I Saw What You Did (1988)

Directed by Fred Walton [Other horror films: When a Stranger Calls (1979), April Fool’s Day (1986), Trapped (1989), Homewrecker (1992), When a Stranger Calls Back (1993)]

This television movie, a remake of a 1965 William Castle movie of the same name, is surprisingly decent. Television horror films can be a mixed bag, especially outside of the early 70’s, but this one is quite solid, and though maybe the build-up does take a bit of time, I was quite satisfied come the conclusion.

Now, I have seen this one once before, but like other films I’ve seen recently, it’s been a long-ass time. If I had to guess, it’s been at least eight years since I’ve seen I Saw What You Did, but twelve years certainly isn’t out of the question. All of this is to show that while I had some vague recollections of this one, I didn’t know exactly just how enjoyable I’d find this one.

A large part of my enjoyment has to come from the performances, especially those of Shawnee Smith and Tammy Lauren. Smith (The Blob and Saw) was fantastic as the goody two-shoes type, and playing the opposite personality was Lauren (who pops up nine years later to star in Wishmaster), who also does a fantastic job. I really liked the growing relationship between these two, and though I’d have liked a bit more on their friendship at the end, I still dug it. Also, as far as Shawnee Smith is concerned, I loved her facial expressions in this film. When surprised or shocked, her eyes and mouth really sell it, and her expressions alone were enough to crack me up at times.

Playing Smith’s little sister was Candace Cameron (now Candace Cameron Bure), who many might recognize as D.J. from Full House. Now, I’ve never watched Full House, but I guess I caught an episode or something once, because I also thought Cameron looked familiar. She’s a little sister, so she is sometimes annoying, but she’s got some amusing zingers and emotional lines in there.

The antagonist here is played by Robert Carradine, and he does a pretty good job playing a character with undefined mental issues (I think it’s some form of schizophrenia), and I definitely felt for him. Playing his brother was his actual older step-brother David Carradine (of Children of the Corn V: Fields of Terror and Sundown: The Vampire in Retreat fame – oh, and Kill Bill), and he also did well as a concerned brother. I bought their relationship, though the final scene was a little silly.

Quality performances aside, I also felt that the dialogue in the television movie was pretty tight. Dialogue isn’t something I notice all that often (unless there’s a lack of variety, such as Gutterballs), but here, it seemed pretty snappy. I loved the teacher’s pompous statement early in the film (his exact quote being: “You are a distinguished addition to our school, Miss Fielding; however, when you shine you expose the dullness of the rest of the students. Like Gatsby’s sight across the bay, a shrill reminder of our own mediocrity”), and there’s a decent amount of lines that I found quite amusing (such as “I hope you liked it,” and “He had teeth, Julia”). Just made for a funner experience.

Being a TV movie, there’s not much in the way of violence or special effects here. Some of the attacks are decent – the first slow-motion one perhaps more amusing than anything else – but this isn’t the movie to go to for that type of stuff. There was a fire toward the end, but this movie is more the set-up than the action.

Which I can imagine wouldn’t enamor some people, and I couldn’t blame them if they left this one feeling disappointed. For me, though, given I loved the central performances, I can’t really complain about too much here. I’m not saying that this remake is amazing (and to be fair, I’ve not even seen the original Castle version as of yet), but I did really get a kick out of a lot of it, and that’s all that matters to me.


Author: Jiggy's Horror Corner

Fan of the horror genre, writer of mini-reviews, and lover of slashers.

4 thoughts on “I Saw What You Did (1988)”

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