Review of 1988 TV remake of “I Saw What You Did”

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Some of my first viewings of classic horror movies of the 50s and 60s (I’m talking about flicks like “Them” and “The Blob”) occurred because of a TV show that played on Sunday evenings in Honolulu where I grew up. I can’t remember the program’s name, but it was hosted by a talking skull (that really tells you all you need to know), and presented various B and C grade horror movies from the past.

One of the films shown was a 1965 effort titled “I Saw What You Did.” In the plot, two teenage girls make random pranks calls and announce to whoever picks up, “I saw what you did and I know who you are.” It’s all a fine jest until they call a guy who just killed his wife, and he become determined to find the girls and keep them silent.

(At the film’s wiki page, you can see a poster for the film with a terrific tag line: “Girlish giggles at one end… bloody gurgles at the other!”)

It’s a great premise, and one that stuck in my head for years. So much so that I decided to see if I could find the film online. Unfortunately, it seems to have evaporated into the digital ether, though there is plenty of conversation about it.

What I did find is a TV movie remake that appeared in 1988 and is available for free on youtube. When I read up on it, I discovered it was star-studded! Shawnee Smith, who went on to fame in the “Saw” series (and also starred in a great 80s remake of the aforementioned “The Blob”), is one of the teenage girls. Robert Carradine—king nerd from “Revenge of the Nerds”—plays the main bad guy. Robert’s half-brother David Carradine, best known as the character Kwai Chang Caine from the “Kung-Fu” show of the 70s, plays the killer’s brother. (How’s that for typecasting?) Even a young Candace Cameron of the sit-com “Full House” appears as a younger sister character—probably one of her early roles.

I went ahead and watched it yesterday and it was… not bad. I mean, it’s a TV movie; it’s not gonna be great. But it had a nice mix of TV movie cheesiness and some genuine thrills. The end, in particular, was surprisingly violent, almost what you’d expect from a film like “Halloween.”

Acting-wise, Robert Carradine is particularly strong, oozing sweaty desperation. (I recall he had a similar character on an episode of one of the “Law & Order” shows.) And Shawnee Smith has one of these faces that looks always unsure, like a question is forever teetering in her brain, which works well with the plot.

So, I’m not exactly recommending it, but if you’re hankering for a bit of nostalgia mixed in with a decent story and payoff, you could do worse.

Here’s the youtube link if you are so inclined:

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