I’ll Always Know What You Did Last Summer (2006) Review

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I’LL ALWAYS KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER

** ½ Out of 5

Tagline- What He Knows Might Kill You

Release Date- August 22nd, 2006

Running Time- 92-Minutes

Rating- R

Screenplay- Michael Weiss

Director- Sylvain White

Starring- Brooke Nevin, David Paetkau, Torrey DeVitto, Ben Easter

When the original film was released in 1997 it was part of the revival of the slasher film, which started with Scream in 1996 with both films being written by Kevin Williamson. In the horror genre if your film is successful its almost a given a sequel will be made and while the original film was a box office hit the sequel I Still Know What You Did Last Summer was a moderate hit and while it opened strong and turned a profit the box office gross was down quite a bit from the original. However somebody decided it would be a good idea for a 3rd film, but rather than a theatrical release it was made for the DTV market. By the time I’ll Always Know What You Did Last Summer came out it was 8-years since the 2nd film and the slasher film wasn’t nearly as profitable, but there was still a market for these films. If you’ve seen the first film than you’ve pretty much seen the 3rd film as well. While most slasher sequels were nothing more than a rehash of the original film they also in some cases had their own style, but this series the idea isn’t quite strong enough for a franchise and while I did enjoy I Still Know it was far inferior to the original even if a fairly fun watch. But I’ll Always Know is a very tired act and the formula was stale and the makers of this fail to inject any new life into the series and I’ll Always Know is pretty much a remake of the original in sequel form.

After a 4th of July prank goes wrong, which results in the death of their friend, a few teenagers make a vow to keep what happened a secret. However 1-year later they begins to receive various messages that somebody knows their secret and is out to make them pay.

The screenplay was written by Michael Weiss who also wrote Butterfly Effect 2, Journey to the Center of the Earth and Hostel III. The script by Weiss is a rewrite of the original as its nearly identical in structure and characters are basically the same with minor changes, however the script lacks the sharp and clever writing Kevin Williamson brought to the original. The one idea I did like however is the Fisherman has become an urban legend of sorts, which to me was an interesting touch. Part of the urban legend is the Fisherman stalks and kills guilty teenagers, which is only sort if true as in the first two he also killed adults and even people that had zero connection to him. I suppose this can be seen as a spoiler so you’ve been warned, but I really don’t think it matters. While there’s no shortage of suspects its implied the killer is Ben Willis from the first two films only now he kind of looks like a zombie when we see his face. Weiss turns him into another Jason Voorhees type character. Even though I enjoyed the first two my only issue is I could never accept Ben Willis as this indestructible killer. Characters such as Jason and Michael Myers aren’t really given much character development until later in the franchises so its easy to accept them as un-killable and characters such as Freddy and Candyman are already established as supernatural right from the start. Ben Willis is humanized too much for me to accept him as a killer that just won’t die however with that said the ending of I Still Know could be seen as a dream sequence much like the ending to the original its the one last scare before credits so I guess he isn’t exactly indestructible. The Fisherman is given no backstory this time around of any kind (though he already had a backstory in the first two, but nothing is added and outside of a couple of mentions of the first two films this is its own film) and he also has no dialogue and while again its implied its Ben Willis its never actually stated as fact so regardless since the Fisherman has no real depth to him this time around I could sort of accept him as a supernatural figure to some degree, but going back to him being humanized in the first two it also makes the fact he’s a walking corpse a bit absurd. The script again is a rewrite of the original and lacks any originality and while the same could be said for I Still Know it at least offered up something a little different. The script is quite subpar and while passable to some degree its hindered by being again a rewrite of the original, but lacks everything that made Kevin Williamson’s script so successful.

Like how the script follows the same exact structure of the original film the same can be said about the direction by Sylvain White. There are as mentioned plenty of sequels that rehash the original film. I Still Know did just that though it also had its own style. Friday the 13th Part 2 is pretty much the same exact film as the original even at times being shot for shot. Whereas it worked fine in those two films in rehashing the originals it didn’t here as again the formula for this franchise was quite tired and White never really injects anything new in the film. The direction isn’t bad, but does lack the energy often found in these films and the suspense and scares are very much slasher filmmaking 101. After a decent start I’ll Always Know does get sluggishly paced through the bulk of the middle as again like the original most of the action is confined to the final act and in IKWYDLS that worked fine as it was a solidly directed and written film, but the same can’t be said here. White does fair better with the final act as there’s a little bit of excitement, but its brought down by again being slasher filmmaking 101 and even after the action kicks in it does get a bit tiresome. What really in the end more than anything that sort of sinks the film is the atrocious editing, which attempts at being flashy, but it comes across as quite cheap and lame. Whatever happened to simple editing techniques? Sometimes simplicity is the best way to go. I have no idea if Sylvain White wanted the film to be edited the way it was or if it was the editor, but the editing here is terrible and while even with better editing I’ll Always Know wouldn’t be a great film, but perhaps a little more could have been made out of it.

The acting is a bit subpar outside of the main actors and they manage to make a little more out of the material than there actually was. Brooke Nevin as Amber is basically the new Julie. Nevin is quite attractive and a fairly decent actress as well, but the only thing that hinders her performances is she’s a total clone of Julie though none of this is the fault of Brooke Nevin. Don Shanks who played the Fisherman is better known for his stunt work, which he also has a credit here, but Don Shanks also appeared briefly in the 1984 cult classic Silent Night, Deadly Night (and also did stunt work on the film), but he’s probably best known to horror fans for playing Michael Myers in Halloween 5.

I’ll Always Know What You Did Last Summer isn’t a terrible film, but it just isn’t very good either. And while my review sounds mostly negative and my rating quite low I didn’t hate the film and once every few years I’ll revisit (than quickly remember why I wait a few years). This was by far the weakest of the 3 and the film just follows the original film way too much. While the cast is fairly decent and Brooke Nevin a likable lead unless you absolutely love the first two films I’d say this is a skipper. The ending was left off for a 4th film, which thankfully hasn’t happened.

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