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 highly 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, Helen Shivers (Sarah Michelle Gellar) wins the local Croaker Queen pageant in a small fishing town called Southport. To celebrate, she drives to an isolated beach along with her boyfriend Barry (Ryan Phillippe) and their friends Julie (Jennifer Love Hewitt) and Ray (Freddie Prinze Jr.). While driving home, Ray becomes distracted and accidentally hits a pedestrian, apparently killing him. As they argue over what to do, another teenager, Max (Johnny Galecki), stops nearby. However, 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, in order to avoid legal repercussions. They take the man down to the docks but he suddenly revives and attacks Helen before falling into the water and drowning.

One year later, college freshman Julie is home for the summer and her mother notices that she seems distant. One day, Julie receives an unmarked letter containing a note which says "I know what you did last summer!" She tells Helen and later Barry about the note, Barry immediately suspects Max as he was the only person they saw on the night of the accident. The trio head down to the docks where Max works as a fisherman. Barry warns Max and eventually threatens him with a hook, but Max claims he doesn't know what Barry's talking about. Meanwhile, Julie discovers that Ray is also working on the boats and he tries to patch up his relationship with Julie. Shortly afterwards, Max is killed by a figure in a rain slicker who wields a hook.

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

Julie reveals that she has been doing some investigating and explains that the name of the person they think they hit was David Egan. Although Ray still suspects Max, but thinking that the killer might be a local relative of David Egan's, Julie and Helen head out to the Egans' residence deep in the inland swamps. There, Julie and Helen find David's moody older sister Missy (Anne Heche), who explains that David's death devastated their family. Both girls have been thinking that Missy was behind the attack, but after talking with her they decide that she wasn't. Missy tells them that someone called "Billy Blue" came by to pay respects after David died, claiming to be his friend.

Helen returns to her home that night and prepares for the annual Fourth of July parade the next morning. She does not notice the fisherman sneaking into her house. The next morning, she is horrified to see that someone has cut off her hair in the night, put her tiara in her bed and written "Soon" in lipstick on her vanity mirror.

As Julie heads over to Helen's house she discovers Max's dead body, wrapped in Barry's jacket, and eaten by crabs, in her car trunk. When she goes to show the others, the body is missing, causing Barry to think that she is hallucinating. Julie, Helen, and Barry confront Ray about the recent events, which Barry thinks that Ray is behind. Ray strongly denies it and 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 that there are 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 as the float passes by.

Julie revisits Missy to ask her more about David Egan and "Billy Blue". Missy shows her a suicide note David left. As the writing matches that of the note she received, Julie tries to convince Missy that it's not a suicide note but a threat. Upset by Julie's ravings, Missy orders her to leave. At the annual Croaker Pageant, Helen's reign as Croaker Queen is about to end. Watching from an upstairs balcony, Barry is attacked. Helen screams when she sees the killer pull Barry into the shadows and stabs him to death with the hook. She rushes upstairs with a police officer, but they find no sign of the killer or Barry.

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 then puts the pieces together: They did not run over David Egan that night but Ben, who had killed David and disposed of the body that night.

As the officer drives Helen home, their road is blocked by a barricade. The officer has no choice but to drive down an alley, where they spot a stalled truck; the officer gets out to investigate and is expectedly killed by a dark figure with a hook. Helen escapes the police car by smashing the window. She rushes to her family's store with the killer in pursuit, where her sister Elsa (Bridgette Wilson) lets her in. Helen demands that Elsa lock all the doors, but before Elsa can finish doing that, the killer enters through a side door and slashes her throat, killing her. Helen hears her sister's scream and goes downstairs to investigate. The killer charges at Helen. She manages to escape only to discover Elsa's corpse in the bathroom. Helen manages to get to the second floor via a hand-controlled pulley; however, she becomes trapped by the killer. She jumps though an open window just before the fisherman is about to strike, landing in a pile of discarded boxes and trash. Helen flees through the back alleyways towards the roaring parade. Before she gets there she hears a noise and turns around, but no-one is there. As she turns back she runs into the killer, who shoves her into a stack of tires and after a brief struggle slashes her to death. Her screams are to no avail as they are drowned out by the noise of the parade.

Julie goes to the docks to tell Ray but he doesn't believe her theory. As they talk, she notices the name of the boat he's working on: Billy Blue. Julie panics, thinking that 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 that she is on Ben Willis’ boat. Ben sets the boat adrift and chases Julie through the boat. Eventually, Julie winds up in the fish storage freezer, where she finds the corpses of Helen and Barry.

Regaining consciousness, Ray catches up to Ben's boat with a motorboat. He uses the ship's rigging to save Julie, causing 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 at her.



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
  1. A New Beginning (Julie's Theme) [1:52]
  2. Barry's Underwater Adventure [2:33]
  3. Homecoming [0:53]
  4. Crabhouse Gaffing [1:10]
  5. Someone's Watchin'/Chased [3:26]
  6. Missy's Story [2:10]
  7. The Houseguest [1:57]
  8. A Little 'Trim'/Trunk Surprise [3:12]
  9. His Name Was.../Car Trouble [3:29]
  10. Hiding the Body [3:15]
  11. In Pursuit of Helen [2:50]
  12. The Note [1:39]
  13. Gaffing Barry/Missy's Home [3:19]
  14. No Escape For Helen [2:32]
  15. Julie Discovers the Truth [3:21]
  16. The Night Softly Whispers [1:49]
  17. Fond Memories [0:43]
  18. Julie Takes a Cruise [2:56]
  19. Taking a Stand [1:09]
  20. Final Confrontation [4:03]
  21. Julie Takes a Shower [1:20]


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 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]