movie film review | chris tookey

I Still Know What You Did Last Summer

  I Still Know What You Did Last Summer Review
Tookey's Rating
2 /10
Average Rating
3.00 /10
Julie James: Jennifer Love Hewitt, Ray Bronson: Freddie Prinze Jr., Karla Wilson: Brandy
Full Cast >

Directed by: Danny Cannon
Written by: Trey Callaway

Released: 1998
Origin: US
Colour: c
Length: 101

Jennifer Love Hewitt (pictured) stars as a college student haunted by nightmares of the previous summer, when most of her best girl-friends were crammed into horribly tight tee-shirts, before being slashed to ribbons by a psychotic fisherman in revenge for something they had done the summer before.
Reviewed by Chris Tookey

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If you were going to be pedantic, you might criticise the film-makers for not calling this movie I Still Know What You Did The Summer Before Last. A more telling criticism is that it isn't very scary, and the plot doesn't make sense. People are slashed to pieces for no reason other than to quench - or, more likely, heighten - the audience's blood-lust.

Trey Callaway's script has none of the ingenuity of Kevin Williamson's Scream movies, and no one behaves in a manner that is remotely lifelike. You might imagine that the heroine's best friend Karla (played by R and B singer Brandy) would know that she has been having nightmares for two years and is jumpy on the anniversary of her friends' filleting, but no - Karla chooses this of all nights to sneak in under cover of darkness, scuttle about, make scary noises and hide in the wardrobe, just in order to borrow a dress.

British director Danny Cannon directs the butchery with all the skill of John Prescott at Prime Minister's Question Time, and seems less interested in generating suspense than ogling his leading lady's breasts. These are, admittedly, cute but don't compensate for her near-total lack of acting ability.

Such films stand or fall by their villains, and Ben Willis the fisherman is one of the most risible mass-killers of recent memory. Like Michael Myers in the Halloween movies, he never breaks into a trot, even when it is clearly in his interests to do so. Even more improbably, he has sprouted descendants and boundless funds since the first movie. Somehow, he hardly ever attracts the attention of anyone but the heroine, even when he decides to wear oilskins to a disco.

The ending leaves open the truly frightening possibility of another sequel.


A mildly enjoyable, but thoroughly derivative echo of the original. The only minor difference here will probably be of interest only to younger male viewers - Hewitt's notable cleavage plays a more prominent role than in the first film, and she does a great job in keeping her shirt unbuttoned just so, given the sinister situation at hand. Otherwise, it's bloodstained business as usual, with the expected component of unsurprising surprises, false false-alarms, fake endings and bad puns passing for bad jokes.

(Leigh Paatsch, Australian)


Dispenses with the complexity of plot and psychological motivation that made the original intriguing and involving, opting instead for the kind of body count mentality that gave slasher films a bad name in the '80s... The script doesn't allow us to care what happens to anyone.

(Michael Wilmington, Washington Post)

The movie's R rating mentions ‘intense terror violence and gore,’ but only its publicity team could consider it intense or terrifying. Gore it has... It contains no characters of any interest, no dialogue worth hearing, no originality of conception, no ambition other than to pocket the dollars of anyone unlucky enough to go to a movie named I Still Know What You Did Last Summer. When a movie begins, I imagine an empty room in my mind that is about to be filled. This movie left the room furnished only with dust and a few dead flies.

(Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times)

It's hard to not know what will happen in I Still Know What You Did Last Summer, given that it's a slasher sequel. Teens are stalked by a monstrous fisherman with a gigantor-hook. It rains. Bloody bodies accumulate. Victims-to-be scream and run, fall down in the mud and trip over furniture... The movie soon abandons its nascent psychological explorations for formulaic body pile-up.

(Cindy Fuchs, Philadelphia City Paper)

Jennifer Love Hewitt is a very good-looking young leading lady; however, unlike Neve Campbell, Hewitt struggles with acting. She just isn't convincing in this film (and she wasn't in the original either). This puts many young males, including myself, in a paradoxical quandary: she's very attractive, but the annoying, spoiled, Valley Girl-type character she tries to play here is annoying to the extreme and ruins many of the scenes which emphasize, exploitatively, her figure. Add to the mix the equally pleasant yet irritating Brandy, another rising teen TV star, and you get one frustrated male audience.

(Justin Felix, The Shrubbery Movie reviews)

The killer's techniques are more elaborate this time around. He expands his arsenal of weapons to include tanning beds and gardening shears, and instead of sending all his messages to Julie via neatly handwritten notes he also types threats up on karaoke machines. The effect isn't particularly scary - this is simply a serial killer with entirely too much time on his hands... Most of the characters die, some don't, and the whodunit plot wraps up with a resolution that manages somehow to be neither surprising nor plausible. The whole thing's pretty deadening, and the cast doesn't do much to help.

(Eric Pfeffinger, Herald-Times)

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