I Still Know What You Did Last Summer
Rating -

Horror (US); 1998; Rated R; 96 Minutes

Jennifer Love Hewitt: Julie James
Freddy Prinze Jr.: Ray Bronson
Brandy Norwood: Karla Wilson
Mekhi Phifer: Tyrell
Muse Watson: Ben Willis

Produced by William S. Beasley, Stokely Chaffin, Erik Feig and Neal Moritz; Directed by Danny Cannon; Screenwritten by Trey Callaway and Stephen Gaghan

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Written by DAVID KEYES

Movies are made to entertain. People go to see them because things exist within them that either represent fantasy, truth, or actual event; whether it's for entertainment or escapism, each of them are meant to have purposes. Box office figures prove that people enjoy the cinema for various reasons, but one thing different from most other things in the box office statistics is the evidence of major turnout for horror movies. No wonder. Most of what we consider "the great horror films" provoke fear into our everyday lives. Who would not want to see them?

After "Psycho," we became afraid to take showers. After "Rosemary's Baby," "The Exorcist" and "The Omen," we were afraid of having children. After "A Nightmare On Elm Street," we developed a fear of falling asleep, while after "Scream," we were actually afraid of watching horror movies themselves.

But what do we get to be afraid of after movies like "I Still Know What You Did Last Summer?" I'll tell you what--we get to be afraid of the fact that predictable and obvious horror clichés can be stretched too far. We get to be afraid of going to movies this bad. Even worse, we fear of wasting our time and money on movies like this. Yet, still, these movies succeed often financially. Why that is, I do not know the answer. Perhaps, as it turns out, people who like these movies are stuck in neutral and aren't willing to accept the fact that these movies are dead and uninspired. They are stuck in the past.

The first film of this franchise, in itself, was horrid. I gave it a measly half-star, which is about two-and-half-stars less then you'd expect from a movie written by Kevin Williamson, the genius of the "Scream" scripts. How did he do this? What could have possibly influenced him to go back and demonstrate all the obvious plot twists and turns in horror movies when his previous script tried to surpass them? He is a force to be reckoned with, no doubt, but the minute you see a movie like this, you realize that he may not be as great as he's made out to be. For the sake of his career, I hope he completely puts that movie behind him.

Oh, but if that isn't bad enough, we've got the second film. "I Still Know What You Did Last Summer" is yet another repetitive, undertoned, retreated, horrible mess of a movie, so inevitably weak in areas of all interest that we in the theater are more observant to the smell of the musty floors and seats. The film lacks so much intellect and ambition that it crumbles the first second it's on screen. And this is no surprise, considering that the movie isn't even written by Williamson, but by two completely different people. This, of course, is even a more unoriginal film than the worst, but it gets a whole star for managing to be a little more competent than the original.

Allow me to explain. There was a limited investigation on the 'hook killer' in the first movie, which was solved just as it seemed to begin. To be specific, Jennifer Love Hewitt's character did a little digging to find the identity of the killer. She was given one or two clues, and before you know it, she solved the mystery. Heck, not even Sherlock Holmes could have done that. How could people be so stupid in these situations? Didn't the film makers ever see a detective movie?

But enough about the first film; we're here to crown the sequel as the king of repetitive horror movies. There are moments within it that seem recycled from the original script, and others that are dimwitted and so weakly constructed that it would be a blessing to rewatch the "Friday The 13th" series.

And once again, Jennifer Love Hewitt stars in it. She plays the same, troubled teenage kid who, two summers ago, got together with three friends and accidentally ran down a man in the middle of the street. They then dumped the body into the sea, suspecting that their secret was safe. Too bad that the person they hit apparently recovered from his injuries and began stalking them. Even worse, the person they thought they hit wasn't the guy who they suspected. It was actually another guy, I think. I dunno; there was overwhelming nausea at this point of the original film that the movie's whole investigation seems somewhat foggy. Anyway, you know the rest; people get killed, we learn the murderer's identity, and yadda yadda yadda, he's dead. Or so we think.

Thus, the setup of the new movie begins. Hewitt thought that the killer was finally dead, but in truth, only the hook and his hand were found in the ocean from which she pushed him in. The rest of the body was never recovered. Zilch. Nadda. Gone from existence. It's a slasher, so what did you expect? In the new film, however, it's a year later, and the killer is back from the dead, stalking Hewitt and her new friends in the Caribbean. One of which is a woman named Karla, played by pop artist Brandy, who likes to sneak around in the dark and jump out at people. And of course, like the typical plot cliché in this situation, Love-Hewitt exclaims, "Who's There?" and Brandy jumps out to startle her to pieces. That plot move, like in the standard "Urban Legend" segment, plays a chord in the background that is supposed to make us jump with fright, because we suspect it's the killer. Yet, its usually just a false alarm; the chord is so obvious that, like I said in a recent review of "Urban Legend," it merely tests our stamina to see if we care or if we're paying attention. How are we to be frightened or afraid of these things when they have repeated themselves over and over again for the past two decades? It's the same formula, but unlike this movie, "Urban Legend" was more tolerable. "I Still Know What You Did Last Summer" garners itself in these situations over and over again, possibly causing people to question the existence of god.

But the worse part of the whole thing is the title. It implies that the killer is still referring two the event that Love-Hewitt and her friends committed, yet that was two summers ago. Why is it called "I Still Know What You Did Last Summer?" I imagine, without decent writers on the script, you can expect to have all of these mistakes and more at a movie like this.

Just make sure that if the next movie is titled "I Will Always Know What You Did Last Summer," don't see it. A movie that can't get its title right belongs in a garbage disposal.

© 1998, David Keyes, Cinemaphile.org. Please e-mail the author here if the above review contains any spelling or grammar mistakes.
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