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The 100




I Still Know What You Did Last Summer
(1998)
Reviewed by Nicholas D'Amico
Rating: 10 Beans

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VHS - DVD
hen the hell am I going to learn? I keep asking myself that question. I should know better by now. My whole life, I've been watching bad movies, and I usually avoid the sequels, unless it's something by the one and only Edward D. Wood Jr., which exercise this siren song-type pull on me that I'm helpless to resist. This movie, though… *moan of pain akin to an abscess tooth*

The imaginatively titled I STILL KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER (whose clodhopping title is second only to the title of the original) is the same damn thing you saw before, except the characters are marginally more likable than the dimwits in the first one. It still contains all the ingredients that made the first one so agonizing to watch: a bunch of teenagers you wouldn't give a tin shit about in real life (except, of course, for Jennifer Love Hewitt and Brandy, who are still certified hotties in my book), a whole bunch of disposable characters (the staff of the hotel they end up in and one burnout loser back in Maine or wherever the hell Southport is supposed to be) that are so poorly drawn and developed that when they finally get killed, all you can think is, "Oh, yeah! This is a HORROR movie, that's right!" I have this one on DVD as well, but there are no real big deal supplements in it. It includes a behind the scenes featurette where the actors try to convince you that the movie really IS scary (probably the best acting on the disc) and also includes the usual trailers and cast backgrounds but also includes a music video by J. L. Hewitt, who can sing pretty well.

The film begins with Julie James (Jennifer Love Hewitt) going to confession. She kneels in a confessional and begins to recap the last film before confessing to murdering someone last summer (thereby completely negating the denouement where she and Ray realized they didn't kill someone after all as well as the end of the first movie). After some religious folderol, the priest says to her, "I know what you did last summer," and it turns out to be the Slickerman, Ben Willis (Muse Watson), who sticks his hook hand through the screen and begins to savage her. But not to worry! It's only a dream, so Julie wakes up screaming in her Political Science class (which, when you think about it, is a lot scarier than some goof in a slicker). She takes off, ashamed, and is pursued by Will Benson (Matthew Settle), a fellow student with the hots for her. When she goes back to her dorm, she runs into Ray (Freddie Prinze Jr.), who invites her back home for the summer. Julie refuses, saying that, while she wants to be with him, she's still too screwed up emotionally to go back. He leaves in a huff. After reminiscing a bit and drowning her fears in potato chips and Evian water, she falls asleep and the first (again) in a series of false scares is visited upon the hardworking people who parted with their money to see this crap. Someone sneaks into the apartment and Julie wakes up. She gets a butcher's knife out of the drawer next to her bed and confronts… her roommate, Karla Wilson (Brandy), who talks Julie into going to the bar she works at. There, we meet Karla's boyfriend, Ty (Mekhi Phifer), and Will pops up, trying to hit on Julie as she keeps seeing Slickerman pop up here and there. It must be an hallucination, because no one else sees this idiot standing around. It's enough to freak Julie out, however, so she beats feet.

The next morning, Julie and Karla receive a phone call from a local radio station, offering them a weekend getaway if she can answer the following question: What is the capital of Brazil? She answers, after some initial confusion, "Rio De Janero?" and wins a trip for four to the Bahamas. Julie calls Ray, who, dimwit that he is, refuses to go because he's jealous. I'm sure you understand that. I mean, given a choice between working the fish docks in Maine and going to the Bahamas for 4th of July weekend, which would you choose? After realizing what a dick he is, he confesses to his buddy Dave (John Hawkes) that he's bought an engagement ring for Julie. He says he'll call her back to tell her he's coming, but his buddy convinces him to surprise her. The two of them take off to meet up with her, but they find a mannikin laying in the road dressed like Slickerman. Dave gets killed by Slickerman and Ray dives off the road and falls down a hill. Julie and Karla get tired of waiting, so they take off for the trip with Ty and Will.

