I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997)
★★ / ★★★★
“I Know What You Did Last Summer” is a parade of beautiful actors looking tormented in a wan, straightforward slasher flick. There is not one surprising element here worthy of strong recommendation. It begins with a moral conundrum: While on their way home from the beach, four friends (Jennifer Love Hewitt, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Ryan Phillippe, Freddie Prinze Jr.) accidentally hit a pedestrian on the highway. Do they take responsibility and call the police or do they get rid of the body? There is no movie in the former choice and so once all is said and done, the story jumps a year later when Julie (Hewitt), now a failing freshman in university, receives an ominous note suggesting someone had seen them commit murder. Sure enough, Julie’s friends are killed one by one eventually—by order of importance: predictable, tedious. These scenes are not especially creative, memorable, or gruesome. I felt no glee from the filmmakers in wanting to entertain us. At least one or two chases are extended enough to create minimal tension. The work is based upon Lois Duncan’s novel of the same name, but we learn nothing about the four friends other than their superficial traits: Julie feels the most guilt, Helen and her vanity, Barry the tough guy, and Ray the bore (we learn the least about him—an obvious red herring). Why should we care about these people? It is not enough that a man (or woman) in a rain slicker with a hook wishes to kill them. And, just like forgettable horror pictures, it has the nerve to set up a sequel with—you guessed it—a lame jump scare. Directed by Jim Gillespie. Screenplay by Kevin Williamson.
Sorority Row (2009)
★ / ★★★★
Sorority girls (Briana Evigan, Leah Pipes, Rumer Willis, Jamie Chung, Margo Harshman, Audrina Patridge) from Theta Pi tried to pull off a very mean practical joke involving a fake death on a guy (Matt O’Leary) but it all went wrong when the whole thing ended up with a real dead body. This movie is one of the worst I’ve seen in a long time because it had characters so rotten, I was disgusted with what I was watching. Let me start with the practical joke: letting someone believe that that someone killed another is not only not funny, it is immoral. Since I chose to not associate myself in a Greek house, the movie made me wonder whether these kinds of “practical jokes” happens in real life. If it does, I’m at a loss for words because it’s just so wrong to me. This movie also contained the dumbest characters I’ve ever seen on screen. The way they talked, the way they carried themselves and the way they weighed what was important in their lives was very insulting, not just to the audiences but specifically to women. There was also a plethora of degrading scenes of breasts being flaunted everywhere for no apparent reason. If the writers of this slasher flick spent the same amount of time planning out the story and actually giving the script some depth as they did planning to strategically place the camera to get a peek at naked women, they would probably end up with a good movie. Instead, everything was so obvious and played out that I was just annoyed, angry and tired of it twenty minutes in. It had no element of tension; it was just one party scene after another. Was it too much to ask to see these characters actually going to class and trying to learn something? The people I know who are part of a Greek chapter certainly do. For me, “Sorority Row” was a very, very weak attempt to recapture the glory days of “I Know What You Did Last Summer” and its sequels. Don’t even get me started with the identity of the killer. It tried to justify itself but the reasoning was devoid of intelligence. Again, I found the whole thing insulting and almost laughable if it weren’t so pitiful. Directed by Stewart Hendler, I say do yourself a favor and do not waste an hour and forty minutes of your life digging through this heap of garbage. I have no idea how this movie received a green light. I end up detesting movies like this because it did have an opportunity to take advantage of the Facebook generation without sacrificing wit, intellect, satire and genuine scares–kind of like what “Scream” did to the 1970s and 1980s flicks and their sequels. Instead, it settled for less than mediocrity. But that doesn’t mean that you should, too.