I’ve Been Waiting For You (1998)

I've Been Waiting For You (1998)

When new teenager Sarah arrives in town, she is accused by her classmates of being the descendant of a witch who was burned at the stake three hundred years earlier. That witch swore to kill the descendants of those responsible and they happen to be the town’s teenagers. Sarah denies it but soon they start getting stalked by a mask-wearing, claw-handed psychopath.

 

After Lois Duncan’s novel I Know What You Did Last Summer was turned into a successful teen slasher flick, it was only a matter of time before her other work would be pillaged for material to adapt onto the screen. Loosely based on the novel Gallows Hill, I’ve Been Waiting For You shares many similarities with its bigger budgeted cousin but borrows heavily, as one would expect, from recent hits Scream and The Craft.

I’ve Been Waiting For You is lightweight horror, made for TV and sorely lacking anything remotely packing a suspenseful punch. I’m sure it’ll scare younger viewers but for anyone wanting something meaty, this isn’t the place to come. The film never once manages to escape its feeble TV movie roots despite its desperate attempts to want to be something bigger and better than it turns out. The opening burning of the witch starts things off on a passable note but then the whole thing proceeds into a run-of-the-mill whodunit which is not very interesting and rather bland.

The main problem is that it’s just not scary. I use that phrase a lot nowadays and granted I am desensitised to a lot of stuff having watched so many horror films over the years. When a film uses the old chestnut of the cat jumping into the frame as its main scare, then you know you’ve got problems. You never get the impression that the main cast are in any real danger as there is no sense of impending doom lurking around. At times the whole ‘killer on the loose’ thing seems to be more of a side distraction. Stalking scenes are short and tedious and when the killer does get physical, the film has a tendency to cut away.

There’s no gore on offer because no one gets killed by the ‘killer’ directly. I’ll refer to them as the psycho from now on. Sure someone dies, but they die from shock and not at the hands of the psycho. If they weren’t going to use the cool-looking claw-hand weapon, then why bother giving them it in the first place? The gremlin-lite mask is unconvincing and overall the psycho has no presence whatsoever. A chase scene through the woods sums up the hilarity of this little psycho, provoking chuckles rather than scares. The killer fisherman from I Know What You Did Last Summer would turn this psycho over in a second.

Avid slasher films will spot the psycho early on despite blatant red herrings being forced down our throats. The psycho also has the uncanny habit of whispering the film’s title at every given opportunity. I’m sure that after the sixth time, the characters know that the psycho has been waiting for them.

The cast of I’ve Been Waiting For You are the most interesting things about it as many of them have gone on to bigger and better things. Sarah Chalke has gone onto a starring role in Scrubs and Ben Foster has hit the big time with starring roles in 3:10 To Yuma and Pandorum. Overall, the cast is decent enough in their roles, with Chalke being a spunky and likeable lead, but the script just doesn’t do anything with them. It is more of a shop window for their talent than it is an actual horror film.

 

This is horror with a blunt edge, neutered of anything distinctive and full of the usual teen horror clichés. If you ever wanted further evidence of why the late 90s teen horror movement kick-started by Scream, was so bad for the genre, then look no further than I’ve Been Waiting For You – the embodiment of dull, hollow horror with gloss, good-looking casts and no clue with what to do with itself.

 

 ★★☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆ 

 

 

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