I Know What You Did Last Summer Wiki
I Know What You Did Last Summer
I know what you did last summer.jpg
Directed by Jim Gillespie
Produced by William S. Beasley
Neal H. Mortiz
Stokely Chaffin
Written by Kevin Williamson
Starring Jennifer Love Hewitt
Sarah Michelle Gellar
Ryan Phillippe
Freddie Prinze, Jr.
Johnny Galecki
Bridgette Wilson
Anne Heche
Muse Watson
Music by John Debney
Cinematography Columbia Pictures
Mandalay Pictures
Release date(s) United States
October 17, 1997
November 27, 1997
United Kingdom
December 12, 1997
New Zealand
February 12, 1998
Running time 100 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $17,000,000
Gross revenue $125,500,000
Followed by I Still Know What You Did Last Summer
Allmovie profile
IMDb profile

I Know What You Did Last Summer is a 1997 slasher film starring Jennifer Love Hewitt, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Ryan Phillippe and Freddie Prinze Jr.. The screenplay was written by

, writer of Scream, and very loosely based on a popular novel of the same title by Lois Duncan. The film was followed by two sequels, I Still Know What You Did Last Summer and the straight-to-DVD release I'll Always Know What You Did Last Summer. The third one sucked.

The film received mixed reviews from critics. However, the film was highly successful, grossing $125,500,000 at the box office.


Barry Cox's drunken car embrace at Miller's point before the collision with Ben Willis

The night of the fourth of July, Julie James (Jennifer Love Hewitt), Helen Shivers (Sarah Michelle Gellar), Barry Cox (Ryan Philippe) and Ray Bronson (Freddie Prinze Jr) go out of town to celebrate. Returning in Barry's new car, they hit and apparently kill a man. While thinking what to do Julie's friend Max Neurick (Johnny Galecki) arrives. Julie tells him everything is fine so he leaves. They dump the corpse in the ocean and agree to never discuss again what had happened.

Julie, Barry and Helen overlook the unconsious crumpled body of Ben Willis

One year later Julie is returning home from college. She has not spoken with Helen, Barry or Ray since the accident. Julie receives a letter that reads "I KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER!" Julie goes to see Helen's sister Elsa Shivers (Bridgette Wilson), who tells Julie that Helen has been working there. Julie shows Helen the letter and they decide to visit Barry. After going over the incident, Barry accuses Max. The three of them go to see Max, but Barry insists on going in the factory alone. Barry persuades Max to go into the back room and attacks him, telling Max he should keep his mouth shut. Julie finds Ray working on the docks. Ray tries to make up with Julie but she runs off. Inside the factory Max is murdered by someone wielding a hook. The killer attacks Barry next, running him over with Barry's car. The killer is shown wearing a raincoat and wielding a hook on one hand.

Julie receives the letter from the The Fisherman

Julie arrives at the hospital to see Barry and finds Helen and Ray there. Julie reveals the man they hit was named David Egan. Helen and Julie track his sister, Missy Egan (Anne Heche), to her home, where she has been living since her brother's death. Missy does not recognise them and Julie is convinced she is innocent. Missy tells them she had a visit from a man claiming to be David's friend named Billy Blue.

Max is murdered by The Fisherman

At Helen's home that night, the killer breaks in, hiding in her closet. The next morning Helen wakes up with most of her hair cut to bits and "SOON" written in lipstick on her mirror. Julie gets a call from Barry, who tells her to come to Helen's. On the way, Julie hears rattling in her trunk. She opens the trunk to find Max's body. She shuts the trunk, runs to Helen's and brings her and Barry to her car, but the body has disappeared. Julie is convinced the killer took the body and they are not safe. Later they run into Ray, who tells them he got a letter. Julie decides to see Missy again while Helen and Barry watch each other's backs at the parade. Julie tries to convince Missy that David did not kill himself after Missy presents her with a suicide note written in the same style as her letter from the killer. Missy tells Julie to leave.

"What Are You Waiting For?"

At the Croaker pageant, Helen sees Barry being murdered by the killer. However, neither the killer nor the body are found afterwards. A police officer drives her home, but the killer lures the cop into an alley and kills him. Helen runs to her store where Elsa is working, but the killer finds and murders Elsa. He then chases Helen into the attic where she jumps out of the window into the dumpster. Dazed Helen looks up at the window but no one is there. Helen flees through the back alleys to the roaring parade but hears a noise and turns to look. Helen then turns around when the killer shoves her into a stack of tires and slashers her to death.

Julie learns that the killer is Ben Willis, a fisherman. He murdered David Egan after David and Ben's daughter Susan Willis were involved in a car crash near where the four teenagers hit Ben. Susie was killed in the accident and David was unharmed. Ben blamed David and killed him a year later, making it look like a suicide. On the way home, Ben was hit by the group.

