I Still Know What You Did Last Summer (1998) Revisited – Horror Movie Review

The new episode of the Revisited video series looks back at the 1998 slasher I Still Know What You Did Last Summer

The episode of Revisited covering I Still Know What You Did Last Summer was Written by Bryan Wolford, Narrated by Kier Gomes, Edited by Lance Vlcek, Produced by Tyler Nichols and John Fallon, and Executive Produced by Berge Garabedian.

T​he 90s get a bad rap as far as horror movies go. Without the 90s we would have missed out on such films as Candyman, Scream, and the original IT miniseries. Let’s be real, all of us of a certain generation hate clowns now because of that miniseries. Thanks a lot Tim Curry. O​ne thing the 90s had going for it was the re-emergence of the slasher boom. In the 80s you couldn’t walk into a video store without being overwhelmed with slasher films. Everyone was trying to cash in on the goodwill that the 1978 Halloween movie had given us. When Friday the 13th showed that you could cash in on that in a big big way, we ended up getting flooded with slasher films. Of course, for every My Bloody Valentine or The Prowler you also had an Offerings or The Phantom Of The Mall: Eric’s Revenge. Not all of them can be winners. The 90s slasher glut was no different. When Scream hit big, another group of imitators sprung up as every studio wanted to cash in. Thus, you end up with some quality films like Urban Legend or I Know What You Did Last Summer. Sadly as what happened in the 80s the quality began to slip and the overabundance of slasher films began to get tired and boring. Even some sequels to the better ones see this fatigue as is the case with I Still Know What You Did Last Summer (watch it HERE). Maybe it’s time to revisit this sequel and see how it not only fails its predecessor but also fails in any modern sense whatsoever.

I​n I Know What You Did Last Summer, a group of teens are partying on July 4th when they accidentally hit someone with their car. Instead of calling the police, it’s decided to take the body and throw it in the ocean. A year goes by and everyone starts to receive notes saying “I Know What You Did Last Summer”. T​hey are soon picked off one by one until a final showdown between two of the teens (Julie and Ray) and what is revealed to be a fisherman in a slicker that uses a hook to kill his victims. The teens get the best of him but the only thing that can found after he is throw into the sea is a hand with a hook in it.

T​he film did exceptionally well bringing in over $125 million on a $17 million budget. It was inevitable that a sequel would quickly follow. When presented with the script for the second film, director Jim Gillespie decided not to return. He felt the story wasn’t up to the original and made no sense. Instead, director Danny Cannon would take over the director’s duties, and filming quickly got underway. Just a heads up, the film will fully be spoiled in order to discuss what happens.

I Still Know What You Did Last Summer (1998) Revisited – Horror Movie Review

J​ennifer Love Hewitt and Freddie Prince Jr. return to play their characters of Julie and Ray. A year after the events of the first film we find Julie at college with her new roommate Karla. Ray has decided to continue working at the docks back home but the two are still together. We find out Julie has been having nightmares about the fisherman which explains the cliffhanger ending of the first film where he burst out of the mirror to attack her.

K​arla wins a radio contest and is awarded 4 tickets to the Bahamas the following weekend. Kind of a quick turnaround but ok. Julie wants Ray to go but after a talk on the phone, he turns her down. Instead, Karla invites their friend Will and her boyfriend Tyrell. They get to the Bahamas only to find out that it’s the off-season because it storms constantly. The fisherman shows up once again and begins to take out the hotel staff one by one until no one can help the group, and they are now stuck on the island. The killings continue until Julie has to finally have her showdown with the fisherman. It’s revealed that their friend Will is actually the son of the fisherman from the first film. They both worked to get them to this island to kill them as Ben the fisherman used to work here.

S​o much to unpack with this one. I remember seeing this in the theater and being so disappointed. My hope was that with a rewatch for this video that it would improve. It did not. Let’s run down some of the problems with this sequel.

T​he idea to get the group to this island is needlessly convoluted. First, Ben enrolled his son at the same college as Julie. Then Will had to integrate himself into her friend group. After all that was settled, they called randomly to the girl’s apartment claiming to be from a local radio station. They had to answer a question about what was the capital of Brazil (which they got wrong, and they realize it was a setup later). Ok. But now they have to hope that Ray won’t go with the group so that Will can be the one to use the other ticket. O​nce they are on the island they have to hope that a bad storm will shut everything down so that no one can go to or come from the mainland. Then hope that no one else has shown up for the off-season rates at this specific island. That is a lot of stuff to have to line up just to get your revenge. They just as easily could have had Will say that he won a radio contest and tell everyone he’s taking them all on the trip. Takes out some of the variables.

T​hrough out all of this, Ben must have some deep pockets. Tuition for his son to attend class and then cover an all-expenses-paid trip for four to the Bahamas doesn’t come cheap. They know where Julie lives. If they want revenge couldn’t they just show up to her apartment and kill her while she’s asleep? Seems way easier. And I know the argument then is that we wouldn’t have a movie, but an idea with a lot less plot holes could have solved this idea.

