Let’s get something straight here. As anyone who has had the misfortune of reading this blog can tell you, I love horror movies. They are indeed my life’s blood. But I have a special and exalted fondness for bad horror movies. Ain’t no apologies for that, but it does bear a number of caveats.
The chiefest of these the profound difference between a movie being bad versus a movie being insipid. Bad can be, in its own way, glorious–movies along the lines of Manos: The Hands Of Fate or Sometimes Aunt Martha Does Dreadful Things.
But tired, played out formulae (I think Ira Glass would be proud of me for that), two-dimensional characters, and the cardinal sin of taking itself far too seriously for what it is? No, insipid is just unforgivable.
All of which brings me to I Know What You Did Last Summer which would have been more truthfully titled as Nobody Gives A Rat’s Ass What Happened Last Summer. 4 yutes go out on July 4th to celebrate their friend Helen Shivers’s (Sarah Michelle Geller) crowning as the quaint little fishing village’s Croaker Queen. Yeah, move over Toddlers & Tiaras. On their way home from said bacchanal, they hit a pedestrian and decide, as one does, to dump the body. Got them young lives ahead of ’em dontcha know.
One year later…cuz ain’t it always?
Everyone starts getting picked off starting with Max (Johnny Galecki–no, not Leonard!) who’s just doin’ his job over to the local fishin’ dock. What was Max’s trangression you ask? He happened upon the scene last year. He wasn’t involved. He didn’t see anything. And yet, first victim. Huh.
I’m not goin’ into a whole lotta detail here. Everyone you think is supposed to die…dies. Plus a couple minor characters for good measure. Do you get a sense that I care about this? No? That’s because I don’t. They’re not even two-dimensional characters but more like caricatures of vapid, self-absorbed 18-year-olds, and not very good caricatures at that. They don’t even muster enough personality to be unlikable (incidentally I hate the word “unlikable.” It’s more like “lick” than “like”).
Still, there is a way to endure this 101-minute insult to one’s intelligence, and that’s to watch it with a few friends. I did just that the other night with Jorge, his wife Sarah, their roomie Dariel, and the assorted collection of reptiles and tarantulas. The turkey roast that ensued was joyful. We weren’t even through the opening credits before we started in. There was, of course, lots of stupidity and many shortcomings to work with. Here are some highlights:
- Johnny Galecki as a tough-talking dock worker. No.
- And if he were a dock worker, it’s unlikely, with nary a callous on his smooth lil’ hands, that rich kid Barry is gonna be able to rough him up.
- The plot twist, such as it is, makes for an unnecessarily convoluted mess. I suppose I won’t give it away, but it’s at once both predictable and implausible simultaneously at the same time.
- The final minute is predictably predictable. Lemme remind you, I can overlook and even revel in easily anticipated events when a movie is self-aware. Or badly made. Or tried and failed to do the best it could with limited resources. Or in fact tried anything. Like, at all.
- Why does Jennifer Love Hewitt audibly exhale at the end of Almost. Every. Line.
- What the hell was Anne Heche even doing in this waste of time?
- Jeebus god the “everyone looks like the killer” cliché.
- Speaking of which, winner of the evening certainly had to be Dariel. Ray Bronson (Freddy Prinze Jr.) chases after some guy in a slicker thinking it’s the killer. He tackles the person who turns out to be some harmless, grey-haired old man. At this point, Dariel said, “Damn why ya gonna run down David Attenborough like that?”
So if you feel that you simply must subject yourself to this, first examine what life choices brought you to this point. If you still insist on watching, maybe just to check off some box on some list somewhere, I urge you not to suffe alone. Gather some friends, some pizza, maybe some recreational intoxicants of some kind or other, and have yourselves a time.
BODIES- 5 onscreen, 1 off
Stream- HBO Max
Rent- Apple TV, Google Play, Prime, Vudu, YouTube