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Surprise Slasher Classic, 4 April 2001

At first, I did not expect to enjoy "I Know What You Did Last Summer," having actively avoided it for some years now (I had previously seen the sequel and found it so mediocre that I did not expect anything more from it's predecessor). My fears were completely unfounded, however, as "I Know What You Did Last Summer" is one of the most brilliantly horrifying and deliciously twisted stalker films to be made since the golden age of slasher films in the 1980s. Screenwriter Kevin Williamson is on the verge of defining his own subgenre of Slash. The man has definitely done his homework, which is most heavily apparent in his "Scream" writing (Randy's "rules" having been practically defined by noted UC Berkeley professor and author of "Men, Women and Chainsaws" Carol Clover) but is reflected in the careful crafting of suspense in "I Know." Unlike it's blood-bath sequel, "I Know" feeds on the terrorization of the 4 teens rather than body-count thrills, taking time to actually develop characters and toy with victims, so that the viewer can experience as close a feeling to genuine fear as possible. Hard to feel really scared when a bunch of stereotypes get brutally murdered. Jennifer Love Hewitt gives an excellent "caged animal" performance, her doe-like eyes seem to have been built to go wide with terror. However, the real star is Sara Michelle Gellar, giving a truly classic scream queen performance reminisant of Jamie Lee Curtis in "Prom Night". The 10 minute stalker sequence as she time after time barely manages to flee the grasp of the hooked killer (in heels and an evening gown!) is a near-perfect slasher chase scene: suspense, horror and hope woven tight in a noose around the viewer's neck. "I Know What You Did Last Summer" will one day be looked back on as a classic, a representation of the attempted ressurection of the slasher genre in the 1990s. It may seem like a piece of teen trash now, but then again, aren't all good slasher films?

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Def By Temptation: High Caliber Horror, 13 March 2001

"Def by Temptation" is one of the sleekest, most genuine independent horror films to come out in the past 20 years. It is easy to dismiss its credibility due to the reputation Troma has built for itself (and the film does include plenty of creative gore), but it is one of the most poignant and original works of the modern horror genre. An original story, talented actors, great low-budget special effects and a skilled eye on the part of director (and writer/producer/actor) James Bond III for genuinely creepy visuals make this a horror film on the same scale of such other cult classics as "The Hunger" and "Nadja". It is a rarity to find a horror film that still focuses on old-fashioned traditions such as plot and character development, and this film has a refreshing amount of both. James Bond III is pioneer in the spirit of Oscar Micheaux, and has truly created a horror masterpiece with "Def by Temptation."