Helen escapes Shivers into the alley

Julie goes to see Ray on his boat and tells him the story, but he does not believe her. Julie notices the name on his boat is "Billy Blue" and accuses him of the murders. He chases her but is knocked unconscious by a man who tells Julie to get on his boat. After she does, she learns he is Ben Willis. She is chased all over the boat while Ray regains consciousness and steals a boat to save Julie. In a room full of ice, Julie finds Helen and Barry's bodies. Ray climbs aboard and is almost killed by Ben, but is caught in the boat's net. He climbs back aboard and saves Julie. Ben gets his hand caught in a rope and Ray hoists him into the air where his hand is cut off and he falls into the ocean. On land, Ray tells Julie the reason he went to see Missy was because he was guilty and had to know who they hit. He tells her he loves her and they embrace. Ben's body is not recovered.

Julie James discovered by the Fisherman on Sweet Susie.

A year later, Julie is in her second year and is going on a trip to New York with Ray. She receives a letter resembling the one she had got from Ben, but it only contains a pool party invitation. Julie returns to the bathroom, which has filled with steam. On the shower door, "I STILL KNOW" is written. Ben jumps through the shower door, attacking her.

Cast & Characters[]

Main Characters[]

  • Jennifer Love Hewitt as Julie James: Julie James is going through a rough time through out the film. She is dealing with an overt guilty conscience. Out of the Pact Four she still wants to go to the the authorities and report the events of the previous July. She is dealing with her in and out love for fellow Pact member Ray Bronson. She and Ray ultimately defeat the Fisherman Ben Willis.
  • Sarah Michelle Gellar as Helen Shivers: Helen was the Croaker Queen of 1997 who dreamt of heading to New York City to become a serious actress. Upon winning the Croaker Queen crown she said: "It's my goal to represent the world through artistic expression, through art i shall serve my country." Helen had a two year acting contract with Guiding Light but upon moving to New York City and subsequently trying it awhile it did not work out for her. She abandoned her planned actress career and returned to Southport to work as a shop assistant in Shivers, her father's department store. Her older sister Elsa was highly jealous of Helen winning beauty contests and being so adored simply for looks instead of intelligence. She became Helen's temporary boss at Shivers. Helen was part of the pact group which hit Ben Willis with their car on July 4th, 1997. She was formerly the girlfriend of fellow pact teenager and Southport High Student Barry Cox whom had an alcohol problem.
  • Freddie Prinze Jr. as Ray Bronson: Driver of Barry's BMW which collided with Ben Willis on the 4th of July 1997. He is Julie's boyfriend and helped dispose of Ben's body. Following the events of that summer Julie dumped Ray and set off to College leaving Ray in Southport as a fisherman just like his father. Ray upon Julie returning to Southport and reuniting the group brought up the name of the man whom disposed of: a man apparently named David Egan. Upon Ray hearing of this he set off to the residence of David's sister Melissa using the fake identity of Billy Blue named after his sailboat. Ray was advanced by Missy but turned her away pretending he felt bad for taking advantage when he really didn't return her advances out of undying love for Julie. Ray was accused of being the taunting fisherman who then attacked Barry and Helen and dumped the murdered body of Max in Julie's car trunk. He possessed a fisherman slicker and only received a threatening note like Julie. He rekindled his relationship with Julie upon defeating Ben Willis aboard his ship, the Sweet Susie, named after his dead daughter.
  • Ryan Phillipe asBarry Cox: Owner of the BMW that struck Ben Willis on the 4th of July in 1997 at Miller's Point. His drunken behaviour distracted Ray, who was driving, which lead to the accident with the vengeful Ben.

Other characters[]


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.


  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]


  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)

Alternate Versions[]

  • The German version was slightly cut to avoid a 'Not under 18' rating. The uncut version has been released on video.
  • The TNT premiere cuts some language, blood, and shows Ben Willis' severed hand from a farther angle.


The film received mostly mixed-to-negative reviews from critics. On Rotten Tomatoes, 36% of comments were positive. In another review, Metacritic reported an aggregate score of 52 out of 100. Critic Roger Ebert wrote in his review, "The best shot in this film is the first one. Not a good sign."

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.

Home Media[]

I Know What You Did Last Summer has been released on DVD and Blu-ray. Special features include an audio commentary by the filmmakers, a 'making-of' featurette, a music video and a short film directed by Jim Gillespie..

Awards and Nominations[]

Year Ceremony Category Result
1997 ASCAP Award Top Box Office Films, John Debney Won
1998 Saturn Award Best Horror Film Nominated
1998 Blockbuster Entertainment Award Favorite Female Newcomer, Favorite Actress, Jennifer Love Hewitt Won
1998 Favorite Supporting Actress – Horror, Sarah Michelle Gellar Won
1998 Favorite Actor – Horror, Freddie Prinze Jr. Nominated
1998 Favorite Actress – Horror, Jennifer Love Hewitt Nominated
1998 Favorite Supporting Actor, Ryan Phillippe Nominated
1998 IHG Award Best Movie Nominated
1998 MTV Movie Awards Best Breakthrough Performance, Sarah Michelle Gellar Nominated
1998 Young Artist Award Best Performance in a Feature Film – Leading Young Actress, Jennifer Love Hewitt Nominated


