] 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."[7]

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.[8]

Box office[edit]

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[edit]

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[edit]

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[edit]

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 and Freddie Prinze Jr. 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 2016 release.[9]


External links[edit]