I Saw What You Did
The Plot of I Saw What You Did
This scary tale of terror forces you to live through the accidental danger that three young girls stumble into while they are making prank phone calls. Starring some very well respected acting talent like Joan Crawford and John Ireland, this oddly titled movie will keep your attention locked on what is happening on the screen in front of you. You won't be able to look away and, to it's credit, you won't want to.
Movie Poster for I Saw What You Did
Why The Cooky Title?
The title of this film 'I Saw What You Did' is oddly both intriguing and off-putting at the same time. I nearly didn't watch it just because of the silly title but then, perhaps because I am a little weird myself, I had to watch it to find out why it was called that. I promise you that, once you watch the movie, it will all make perfect sense. In fact, watch the movie's promotional trailer below and you will suddenly make sense of the title.
Trailer for I Saw What You Did (No Spoilers)
The Best Movie Trailer
I love the trailer for this movie for lots of reasons. Firstly it has one of the best hooks that instantly grabs your attention. "Don't answer it!" The ringing telephone is a sound that we are all very familiar with and the challenge telling you not to answer it goes against our basic reflex to, of course, answer a ringing phone. This manipulation of us is William Castle at his finest. What a superb showman this guy was!
"Your name is in this book, it could happen to you." This simple, compelling line demands that you think What? What could happen to me?! You feel like you NEED to watch this movie just to answer that question alone.
"It starts as a game". A simple explanation that immediately put you in the position of being the victim. It paints a picture of a tragedy that suddenly happens to some innocent girls having some simple fun.
Then it tells us exactly where the movie gets it's title from and yet it does it without giving anything away. It is a great trailer because it captures our attention without giving us any spoilers.
How scary is this movie? Well, at about one minute and thirty-seven seconds into this trailer Joan Crawford goes through a transformation that shows exactly how good she is as an actress. And it is truly frightening.
A 5 Star Movie
The number of FIVE STAR reviews that people who have watched this movie have given it on the respected IMDB.com should tell you how much you need to watch this film. Another reason to add this movie to your film watching list is the amazing level of talent from the people who made it. Let's take a look at some of those people right now, starting with the director William Castle.
The Ultimate Showman, William Castle
Who Is William Castle
William Castle is one of the most inspiring people that has ever lived. And, in an odd way, we just might owe thanks to Dracula himself, Bela Lugosi. You see, when Castle was just thirteen (13) he went to see the stage play of Dracula, starring the man who made the literary horror into a screen legend, Bela Lugosi himself. The young William was enchanted and went to see the play over and over again. I believe that it is safe to say that the show-business bug had bitten him. And bitten him hard.
He even got to meet his idol Lugosi face to face. The Hungarian star, Bela, must have been mightily impressed with the young lad because he even went so far as to wrangle him a job as the assistant stage manager for the road company tour of the show. Can you imagine how exciting that must have been for Castle! Now this is where we get to see how much of an inspirational icon Castle was. At the tender age of just fifteen (15) Castle dropped out of school to take the job. He was determined to follow his dream and find a way to live the life that he wanted. Castle spent his teens not at the malt shop making moon-eyes at young Peggy Sue but, instead, he was working on Broadway in all kinds of show-business related jobs. Everything from set building to acting, he would take whatever he could get so that he could learn how to be an entertainer.
Think for a moment about how hard most people, even yourself, has worked to get what they want. They might refer to their job as the 'daily grind' but have any of them really had the courage and the passion to do what a teenage William Castle did?
Oh, and by the way, did I mention the time he hounded Orson Welles? I could tell you about it, or you could read about it for yourself in Castle's own book below.
I knew What I Wanted To DO
"I wanted to scare the pants off audiences" - William Castle from his book Step Right Up! I'm Gonna Scare the Pants off America.
