6. Ben Willis – I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997)
The fact that I Know What You Did Last Summer is a product of the ’90s is woven into the film’s very DNA. It’s got Jennifer Love Hewitt, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Freddie Prinze Jr., and Ryan Phillipe (perhaps the most ’90s line-up imaginable), and it also has a hook-wielding murderer hunting down the group of teens that they portray. Is violent murder also a ’90s thing? Not really, but I Know What You Did Last Summer makes it feel almost as though it is.
The events of the film take place a year after a group of teens were involved in a hit and run, and it sees them hunted by a killer who turns out to be the very same man that they hit with their car and dumped in the sea. Though I Know What You Did Last Summer goes to great lengths to demonstrate that the man’s “death” was by no means deliberate, the group of teens undoubtedly act in the wrong by attempting to cover up their hit and run and accidentally causing the apparent death of the man in question. There are a handful of twists and turns in the tale, but ultimately, it boils down to a simple morality tale: the teens did something bad, and the killer wants them to pay for it.
Of course, the whole “eye for an eye” mentality is famously flawed, but it’s not hard to see why exactly Ben Willis wants to exact his bloody revenge on the group of teens. After all, they did almost kill him with their car and then leave him to drown in the sea, never making any attempts to rescue him or own up to their crimes. No one is condoning Willis’s murderous actions, but they did leave him for dead (twice over), so it’s at least partway understandable.