I Saw What You Did (1988 film)

I Saw What You Did is a 1988 American made-for-television horror film directed by Fred Walton, with a screenplay by Cynthia Cidre. It is a remake of the 1965 theatrical film of the same name starring Joan Crawford, and the second adaptation of Out of the Dark by Ursula Curtiss. The film stars Shawnee Smith and Tammy Lauren as teenage friends Kim Fielding and Lisa Harris, respectively, and Candace Cameron as Kim's younger sister Julie; opposite them is Robert Carradine as the mentally disturbed Adrian Lancer, and David Carradine as his brother Stephen. While making prank phone calls pretending to know who the other person is and what they've done, Kim and Lisa call Adrian, who has recently murdered his girlfriend, causing him to set out to find them.

I Saw What You Did
I Saw What You Did 1988.jpg
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Based onOut of the Dark
by Ursula Curtiss
Written byCynthia Cidre
Directed byFred Walton
Theme music composerDana Kaproff
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
Executive producers
ProducerBarry Greenfield
Production locationsUniversal Studios - 100 Universal City Plaza, Universal City, California
CinematographyWoody Omens
EditorRichard Bracken
Running time93 minutes[2]
Production companyUniversal Television
DistributorNBCUniversal Television Distribution
Original networkCBS
Picture formatColor
Audio formatMono
Original release
  • May 20, 1988 (1988-05-20)

Casting for the film began in May 1987, with most of the principal actors—Smith, Lauren, and the Carradine brothers—being cast in June. Filming began that same month in various locations in Los Angeles. Upon its premiere on CBS on May 20, 1988, the film was the second most-viewed program at the time of its airing. It received mixed reviews from critics. Nevertheless, it won a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Cinematography for a Miniseries or a Special.


Lisa Harris, a popular high school student who is more interested in her boyfriend Louis than getting good grades, is invited to dinner by Kim Fielding, her intelligent classmate who never breaks any rules and has to babysit her sister Julia, since her father is out of town for the night. Feeling she has nothing in common with Kim, Lisa only agrees to come over to meet her boyfriend Louis there. Bored at awaiting his arrival, she joins Kim and Julia in making prank calls. When it's her turn, Lisa calls Adrian Lancer, a man with mental problems who just murdered his girlfriend Robyn Griffin for declining his marriage proposal. Lisa decides to hang up and later calls people, saying "I saw what you did, and I know who you are" before hanging up.

Later, Lisa and Kim discuss Kim's love life, deciding she needs an older man who appreciates her. They decide to call Adrian again, but Lisa, afraid to seduce him, repeats the line "I saw what you did, and I know who you are." Adrian, who was caught in the act when burying Robyn's body, does not realize it's a prank and is determined to get rid of her. Kim, thinking he was flirting with her, calls him again later, agreeing to meet with him. She is nervous to actually meet him, but she is convinced that she should drive by his house. Meanwhile, Adrian's visiting brother Stephen starts to suspect that Adrian did something to Robyn.

Taking the car to his house, Adrian notices Kim and opens his front door. Kim, afraid of admitting who she is, pretends her car broke down and that she has to call for help. When Adrian lets Kim use his phone, she pretends to call someone but mentions she is at Adrian's, who immediately becomes suspicious as he has not told his name to her. She starts to get afraid of him and leaves, but forgets her purse by mistake when Stephen comes back. After she drives away, Stephen informs Adrian that he told Robyn about his mental problems. Back at home, Louis and his friends finally drop by Kim's house to pick up Lisa. Not wanting to ditch Kim, she decides not to go with him. Kim still feels hurt, though, for finding out Lisa only used her for meeting friends, and Lisa soon leaves.

Stephen finds out that Adrian killed his girlfriend but before he can do anything about it Adrian knocks him out. Just as he prepares to burn him with gasoline, he decides to silence Kim first. After he leaves, Stephen regains consciousness and reports him to the police. On his way to Kim's house, a policeman pulls Adrian over and recognizing who he is, chases him. Adrian speeds away and runs the car off the road; it blows up, causing the police to assume he perished in the explosion; he continues on to Kim's house. Upon confronting her, she admits she prank called him. Interrupted by a call from Lisa informing Kim about hearing on the news that Adrian murdered his girlfriend, Kim tries to warn the police, but Adrian stops her, setting the house on fire. When Adrian attempts to kill Kim, the family dog charges into him, knocking him into the fire, allowing the girls to get outside with the help of a neighbor, Randy. After Kim and the police arrive, they witness Adrian running outside, burning alive and dying before he can hurt anybody else.