The Talent Behind The movie
Rosemary's Baby (1968)
What Ever Happened To baby Jane? (1962)
Gunfight At The O.K. Corral (1957)
House on haunted Hill (1959)
Mildred Pierce (1945)
The Tingler (1959)
Sudden Fear (1952)
All The Kings men (1949)
The Old Dark House (1963)
The Damned Don't Cry (1950)
Red River (1948)
13 Ghosts (1960)
Strange Cargo (1940)
Satan's Cheerleaders (1977)
Mr. Sardonicus (1961)
Lady of the Night (1925)
Escape to the Sun (1972)
John Ireland the Bad Guy
If bad guys in movies usually, or at least often, leave you disappointed then you will be so very thankful that you found this movie. John Ireland is a solid actor with a good body of work in his career but in I Saw What You Did he may have reached his high-water mark. Without giving to much away, he plays the role of the villain in this story and he does a very fine job of it. When you see him do his nasty work, you will sure be glad that you are not on his bad side. But, showing his acting chops, he is not just a cardboard cut-out of a character that really has no depth. Believe it or not, no matter how bad a person he is in this film, he actually wins you over at one point. Not in any sappy kind of hug a puppy, Hallmark moment but in a surprisingly touching scene where he decides to take the high road and not do some evil deeds. I won't spoil it by telling you that spoiler but it is mentioned in the film review below if you want to hear about it before you watch the movie for yourself.
Now The Bad Stuff
I Saw What You Did is a good movie and I am proud to own it in my personal collection. But it isn't perfect. It's oddly klunky in some spots that seems awkward and leaves you wondering how this happened to such a good movie. The most obvious 'mistake' is the music. There are some musical cues that are strangely up-beat and sound like they came right out of some beach party movie. It just doesn't fit at all with the tone of the movie.
Another shortcoming are the two teenage girls themselves. Don't get me wrong, they both do a fine job of acting their parts, it's just that their parts are pretty one dimensional. They come across as two teenage girls written through the eyes of a middle-aged man. All stereotype and not much else. In contrast, the younger sister has a more developed part and she's the baby in the family.
There are a few other, minor problems but I'll talk about them in the spoiler zone below so as not to ruin the movie for those that haven't been lucky enough to see it yet.
Let's Talk Spoilers
Seriously, do not read the rest of this article unless you have already seen this movie or if you just like spoilers. From here on out it is a film fan's frank comments about I Saw What You Did.
The teenage girls, played well by Andi Garrett and Sara Lane, along with the younger daughter, are at home alone and decide to make some crank phone calls. Good, wholesome teenage fun. Their game is to call some random strangers and tease them by saying "I saw what you did and I know who you are." No harm in that right? Wrong. Oh so very wrong. Unfortunately for the girls they have the misfortune of calling Steve Marak's house. Marak, (John Ireland) is having a bit of a bad day and when the girls call him he panics and thinks to himself "How on earth does this lady on the phone know that I just stabbed my wife brutally to death in the shower?!" Uh-oh. His mistress and neighbor, Amy Nelson, breathed to fiery life by Joan Crawford, hears him on the phone with this strange lady and thinks that he is cheating on her too. Like he cheated on his wife with her. She goes a little nutty so Marak, naturally, stabs her to death as well. Seems like this Marak guy is a bit of a one trick pony and only has one answer to every problem, stab it to death. Fearing that he has been discovered as a murderer, Marak decides he needs to hunt down this mysterious phone lady and, well you guessed it, stab her to death as well. Because, well maybe it has become a habit now that is hard for him to kick? Whatever his reasoning, through a series of events, Marak finds out where the girls live and turns up there with bloody intent. Having thought that it was just one, adult woman, he is surprised to learn that he is dealing with some silly kids playing jokes on people. Deciding that he might be a murderous lunatic but he's no child killer, Marak opts to leave the girls alive and go home instead. But that's not how this story is going to end. Realizing that the girls will likely work out that he is the murderer the radio keeps mentioning, he is forced to kill them to silence them. It's a bold story but not bold enough to show a crazy man slaughtering young girls so, naturally, Marak is shot by a policeman and the gals are saved.
And that's one of the problems with this movie. The girls are just not traumatized enough after the harrowing ordeal that they have endured at the hands of a deranged killer. The movie ends with a few jokes and some upbeat music that doesn't fit with the rest of the film at all. A weirdly unsettling ending for this story.