  • The group goes to "Dawson's Beach". This is a reference to Dawson's Creek (1998), also written by Kevin Williamson.
  • Max's Murder was added in re-shoots. It was decided that the killer, who remained mostly in shadows for the first half of the film, worked on a suspense level; but never provided a tangible threat to the main characters. The murder was then filmed to show the audience that, indeed, this character was a deadly threat to the four leads.
  • The original trailer for the movie described Kevin Williamson and the movie as "from the creator of Scream (1996). Miramax, owners of the "Scream" franchise successfully sued Columbia Pictures for "false advertising" and the phrase was removed.
  • Sarah Michelle Gellar auditioned for the role of Julie.
  • Jennifer Love Hewitt auditioned for the role of Helen.
  • The film originally had a different ending, where Julie James is chatting with Ray online, she gets the pool party invitation, and then another person starts a chat with her typing in, "I still know." Then the killer jumps out on her. This ending was used as a teaser trailer for the sequel.
  • Lois Duncan has stated openly that she hates the movie, because the filmmakers turned her book into a slasher film. She especially detested it in the wake of her 18-year-old daughter's murder in 1989.
  • Kevin Williamson wrote this script before Scream (1996), but was unable to sell it. Following the big screen success of his next screenplay, Scream (1996), Columbia Pictures immediately bought I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997)
  • The set relocated from North Carolina to California for scene where the 4 teenagers run over the man. Producer Erik Feig said that North Carolina was the flattest state and they needed a more 'curvy' and 'dangerous looking' road.
  • The film was shot in fifty days.
  • After the first Croaker County Beauty Pageant, the band playing at the beach party is the alternative/surf rock band 'Southern Culture On The Skids'.
  • Despite being part of the main cast and appearing in many key scenes together, the characters Helen (Sarah Michelle Gellar) and Ray (Freddie Prinze Jr.) only speak to each other twice (Ray - "How do you know that?" Helen - "Missy, said there was a friend named Billy Blue)"and (Ray - "No its not its true" Helen "Yeah I dont think so Ray"). In real life, the two later fall in love and marry.
  • The second film scripted by Kevin Williamson that stars a female lead from Party of Five (1994). Jennifer Love Hewitt here. And Neve Campbell in Scream (1996).
  • "Hush" from the soundtrack (played fully over the end credits) is heard briefly on the radio of Barry's car.
  • Melissa Joan Hart turned down the role of Julie James.
  • Anne Heche lost a brother to suicide, just as her character, Missy Egan, did in the film.
  • Both Sarah Michelle Gellar and Jennifer Love Hewitt would go on to great fame in the horror genre. Gellar as Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Hewitt as The Ghost Whisperer. Buffy creator Joss Whedon designed the character as an antidote to films where the sexy blonde girl is always killed by the monster. In I Know What You Did Last Summer, Gellar plays just that part.

Body Count[]

  • Sarah Willis - killed by David (accidentally, before the movie)
  • David Franklin Egan - stabbed; killed by Ben
  • Max Neutrick - stabbed; killed by Ben
  • Barry Cox - stabbed; killed by Ben
  • Officer David Caporizo - stabbed; killed by Ben
  • Elsa Shivers - slashed; killed by Ben
  • Helen Shivers - stabbed; killed by Ben



  • In the final battle, Ben is swinging the fisherman's hook at Julie but hitting nothing but air. Yet the hook still makes the overused Hollywood "metal on metal" sound despite it not coming in contract with ANYTHING.
  • When the body is found in the trunk, its throat is clearly intact, contradicting its gruesome demise.
  • The mirror when Helen is smashing it.
  • Near end of movie, in the final confrontation, Freddy Prinze, Jr. (Ray Bronson) is knocked off the fishing trawler. He manages to snag the net, climb back on board the boat. He is completely dry.
  • When Julie and Helen are looking at David Egan's obituary, it mentions that he was 28 when he died. But when they go to see David's sister, she says that he was Class of '92 at the high school. So that would make him 23 when he graduated.
  • When Helen is running from the killer, when she approaches the front door of the store, the cameraman is reflected in the glass.
  • Although the action takes place on the east coast of the USA in North Carolina, at the very beginning of the movie we see the sun setting over the ocean.
  • As the body hit the automobile, the kids were driving on mountainous terrain along the coast. There are no mountains anywhere in the North Carolina shore area.
  • Helen's father's store is called Shiver's. This is grammatically incorrect, as it should either be called Shivers as it is the name of the family, or Shivers' or Shivers's to indicate that it is owned by the family. It being called Shiver's implies that the family's last name is Shiver.
  • When Helen goes to sleep the bow on her lamp shade is facing the end of the bed but when she wakes up it is facing the wall behind her.
  • When Julie is in the room filled with ice, it jiggles when she moves it (it was made of gelatin).
  • Barry punches different people more than once with his right arm, though it is supposed to be hurt and in a cast, and doesn't express any pain.
  • When Helen and Julie are researching David Egan on her computer, the browser shows the URL as "//http:cnty457.lib.org". It should of course start with //http.
  • David Egan's obituary says he died on Wednesday July 5th 1997, but in 1997, July 5th was a Saturday.