One night, after the incident is over, Kim receives a phone call from Stephen, who says "Kim, I know who you are. You killed my brother", causing her to scream as the film ends.



I Saw What You Did was written by Cynthia Cidre, and is based on the novel Out of the Dark by Ursula Curtiss.[3] Casting began in May 1987, with Stack Pierce being announced to have a role in the film.[4] In June, Shawnee Smith and Tammy Lauren were cast as the leads.[5] In the same month, it was also announced that real-life brothers Robert Carradine and David Carradine also had starring roles, Robert playing the film's villain and David his brother, described as "straight-arrow".[5] The casting of the Carradine brothers was assumed to indicate that the role portrayed by Joan Crawford in the original film would be diminished in the remake.[6] Filming of the movie began the same month in various locations in Los Angeles.[1]



The film was broadcast on May 20, 1988 on CBS from 9:00 pm to 10:30 pm.[7][8] During its broadcast, the film received a household rating share of 11.5/21 according to Nielsen Media Research,[9] placing second in its time slot behind Rambo: First Blood Part II which garnered a 12.4.[10] This means that 11.5 percent of all households with a television viewed the film, while among those households watching TV during this time period, 21 percent of them were actively watching the film.[11]

Critical responseEdit

In his book Movie and Video Guide 1993, film critic Leonard Maltin refers to the film as "bland", compared to the original by William Castle.[12] Similarly, in Joan Crawford: The Essential Biography, biographers Lawrence J. Quirk and William Schoell refer to the film as "abysmall" and consider it inferior to the original.[13]

The Times-Tribune was critical of Fred Walton's directing, stating that the movie reified his status as a "B-moviemaker", and disapproving of him recycling old themes from his previous film When a Stranger Calls (1979).[14]

In his book Nightmare Movies: Horror on Screen Since the 1960s, Kim Newman argues that I Saw What You Did was responsible for the eventual creation of Dark Castle Entertainment, a production company that created remakes of horror films.[15]


  1. ^ a b "I Saw What You Did". Tyler Courier-Times. Tyler, Texas, United States: M. Roberts Media. June 21, 1987. p. 141. Archived from the original on November 28, 2020. Retrieved November 28, 2020 – via Newspapers.com.
  2. ^ a b c "I Saw What You Did". British Board of Film Classification. Archived from the original on November 28, 2020. Retrieved November 28, 2020.
  3. ^ Willis 1997, pp. 246.
  4. ^ Lanier, Warren (May 30, 1987). "Ebony Etching..." Atlanta Voice. Janis Ware. p. 12. Archived from the original on December 16, 2020. Retrieved December 16, 2020 – via Newspapers.com.
  5. ^ a b "Whale of an Enterprise: 'Star Trek' Goes to Russia". The Salt Lake Tribune. The Salt Lake Tribune, Inc. June 3, 1987. p. 11. Archived from the original on December 16, 2020. Retrieved December 16, 2020 – via Newspapers.com.
  6. ^ Bianco, Roberts (June 21, 1987). "If you think summer TV is bad, just wait". The Pittsburgh Press. E. W. Scripps Company. p. 210. Archived from the original on December 16, 2020. Retrieved December 16, 2020 – via Newspapers.com.
  7. ^ "TV Listings for - May 20, 1988". TV Tango. Archived from the original on March 29, 2019. Retrieved November 28, 2020.
  8. ^ "Prime Time". The San Bernardino Sun. Digital First Media. May 20, 1988. p. 58. Archived from the original on December 9, 2020. Retrieved December 9, 2020.
  9. ^ "I Saw What You Did - TV Movie". TV Tango. Archived from the original on August 29, 2018. Retrieved November 28, 2020.
  10. ^ "Nielsen Ratings". USA Today. May 25, 1988. p. 3D. ProQuest 306046196. Retrieved November 28, 2020 – via ProQuest.
  11. ^ "Frequently Asked Questions About Nielsen Ratings". The Futon Critic. September 19, 2010. Archived from the original on September 5, 2017. Retrieved November 28, 2020.
  12. ^ Maltin 1992, p. 606.
  13. ^ Quirk & Schoell 2002, p. 227.
  14. ^ Buck, Jerry (June 14, 1989). "New 'Vice' Shows Surfacing". The Times-Tribune. Scranton, Pennsylvania, United States: Times-Shamrock Communications. p. 33. Archived from the original on November 28, 2020. Retrieved November 28, 2020 – via Newspapers.com.
  15. ^ Newman 2011, p. 405.


External linksEdit