Once they get to the island, they find out that not only is it the end of the season (The July 4th weekend is the end of the season?!) and the whole island is soon to be empty except for them and the sacrificial lambs of the movie, the skeleton crew of the hotel they're staying at, but that the boat they're taking in is the only way off the island unless there's an emergency, in which case the Coast Guard will take them off. We then meet the next victims, in just about the order they'll be killed: Darick (Benjamin Brown), the black porter with the phony Jamaican accent; Titus (Jack Black), the white Rastafarian pot dealer; the housekeeper (Ellerine! and the exclamation point is part of her name, thank you); the incredibly unfriendly manager, Mr. Brooks (Jeffrey Combs), who informs them that storm season is about to begin and expresses concern that they're staying in 201 and 202, the honeymoon suites; Estes (Bill Cobbs), the semi-elderly black bell man; and Nancy (Jennifer Esposito), the Bartender With A Dark Secret.

Back in Southport, Ray is in the hospital, unconscious. The typical do-nothing cop blows off the story about Slickerman told by Ray, who then magically comes to and escapes the hospital, despite "Massive head trauma."

Back on the island, Julie sees the words "I still know…" on the karoake monitor while singing "I Will Survive" (a little foreshadowing here). She freaks out again and runs to her room, only to suffer another false scare when Will sneaks up on her with a rose and champagne. Another false scare follows this when Titus pops up on Darick just before he gets killed by Slickerman. Titus hears something but blows it off, and when he leaves, the non-menacing figure of Slickerman steps out… non-menacingly.

Back at the Hotel, Olga gets hers after finding blood on a doorknob, another false scare is delivered during a non-sexy love scene in the Jacuzzi between Ty and Karla, and small items like toothbrushes, hair ties and other things turn up missing, along with a few other false scares, followed by a semi-real one when the body of Darrick is found by Julie in her closet. Of course, when everybody gets there, it's nowhere to be seen and everyone thinks Julie is crazy. No boats are coming in due to the storm, the phones are out, and all they can do is wait for the coming hurricane to blow over.

At this time, we find that Estes is a devotee of Voodoo (gasp) and Titus gets offed while checking his pot plants.

Back on the mainland, Ray pawns Julie's engagement ring for a pistol and hightails it to the island.

In the hotel, all of the people we wish would get killed are sleeping in the same bed, and Ty is complaining and cursing a blue streak. While Julie and Karla go to the gym to work off some stress, Ty and Will go out to do… something, I'm not sure what. We get a little body action with Karla in spandex and Julie in a bikini. Julie climbs into a tanning bed, slips on a Walkman and blinders (just the thing you do when being stalked by the Morton's Fisherman). Karla, meanwhile, finds Olga's body in the hotel dryer and screams while Slickerman comes out of the closet and zip cords the tanning bed shut before turning it all the way up.

Now, why the hell manufacturers of tanning beds make controls for them that go past the safety point is beyond me, but they probably do it so serial killers can murder tenderonies in stupid, complicated, roundabout ways. Why he just doesn't kill her outright is also beyond me, but there you go.

Julie and Karla get saved by the boys, of course, and then we have the big scene where Julie confesses what's going on, her friends feel betrayed, and they (once again) come to the completely wrongheaded conclusion that Estes is the one killing everyone, using the fact that he's into Voodoo as proof. (The fact that Voodoo is a religion doesn't seem to enter into the argument.) At this point, Estes, besides delivering another cheap scare, tells us what anyone with a rudimentary knowledge of geography already knows: Brasilia is the capital city of Brazil. First major plot twist, here. The guys start roughing him up, so Estes decides it's time for a little exposition.

Meanwhile, Ray is highjacking the guy that brought the Julie and the others to the island to begin with, forcing him at gunpoint to take him over during the hurricane.

Estes explains that Ben Willis used to work on the island, and in fact raised a family there, a boy and a girl. His wife disappeared one day and they found blood all over the honeymoon suite, room 201 (gasp! They never say anything about room 202, though). Why this happened is never made clear; she either cheated on him, or he beat her. "People say a lot of things," says Estes as he escorts them to the graves of Susan and Sarah Willis. Next to them is an open grave with the headstone reading "Julie James, 1979 - 1998", written in red spray paint. This pisses Julie off and she spreads her arms and start yelling for Ben to come and get her. At this point, I wished he would. I mean, Jennifer Love Hewitt is quite the babe, but threatening, she's not. Karla reminds us then that a) this is crazy, b) the boats are gone, c) the phone lines are down, and d) there's no way off the island. Julie replies, "Then we fight!", so we can finally rest assured that everyone else not central to the plot will soon be killed.

