Review: I STILL KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER (1998)

A throwaway sequel if there ever was one, 1998’s I STILL KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER attempts to contend with some of the guilt that carries over from the 1997 original but finds little down the line. Directed by Danny Cannon, who helmed 1995’s JUDGE DREDD, this slasher picture isn’t a travesty but it’s not memorable. It follows the formula of its predecessor pretty well and features enough of those good old workable parts, but something’s missing.

Jennifer Love Hewitt is back as Julie James and she’s haunted by the events of I KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER. She doesn’t want to return home, so she’s hanging out at college in Boston. After a friend (Brandy) wins a vacation to the Bahamas, Julie invites her boyfriend Ray (Freddie Prinze, Jr.). She’s upset when he declines in order to serve a plot twist. Two other dudes (Mekhi Phifer and Matthew Settle) go with the two girls and the party’s on, at least until Julie starts freaking out and people start turning up dead.

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Hewitt is a good screamer, capable of hitting these little shrieks that staccato their way through the floorboards. She’s also featured on the soundtrack, with her song “How Do I Deal” showing up briefly. She’s not exactly the Monica to Brandy’s character, however, and there is a distinct lack of chemistry between the two leads. The longwinded path Ray takes to get to the proceedings is likewise lacking in tension.

Atmosphere is supposed to matter in I STILL KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER and that’s why the Bahamas resort is staffed by a series of weirdos. There’s also a hurricane approaching, which explains the lack of other guests. Imagining the possibilities is frustrating: try a pillaging teenager-addicted monstrosity stalking through a fully-stocked resort in search of prey, including a springy Hewitt. Sadly, the potential is lost along with Jack Black’s dignity and this lukewarm movie just fades away.

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