I'll Always Know What You Did Last Summer
I'll Always Know What You Did Last Summer
Review By: Staff
I’ll Always Know What You Did Last Summer
While the original I Know What You Did Last Summer may not represent the pinnacle of the late 90s post-Scream resurgence of the slasher film, it's still one of the better films from that craze. Its virtue was being a heavily disguised morality tale where even the protagonists can't find retribution. In its chilling final frame, not even the perky Jennifer Love Hewitt could be admonished of her sins. Of course, the money-hungry and god awful sequel retroactively negated the original film's integrity but as a stand-alone film, it was an entertaining thrill-ride that even had a shred of morality "” something rare in the dead teenager genre of the 90s.
Almost ten years since the original scared up over $70 million dollars at the box office, we get the absurdly titled I'll Always Know What You Did Last Summer. The opening credits say that it's "Based on Characters Created by Lois Duncan,"Â who penned the novel that the original film was based upon, but I'm not entirely sure which characters this refers to. The events of the third film take place in a small Colorado town as opposed to the quaint fishing village of the first film and it's not even like a Halloween sequel where the characters are distantly related to people from the first film. The only verbal connection is the myth of The Fisherman. Teens talk flippantly about a mysterious man in a slicker who hunts down kids who harbor deadly secrets every July 4th.
A few mischievous locals decide to resurrect the mythology and stage an elaborate hoax at the town's annual carnival. The prank consists of Roger (Seth Packard) spooking the townsfolk by donning a black slicker and wielding a hook that he bought off Ebay for $39. The conceivably harmless tomfoolery goes awry when one of their friends accidentally dies. Roger and his cohorts – the bird-brained, good girl Amber (Brooke Nevin), her ditzy boyfriend Colby (David Paetkau) and Zoe (Torrey DeVitto) a wannabe rock star who has a serious lack of edge "” make a pact to keep their rouse a secret.
A year passes and the former friends rarely see each anymore but their past comes back to haunt them when Amber receives 50 text messages from a blocked number, all with the same foreboding message: "I Know What You Did Last Summer."Â It's good to see that the assailant has progressed along with the 21st century, getting rid of those pesky handwritten notes in favor of the electronically reproducible text message. Next, the gang begins receiving fleeting visits from The Fisherman. He toys with them by leaving nasty notes or cutting up their pictures in order to form a mural that succinctly says "soon."Â Either it's a relative or a friend of the deceased teenager who knows their secret or it
I really hope that the script, written by Michael Weiss, didn't take longer than a week to write because it's very close to a carbon copy of the original film's script by Kevin Williamson, just with less self-reflexive dialogue. Well, I guess it's not a verbatim copy, there are some minor tweaks. For example, after the incident, Roger retreats to the mountains where he fixes ski lifts, whereas Freddie Prinze Jr. 's character found sanctuary at the docks. And then there's the scene where Colby gets a physical warning from The Fisherman while he is swimming in a pool, whereas Ryan Phillipe's character was attacked after working the punching bag in the local gym. The actors don't do anything to help alleviate the staleness of the script either. Sure, they take their jobs seriously and impressively refrain from acknowledging what a laughable production they are in but in this type of situation it's not enough to merely have one's game face on.
The Director, Sylvain White, does a rather poor job of engaging with the material. He shies away from excessive gore which will alienate horror fans but is fine for people with weak stomachs like myself. However, there's no way for him to ratchet up the suspense as compensation because anyone who has seen either of the first two entries will know exactly where the plot is going. White is less interested in the story and more interested in imparting the film with every single visual trick he knows. Unlike I Know What You Did Last Summer which was composed rather classically with static shots and spatial awareness, White chooses to direct this bastard sequel so that it will appeal more to fans of Saw and the Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake. We get flash cuts galore, double exposures, canted angles and handheld disarray "” all of which is shot on grainy, low quality film stock. The poor quality doesn't imbue the film with realism-invoked terror in the manner that the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre did, but merely makes it look like we are watching rehearsal material. To his credit, hidden amongst all this debris is evidence that he does have a good eye for filmmaking. If he had dialed down all the frenetic, headache-inducing techniques and stuck to a more minimalist visual creativity (as seen in the shot where he frames a curved faucet as a hook around Amber's neck) the film would have been more akin to the type of slasher film the story dictates it to be.
In the original, The Fisherman may have been able to survive a watery grave, get up from a nasty fall or two and sneak into houses with
A perfect example of how ambitionless the film is features Colby being cornered by The Fisherman while talking to Amber on his hands-free cellular phone. This device could have been used in a variety of different ways "” Amber could have given him directions out of the location, he could have told her he loved her, or most grisly, she could have simply listened to him die. Instead, the ear bud conveniently falls out of his ear right after seeing The Fisherman enter the room, lest the film do anything interesting for a change.
Although, there was one scene that struck me as something I hadn't seen before and it carried a psychological implication too dense to be tackled in a film of this nature. In a moment of overwhelmingly narcissistic sadism, The Fisherman actually interrupts a suicide attempt so that he can have the pleasure of gutting the guilt-stricken teenager himself. Now that is vindictive!
The Director's Commentary with Sylvian White is pretty bland despite the fact he has clearly been preparing for this opportunity since day one of pre-production. He peppers the track with all sorts of production stories, technical explanations, and gives far more analysis of the story's proceedings than need be.
The "Making of"Â Featurette begins with a jumble of random behind-the-scenes footage scored to a very generic rock song before becoming a laudatory piece on the director. This is appropriate since the film is merely a calling card for White and not an artistic achievement for anyone else involved. He is enthusiastic and energetic enough to be tolerable but it's still pretty cringe-inducing to hear him compare one of his shots to Sergio Leone. We also get some insightful looks at the cast dancing around the set and picking their noses. Then there's some dull talk about the make-up, stunts and storyboarding. At least David Paetkau, who plays Colby, makes a bid for exoneration by making light of his character, the story and even the featurette by eating a burrito throughout his interview. The featurette runs a grueling 27 minutes and is an embarrassment for the cast and crew but at least interesting for the viewer to see what the atmosphere is like on a production of this squalor.
Movie Grade: D+
DVD Grade: D+
Overall Grade: D+