On Second Thought: “I Still Know What You Did Last Summer”

As is the yearly tradition, it’s time for another holiday themed movie. There’s so many to choose from, how do you know you’ve made the right choice? Is there a wrong choice? What’s the goal with the options you have, other than fitting the given holiday? If you really don’t care what kind of experience you have, I guess any movie will do. Although there is still a chance you may regret it.

The Columbia Pictures film “I Still Know What You Did Last Summer”, is definitely a terrible, and much worse film than the first, but it’s an entertaining and fun sequel to have on hand.

This slasher film stars Jennifer Love Hewitt (“Criminal Minds”, “Hot in Cleveland”), Freddie Prinze Jr. (“Star Wars Rebels”, “Bordertown”), Brandy (“The Perfect Match”, “Zoe Ever After”), Mekhi Phifer (“upcoming series “Frequency (2016 TV series)”, “Roots”), Muse Watson (“Saved by Grace”, “NCIS”), Bill Cobbs (upcoming episode “Greenleaf”, “Hand of God”), Matthew Settle (“Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders”, “The Faith of Anna Waters”), Jeffrey Combs (“Transformers: Robots in Disguise”, “Art School of Horrors”), Jennifer Esposito (“Mistresses”, “The Affair”), and John Hawkes (“The Driftless Area”, “Everest”).

The film is directed by Danny Cannon (“Gotham”, “The Lottery”) and written by Trey Calloway (“Rush Hour (2016 TV series)”, “The Messengers”).

It was originally released on Nov. 13, 1998.

On this particularly Fourth of July, I did have a few more options than last year, however, because of last year, I chose to stick with tradition, which incidentally ends tonight. Last year, I chose to watch the classic slasher film, “I Know What You Did Last Summer”, and have obviously followed it up with the sequel. While this one is a bit of a stretch, unlike the first film, it still takes place during the Fourth of July weekend. It’s even referenced a few times, before being forgotten and the trip our characters take ends up being just some vacation, with a twist. It may not be most people’s go to, but it was the first film, like last year, that popped into my head. Another reason I knew I needed to watch it. I couldn’t pass up the opportunity!

Fucking jump scares! Seriously, how many times could I write down that sentence? At least three, by my last count. I may have missed one or two. This, apparently I’ve forgotten, is what makes up the majority of this movie. These goddamned jump scares are probably what ruins this movie for me more than anything! It’s really quite sad. Now, maybe it’s just because of the time, when turn around for slasher horror was quick, and the idea of actually building up suspense and scaring the audience wasn’t high on anyone’s list of things to do, but it’s now just become an unfortunate aspect of this film, and probably many others like it. At least there weren’t any cats or other animals jumping out. No, just roommates who live with the character who’s too paranoid to use her brain for even a minute and think maybe it’s my roommate. So, so lazy and cliché.

Fortunately, which is largely where a lot of the entertaining aspects of the film come from, there are plenty of likable characters. I’m not sure if there’s a favorite, other than Hewitt, but that’s because she’s the lead and returning from the original. The new characters don’t really have much going for them. What’s given to us, even a bit more of Hewitt’s character, is really all surface information. Each character’s role is merely defined for just that, the role they’ll play in Hewitt’s larger story. Brandy, Phifer, and Settle, not to mention the major supporting player Prinze, Jr., are there to support Hewitt and act as some sort of guide in her quest for normalcy. It’s why you pretty much don’t care when they start being attacked and are killed, or believed to be dead, as was the case with Settle.

I think when it comes to the characters, I enjoyed watching them get chased around, terrorized, and finding the bodies of those who worked on the island. There was just something about those sequences, which may have a bit more to do with excitement and suspense than I’m fully willing to admit. I just got so into the chase and the potential scares, even when they ended up just being more fucking jump scares.

While the amount and almost complete reliance on clichés isn’t as big of a problem as the jump scares, it’s still very tiresome. The clichés, to me, say more about the time and type of horror film this is, but also about how lazy a writer Calloway was. This film is chalk full of so many clichés, it’s not even funnyI think my favorite is when Brandy gets her foot stuck through the floor, but can only manage to get it unstuck after some mighty pulling, which occurs once the killer is two feet from her and swinging his deadly hook. This is why you don’t focus on the killer that’s slowly walking towards you. She probably could’ve gotten that foot out much faster, even without Esposito’s help, if she hadn’t stopped to look at him every two seconds. Fucking dumbass. And here I thought she actually had some intelligence.

What else? Dead body gone when you return to it. Badly executed scares, which only achieved lazy jump scare status. Shrill music trying to signal to you something scary is occurring, only to have nothing usually occur, or something only mildly occur, like Phifer’s character getting hooked through the neck. Oh! And another favorite!! Ray shows up! Just in time!! Yes we knew he was working his way there, but he just happens to make it on time and quickly find them on the island. It makes me wonder how long he was truly on the island. Was he a few minutes behind them? Did he too find any of the bodies? What? It was just too convenient. You know, like convenient when Hewitt’s character tells people something bad is going on, but without proof, which there seldom was, nobody believed her. Nobody. Also a cliché. So sad.

However, on a slightly positive note, but in the cliché department, what was missing were the people falling over nothing. The female leads and Esposito, didn’t do that. However, they just didn’t seem to be that intelligent with regards to much else. I’m not sure which is worse, but I’m certain one is.

Since I don’t want to get too deep into the intelligence levels of these characters, let me quickly say a few things. What? Even Cobbs’ character didn’t know what the Capitol of Brazil is. I’m just having a hard time believing that. There were also a few moments that made these characters appear dumber than they should’ve. One in particularly, which I can’t believe surprised me, as it also falls into that annoying cliché area we talked about, is when Brandy’s trying to escape a locked room, but can’t. Hewitt and Esposito are fighting to get her out before the slow walking killer reaches her. All the while none of them are thinking that the small glass windows could easily be broken. Nope. Like with Brandy and her formerly stuck foot, she only gets the window broken and pulled through just as the killer reaches her and attempts to stab her. I honestly don’t know how anyone survives horror films.

The killings!! I couldn’t not talk about the deaths. They’re exciting for some reason. Fortunately, even after all these years, the deaths haven’t taken on that feeling that the deaths in the “Saw” films eventually took on. I didn’t need to watch this solely for the way people died. I don’t believe I have ever had that need. Anyway. The deaths are entertaining. They can’t really be much more as the killer’s primarily using a very sharp hook. Once you’ve seen a few deaths by this weapon, you’ve seen them all. As far as a slasher film goes, this one also fits perfectly in this, and is a bit more memorable because of the hook.

While some films, even holiday themed films, or holiday set films, can be the right amount of entertaining and fun, it doesn’t stop them from being overly annoying. Some are just plain terrible in many ways, and while you can’t ignore this, or deny it, you can enjoy it. This film may not have been the best film for the Fourth of July holiday, but it allowed me to finish what I started, and keeps with the horror film during the holiday’s theme that I’ve been doing now for some time. At some point my holiday themed films will migrate to somewhat happier experiences. For now, I’ll take the entertainingly bad horror film over just a flat out bad and irritating one. Things could’ve been much, much worse.

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