Sequels usually don’t measure up to the movies they follow, but I Still Know What You Did Last Summer (Columbia Pictures) comes close to surpassing the original.
The original film focuses on the ordeal of four friends who recently graduated from high school. They are celebrating the Fourth of July when their car hits a stranger. Instead of reporting the incident to the police, they throw the body into the sea. A year later, someone who knows what they did last summer is stalking the group of friends. The stranger is alive and back for revenge, killing everyone in his path.
The sequel takes off where the original movie ends. Julie James (Jennifer Love Hewitt, “Party of Five) is in college and continues to be haunted by the nightmares of her past. Although she tries to move on with her life, she cannot forget the previous summer’s terrifying events.
When her college roommate Karla (Brandy, “Moesha”) wins a free trip to the Bahamas from a radio show, the girls and their boyfriends set out on their dream vacation. The trip appears to be the perfect opportunity for Julie to escape and forget the past.
But things take another wrong turn. A string of murders erupts on the island. Someone still knows what Julie did last summer and has returned for revenge. A tropical storm traps Julie and her friends on the island where dead bodies are amassing.
In recent years, teen horror flicks have had a rebirth. I Still Know What You Did Last Summer follows the formula of the genre. The film, however, keeps the audience’s interest and becomes more entertaining than the original movie. The additions of Brandy and Mekhi Phifer (Soul Food) improve the cast. They give dynamic performances and add humorous bits to the movie.
Hewitt’s on-screen presence engages audiences and she develops a visible chemistry with Brandy, allowing the audience easily to see them as best friends.
The movie’s tropical island setting is a definite plus. Furthermore, the image of the island changes from beautiful to frightful when the terrors begin. In the beginning, the island is paradise. But when the murders start, the island begins to resemble a prison where escape is impossible.
Although the movie has a few frightening moments, it succumbs to the clich?s of horror films. Instead of using the door to escape, characters choose to run upstairs. Although murders are occurring all over the island, they still walk alone at night and wander into mysterious vacant rooms. The list could go on.
The plot does have some twists, as well as a surprising ending. The end makes it clear that a third film in the series could be in the works.
I Still Know What You Did Last Summer is not a movie that should be taken seriously. It’s a product of the revival of slasher movies and it’s a good one. I Still Know What You Did Last Summer gives the audience what it expects – countless dead bodies and a lot of fun.
I Still Know What You Did Last Summer opens Friday.