Two Little Monsters
The Girls Are Horrible People
I am not kidding, these little brats are just plain horrible. They think it's funny to sit at home, call up some innocent strangers who have never done anything to them and pretend to be the other woman. They get their kicks from causing domestic issues and starting arguments between couples they don't even know. What kind of evil parenting churned out little monsters like these kids? They get so much fun out of tormenting strangers that there is a part of you that kind of sees Marak's position. You find yourself thinking, yeah sure he's going to kill them and sure they are just kids... but they are nasty little creatures and would the world really be a worse place without them?
Let's think about that a little bit. Our first, instinctual reaction, is to recoil from the idea of any murder, especially the slaughter of children. But, to put it into perspective, these two little terrors are sitting at home, PLANNING how to upset other people for absolutely no reason other than their own selfish desires for a few laughs. They might be the victims in this story but they sure aint innocents.
Amy Nelson Was A Horrible Person Too
Amy Nelson, the seductive neighbor played by Joan Crawford, was also a pretty horrid person. Not only was she a home-wrecker who destroyed the Marak's marriage, but she was also a peeping tom. She would spy out of her window to watch what her boyfriend, Steve Marak, was doing. If that wasn't damning enough, when she finds out that Marak has murdered his wife, she blackmails him into being with her or, she threatens, she'll rat him out to the police. That's just wicked.
The Bad Guy Isn't Actually That Bad
Remember earlier in this piece when I said that Marak would win you over by taking the high road instead of doing bad things? That might be hard to believe given how murder-crazy he was but consider what he does with the girls. He goes to their house, expecting to find some adult women who is trying to blackmail him but instead finds, to his surprise, that he is dealing with a couple of young girls playing jokes on random people. They didn't know anything at all about him having murdered his wife. Or Amy Nelson. So he decides to leave them in peace. He actually makes the decision to not murder them. In a strange way, Marak is a better person than at least some of the other characters in this story. It's a nice twist that you don't see coming at all. It's one of the many things that makes I Saw What You Did more than just your run of the mill thriller or slasher flick.
Well He's Not That Good
Sure Marak made a morally decent decision when he chose to not kill the kills but he certainly wasn't any saint. There is a scene that, to be honest, SHOCKED me. The little sister runs out of the front door of the house and Marak throws a knife at her! It misses her and slams, point first into the door jam, but the incident is still startling.
The Worst Person
Who do you think was the worst person?
The Scariest Moment
What good is a thriller without any scares? For me, in this particular movie, the scariest moment came out of a completely innocent moment. The sisters were laying in bed together when the dog outside started barking. They are unaware that Marak has discovered where they live and has headed their way to make sure they remain silent about his murdering his wife.
The youngest sister decides that she will go outside to quieten the barking dog. Leaving her older sister in bed, she goes to the front door, opens it... steps outside to look for the dog... and Marak is there. Misunderstanding the situation, the young girl realizes that he is the man they crank called earlier that night and believes that her sister will want to meet him face to face. So she invites him into their house.
The little girl invites the vengeful, multiple murderer into her house. The child is so innocent. He is so deadly. The tension of foreboding increases as Marak comes into the home. And it doesn't climax there. The little sister then goes into the bedroom to tell her sister that the man from the phone call earlier was inside the house and wanted to see her. Because her little sister is a practical joker, she doesn't believe her. And decides to go out and see for herself, proving that there is no man waiting for her.
It is a masterfully simple situation that Castle skillfully milks for every drop of stress and fear that is possible. It really deserves a standing ovation for it's effectiveness.
A Video Movie Review
Below is another reviewer's opinion of I Saw What You Did. I do not necessarily agree with everything that he says but I do think that he has interesting points of view and thought that you might enjoy them too.
Movie Review With SPOILERS!
Was It A Crime Of Passion
One last thought on this movie. When Marak's wife goes into the bathroom to call him to the phone, Marak has already damaged her clothes in what appears to be a nasty frenzy of hate. This incites a rage in her that eventuates in the conflict that results in her murder. My question is if this was an accidental crime of passion ignited by a stressful relationship or was he already planning on murdering her? He was clearly already in a state of excitement. And where else could he think that the situation was going to go after his wife saw what he had done to her clothes? I am left wondering if he was a thoughtless killer or a reasoned murderer. What do you think?
Crime of Passion
Was the murder a crime of opportunity or a planned kill?
Should You See This Movie
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
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