Estes wanders off and Will goes to look for him as the others return to the hotel. Ty must be feeling the stress, because he's beginning to swear more than usual. Will catches up with Estes, who's uncovering a boat, and Estes hits him upside the head with an oar.

After THREE MORE false scares in a row (and I do mean in a row; they all happen within 3 seconds of each other), they find Nancy hiding in the pantry. They exchange some dialogue that's supposed to be hard-bitten, Ty finally gets the hook (snort) and the girls hide in the attic, which of course makes is what you should do when being pursued by a homicidal maniac: why hide out in the tropical forest when you can go to a place you can't possibly escape from without major damage to yourself? Makes sense to me.

Anyhoo, Ben follows them up there and Karla falls though the floor with him, crashing through the ceiling of Julie's room and landing on the bed. He pursues her and she leaps off the balcony, eventually crashing through the roof of the greenhouse. After a really dull scene where she's locked in, Ben cuts her route of escape off, Julie and Nancy bust a window and get her out, and Ben stalks her s-l-o-w-l-y (why the hell can't these assholes move faster than a slow lope when they corner someone? Is it in the Insane Killer bylaws or something?), the three girls find the bodies of earlier victims and the rest that they didn't have the budget or imagination to kill on screen. As they stand there and shriek like harpies, Will, covered in blood, comes in and takes them to the lobby. As Karla and Nancy take off to find a first aid kit, Julie attends to Will's wounds, but… she can't find any. Okay, one of two things is going to happen here: either there's going to be another cheap scare, or there's going to be a really stupid plot twist. It's the latter as Will turns out to be the DJ that gave them the vacation, thereby setting them up for the most ridiculous, outlandish, expensive killing ever comitted to film. As he drags her back to the graveyard, Karla and Nancy find the first aid kit, and then find Estes, who has a halberd sticking through him. He falls on Nancy, pinning her, and Slickerman walks in and puts the weapon though Nancy as well, killing her. He knocks Karla through a bookcase.

Will is dragging Julie out to the graveyard, saying all the supposedly witty things that serial killers say when dragging a victim off to their death, as well as offering an explanation of why he's doing what he's doing, when he spouts off the dumbest line I have EVER heard, one that I just know the writer was patting himself on the back for being so clever as to come up with: when Julie asks why he's taking part in this, he says, "Come on, Julie, think about it! You'll get it! Will Benson! BEN'S SON…?"

Things like this make me think that, when you watch a movie like this, you should do it on a TV that's you're about to throw away. Because when I heard that line, it was everything I could do to keep from kicking the damn picture tube in.

At that moment, Ben shows up and starts the "time to die" speech, and Ray shows up, pointing the gun and making threats. After being told what a wuss he is, Ray pulls the trigger and the gun misfires. A little slap-and-tickle fight between Ray and Will takes place, and Ray gets his butt whupped. Will holds Ray for his father to kill, but as Ben rushes forward to impale him with his hook hand, Ray sucker punches Will and jumps out of the way so Will gets the hook in the chest, being killed by his father's hand, so to speak. How ironic. Ben goes apeshit and is about to impale Ray when Julie (remember her?) empties the pistol into Ben, who falls into the open grave meant for her. How ironic again.

It seems the rainy season in Jamaica only lasts one night, because the next morning, the sun is shining and the Coast Guard is picking up the survivors, including Karla. Dissolve to Julie and Ray, back in Southpoint, happily married. While Ray brushes his teeth (and proclaims his love for his new electric toothbrush), Julie goes around the house locking windows, missing the muddy bootprints on the floor. When she returns to her bed, she notices her teddy bear is rocking. Looking in the mirror against the door opposite, she sees Ben Willis hiding under the bed. She screams, he grabs her ankles, pulls her under the bed, and that's the end of the movie.

I understand they want to make more sequels to this film, but the guy that plays Ben, Muse Watson, is starting to get senile. Therefore, the next sequels are tentatively titled "I Vaguely Recall What You Did Last Summer", "You Look Really Familiar But I Can't Quite Place You… Didn't You Almost Kill Me Three Summers Ago?" and the last in the series, "Who Did What On The Where, Now?"


Other reviews for this movie:

Diane Squires




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