Sequels can be hard to crack, with the villain defeated, the characters have evolved for the better, there’s usually nowhere else to go. You can try to escalate the conditions of the original film, but this can be a risky gamble. In 1998, it was decided to up the stakes by taking the survivors of the film on vacation, and in doing so manages to prove that not only that the franchise knows how to still scare an audience but, still knows what you did last summer.
One year later, Julie still being plagued by nightmares, is finding it hard to focus on her studies, and her relationship to fellow survivor Ray is taking a strain. However, her luck changes when she and three college friends Win a trip to the Bahamas, during the off-season, the new four find a case of bad weather on the nearly deserted island, but even the storm stranded tropical island is no place for peace and relaxation when an unexpected visitor who has some unfinished business.
With the reduction of the original cast, some new members had to be introduced. Julies new friend, Karla, is a welcome addition who is likeable and is a good voice of reason and encouragement, and her boyfriend played by Mekhi Phifer who is quick to paranoia once the body count rises helps introduce tension. We also get Will Benson, who encapsulates himself as a well-meaning but potential rival for Julie’s affection, Prinz and Gellar do return although one was just in a photograph. A young Jack Black plays a dreadlock wearing, pot-smoker called Titus, proving quite early on how comic relief was in Black’s wheelhouse early on. The soundtrack also returns on fine form, with an interesting cover of Blue Monday by Orgy and Getting Scared by Imogen Heap in doing so, introduces fun and familiarity to the proceedings.
I respect the franchise for moving itself to the Bahamas and managing to turn such an idyllic setting into something terrifying. The hotel they stay at evoked The Overlook in the 1996 adaptation of The Shining, with a wise old caretaker, who is adept a voodoo, this appears to be intentional. Because of certain plot elements, it reminded me of the murder mystery series Harper’s Island. With gratuitous kills on a remote island, piling up. A lot of potential is encapsulated with this film’s set up that I wish was exploited more.
I Still Know What You Did Last Summer manages to retain its ingenuity in the heart of change and still manages to recapture what made the original so engrossing, even if you had prior knowledge of the previous instalment it keeps you guessing, and more importantly amply entertained by the gruesome going downs of this holiday resort. No doubt about it, this film is a dream destination for slasher aficionados.
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