Usually, when a reviewer has zero recollection of having experienced something, there’s a reason for it. Chalk it up to multiple movie-induced False Memory Syndrome, or as is usually the case…that the film is literally forgettable. But I Know What You Did…has a lot of the elements that made Scream successful. And in some ways it even betters its better-remembered Kevin Williamson-penned predecessor with more interesting characters, less self-referential cutesy talk, and a killer with a fish hook.
Four rich-kid partiers plow over a pedestrian as they’re driving home from a beach party. With some strong-arming, they convince the dissenting member of their party, Julie, that they should bury the evidence at sea, and never mention it again. But as the title suggests, there’s a figure meting out justice, and the foursome, while they might be able to escape their consciences, cannot run from a urban legend-inspired antagonist.
A year later, around the same time Julie (Jennifer Love Hewitt) receives a note with no return address, citing the fatal incident. The kids suspect near-witness blue collar/red herring, Max (Johnny Galecki), but he’s hooked like a marlin in spectacularly gory fashion. The group realizes they gotta fight for their lives.
With sharp gallows humor and sharper performances, I Know What You Did…yes…baits the viewer with little dabs of effective hook foreshadowing, and even spares a member of the party when it’s least expected. There are references to other genre hits, both large and small: Barry (Ryan Phillippe) is stalked in a change-room a la Fatal Games; the traffic victim’s sister (Anne Heche) occupies an abode not far removed from the Sawyer house in Texas Chainsaw Massacre; and the killer hunts down hapless victims with a hook like fellow sleepy fishing village slasher, The Mutilator.
Where things go astray is in the back-third, where the silliness piles up more than the bodies.
Better than you remember, but not really good enough to stand the test of time (or merit two pathetic sequels)…Still, there’s enough to make this worth a re-watch.
*** (out of 5)