S​ome of the characters are groan-worthy through a modern lens. Jack Black’s dreadlock stoner guy is the worst. His constant pushing of weed on people gets old real quick. We get it, you like weed. Even from the era that brought you Jay and Silent Bob and movies like Dazed and Confused, this character is pushing it really far. His death is not a sad one and I wasn’t sad to see him go.

I Still Know What You Did Last Summer (1998) Revisited – Horror Movie Review

T​he horny back and forth between Karla and Tyrell starts out kind of funny but when dead bodies start to pile up, and he keeps complaining that he hasn’t gotten any, I started to roll my eyes so much I was afraid they were going to get stuck.

T​hen Karla spends the entire film trying to get Julie to cheat on her boyfriend. While it seems that Ray and Julie are going through some rough waters (more on that in a minute), Karla is constantly telling Julie to hook up with Will, up until it’s revealed that he is a villain. From Karla’s point of view, Ray doesn’t seem like he’s worth all the anxiety Julie is getting and is constantly trying to set Will up to swoop in to get Julie to cheat. After Julie makes it clear that she is with Ray and not interested, Karla only seems to push the issue further. This makes her character really unlikable and doesn’t make the audience root for her to survive.

A​lthough, she may have a point. Ray seems mischaracterized throughout the entire film. In the first film, he went through trauma just like Julie did. When Julie expresses that she is not ready to return home from college Ray seems to take it as an insult. He is constantly trying to get her to return home with him over the 4th of July weekend. She instead, is planning on staying at the school to study and take classes for summer school. Why does Ray not understand that for the past two years over July 4th weekend has been the worst two years of her life? She and her friends hit a guy on the road and then dumped his body in the ocean to hide their crime. Then the following year the guy they hit begins stalking her friend group and even kills two of them. One of which was her best friend.

R​ay doesn’t seem to understand this at all and only sees her refusal to go back to her hometown as a slight against him. He doesn’t seem to understand her position at all and makes everything about himself. But all of this is in the first fifteen minutes. We do learn that he is trying to set up a proposal and this trip to the Bahamas is throwing a wrench in the plan. His friend convinces him to get over it and go on the trip, but they don’t make it before the fisherman kills his friend. RIP John Hawkes.

This puts Ray outside of the main story for most of the film which is not a great storyline for his character. Instead, he spends the majority of the film trying to reach the island that the group is on. We see him buy a gun, ride a bus, and then pull the gun on the ship captain, so he can steal his boat. Not a great use of the main character’s boyfriend and one of the survivors of the last film.

I Still Know What You Did Last Summer (1998) Revisited – Horror Movie Review

H​aving Will being Ben’s son seems like it is copying completely from the reveal of Scream 2 the year before. A family member coming back for revenge for what happened to the killer family member in the first film. A mistake that is still being used. I’m looking at you Scream VI. His dismissal by having him hold a character while his father winds up with his hook hand only to have the character step aside and Will take the hook in the chest is straight out of professional wrestling and works just about as well as it does there.

W​ith all of that being said, how about some positives? After Ben lost his hand in the last film, he gives himself an upgrade in this film by getting a hook hand. He also puts it to good use by dispatching a lot of characters with it. Olga the maid seems to get it the worst after she is hooked to death and then her body is dragged into an adjacent room.

S​ome of the side characters that aren’t annoying is Nancy the bartender. She seems like she’s over these annoying teens staying at the hotel but quickly becomes a fun character that even holds her own for a few scenes before she is dispatched Friday the 13th Part 2 style after Estes the voodoo guy (another annoying stereotype) is stabbed with a harpoon and falls on top of her. Ben then shows up to push the harpoon home through Nancy’s midsection.

T​hen horror legend Jeffery Combs shows up as the hotel manager Mr. Brooks. No one plays an annoyed character like Combs. He’s pretty much built a majority of his career with his annoyed looks and exasperated demeanor. No one does it better.

I Still Know What You Did Last Summer (1998) Revisited – Horror Movie Review

O​verall the film just doesn’t work as a sequel. The characters don’t seem to match up with how we left them in the last film and the new characters don’t seem to add anything worthwhile to the plot. This one only draws a 3 out of 10. It is a sloppy follow-up to what is a pretty good slasher. The original was a fun mystery while this one tries to add in some backstory to the character of the fisherman that just drains any mystery from him. A misfire of a sequel that killed any momentum for the franchise.

A​ direct-to-video sequel was released but none of the surviving characters would return. In recent years an Amazon series based on the same book would be made. It doesn’t feature the Fisherman as the villain and wouldn’t ultimately capture an audience. There have been rumblings of doing a new sequel with Jennifer Love Hewitt and Freddy Prinze Jr. interested in reprising their characters.

W​ith Scream once again a hot property, maybe it’s time the Fisherman brought back his hook and slashed his way back onto the big screen. Keep an eye on the road, and hold on to your secrets.

Two previous episodes of Revisited can be seen below. To see more of our shows, head over to the JoBlo Horror Originals channel – and subscribe while you’re at it!

Source: Arrow in the Head

About the Author

Bryan Wolford is a feature writer for JoBlo, and also writes scripts for both JoBlo Originals and JoBlo Horror Originals, including a multi-part retrospective on the Highlander franchise. When not writing for the site, he’s an avid podcaster.