There was a time in the ’90s that the horror movie genre had finally felt like it had hit a brick wall. That was until a little movie called Scream came out in 1996 and put the slasher movie genre back on the map. Scream was written by Kevin Williamson, who would also go on to create the hit TV show Dawson’s Creek as well. But in between these two success stories he would write another movie I Know What You Did Last Summer released in 1997.
Four young adults Julie ( Jennifer Love Hewitt ), Helen (Sarah Michelle Gellar ), Barry ( Ryan Phillippe ), and Ray ( Freddie Prinze Jr ) who were out enjoying their last summer together before heading off to college are enjoying a 4th of July celebration. As they drive away they continue the party but Ray who is driving the car gets distracted when Barry drops his booze all over him, which then leads up to him hitting and what at the time looked like they might have killed a pedestrian walking.
With the fear of Barry going to jail, even though he wasn’t the one driving but it was his car and there is alcohol spilled all over the seats he tells his friends he’s going to fry in jail for manslaughter if they don’t dispose of the body.
After a little convincing the four decide to go all in and dump the body in the ocean in hopes the crabs will eat him up and that any evidence of their crimes will be washed away at sea. But just as the victim is being tossed in, we realize that he wasn’t dead as he grabs Helen’s crown sinking down into the ocean.
We catch up with our four illegal dumpers one year later and we find out that they’ve all gone there separate ways. Now while these four have tried to forget what happened last summer, the man that they hit and dumped into the ocean has not.
Now the movie does do a good job of turning itself into a guessing game of who it could be that’s messing with them. One thought is it could be a man named David Egan who went up to essentially jump off the rocks that night. Maybe it’s Max played by Johnny Galecki. He had a little thing for Julie and he did come across the accident scene. Or maybe it could even be one of them who is worried that one of them will eventually talk so they are taking it into their own hands to make sure the rest stay silent.
The first victim of the hooked fisherman is Max. So he’s out. Next, we find that David Egan’s body was found out at sea so he can’t be the killer either. So who could the fisherman with the hook be? It’s going to be a man named Ben Willis who actually was out to get revenge for his Daughters death whom we found out was caused by David Egan.
So to break it down. The fisherman Ben Willis’ daughter Suzie was killed in an accident involving David Egan. And Egan went up that night to take his own life, but the fisherman went to seek his own revenge. But while Ben Willis was on the way to have a “chat” with David Egan he was hit by the car that Ray was driving and it was Ben Willis who they dumped into the ocean.
Do I Recommend I Know What You Did Last Summer?
Yes, I do. It’s a fun and scary ride all at the same time. Even though the main characters were at fault and that’s the reason for the Fisherman’s wrath I still found myself liking these characters and wanting them to survive.
On a scale of 1-10 I’m giving I Know What You Did Last summer an 8 out of 10.
One of the things I appreciate about this movie is that they just don’t line up characters for the sake of turning them into body bags, just to give the killer something to do. Every victim is either directly related to the crime or had some type of interaction with the four main characters and was in the way of the hooked fisherman. Also, I really like the chemistry between Jennifer Love Hewitt, Sarah Michell Gellar, Ryan Phillipe, and Freddie Prinze Jr. They all felt like best friends at the beginning of the movie and you can feel the tension between them when they are being stressed about who could be coming for revenge.
Now before the credits can roll we are teased that the saga has not ended which leads to the second movie in the series
I Still Know What You Did Last Summer released one year later in 1998.
This one took place one year after the slayings of Julie’s friends Helen and Barry. She’s now off in college but still has these nightmares of the hooked fisherman Ben Willis.
Julie’s new BFF Karla ( Brandy ) wins a radio contest that includes travel for four to the Bahamas. Karla takes her man Tyrell ( Mekhi Phifer ), and since Julie and Ray are still on somewhat rocky terms Karla invites one of their classmates Will (Matthew Settle ) as Julie’s date for the weekend.
Now once on the Island, the bodies begin to hit the floor or tumble in washing machines as Julie’s least favorite fisherman has come to spend some quality time with his old friends.
Now we do get some backstory why the fisherman Ben Willis has chosen this location as he suffered a family tragedy here at this resort and he’s here to kill multiple birds with one hook as he runs a reign of terror on the hotel staff first, thus setting up his main course for Julie and her friends.
One of the things I enjoyed about the first movie is the way the fisherman played psychological games with the four youngsters before unleashing his hook on them. Here he only plays games with Julie making all of her friends thinking she’s gone insane.
On this island, we’re introduced to some just weird characters but none more bizarre than the Jack Black’s, Titus who in all honesty could be a candidate for the High Times man of the year award. I’m sure they put this character in the movie for comic relief but he’s just downright not funny and annoying. And I found myself cheering once the fisherman decided to cast his reel on Titus.
I will give them some credit with the plot twist here that Julie’s date Will Benson is surprise surprise Ben Willis the fisherman’s son and everything from the radio call to the hotel has been a father-son collaboration.
Do I recommend I Still Know What You Did Last Summer.
I do not. On a scale of 1-10, this movie is a 4.
The acting from everyone involved is bad. The story is forced and I just wanted this movie to end. I would have been happy with just having the original than having this horrible sequel. While I really did enjoy the first one the sequel fits that typical horror movie stereotype with it not only being much worse than the original but just an unnecessary one as well.
Next up the third and final installment, I’ll Always Know What You Did Last Summer.
A group of youngsters are celebrating the 4th of July right before they all head off to college ( That sounds familiar ). While at a carnival they decide to have some fun and put on a stunt of the fisherman coming to terrorize their town, unsuspecting to all the other carnival-goers. But during the stunt, one of their friends PJ dies while trying to escape the fake fisherman.
In almost a word for word recreation of the first movie, the youngsters make a pact to never speak of this incident ever again. Now I’m sure they recreated the dialogue as an homage to the first movie, but much like the rest of this movie it just comes off as bad and lazy.
Now while the movie has these youngsters being tormented by a man with a hook, the acting is so bad and emotionless, as someone watching this movie in the audience, I was truly the tortured one.
There is a guessing game as to who the evil fisherman could be this time. But the payoff of it actually not being a person but some type of supernatural being who brings the urban legend to life is not worth it.
Let’s talk about the editing, it’s so poor and cheap. It was like they knew their movie stunk and they told the editor to do something to “spice it up” and he came up with these weird and almost seizure indulging edits to try and give the movie a small amount of a creative feel, but the movie fails in this aspect as well.
Just as the credits are ready to roll, the movie leaves us with yet another tease that the fisherman is still on the loose. But I guess after how bad this movie was and tainted the name of the franchise, I’m glad that even after 14 years after this installment there has not been follow up. Thank You!
Do I recommend I’ll Always Know What You Did Last Summer.
Absolutely not! Not for horror movie fans and definitely not for fans of the “I Know” movies. And even though I wasn’t a fan of the sequel, the third installment makes it look great and makes the first movies like a masterpiece.
My Rating for I’ll Always Know What You Did Last Summer is a 2 out of 10.
And the only reason why it doesn’t get a one is that I actually watched it to the end. Sometimes a follow up to one of our favorite movies is a good thing but not in this case. The movie is not scary and dreadfully boring. There’s no reason why this movie should have been made and no reason why anyone should ever watch it.