Tuesday, April 19, 2011

I Still Know What I Did This Summer...

...I still continued watching this series' drastic decline into complete disinterest. The faint acclaim for the first entry has vanished into ghostly whispers only Jennifer Love Hewitt's cleavage could decipher.

Things I Still Know
(and will always know) from
I Still Know What You Did Last Summer:

(Warning: Contains SPOILERS of a film already riddled with cliche.)

1) Alternate title: "I Know What Your First Movie Did at the Box Office Last Summer."

2) "Two summers ago we lied to the authorities. We hit Ben Willis with our car and then threw his body into the water to cover it up. Only he didn't die. He killed Barry and Helen last July 4th. And I swear to god, I thought Ray and I had killed him, but we didn't," sums up survivor Julie James (Jennifer Love Hewitt), saving me that pesky recap.

3) Misty bloodsoaked memories as Julie mourns the deaths of friends Helen (Sarah Michelle Gellar) and Barry (Ryan Phillippe) over bedside production stills, taken on the same day as their untimely deaths.

4) If there's one place you never expect to see a killer fisherman, it's a Catholic confessional... Or a trendy night club... Or a high-priced resort hotel... Or a karaoke bar...

Props to the writers for trying to concoct new places for their killer to cause chaos. Pity to the writers for everything they eventually came up with.

5) The oddball inciting incident stems entirely from our lead characters' blank spot regarding world geography. The diabolically daft plot begins when Julie and new replacement friend Karla (Brandy's feature debut) win all-expense-paid tickets to a posh resort in the Bahamas through a suspicious radio DJ. All they have to do is answer the question, "What is the capital of Brazil?" Stumped and squealing, the two teens look to their only connection to South America... Coffee grinds. Good old reliable coffee packaging will tell you it's Rio de Janeiro. A map would tell you it's Brasilia. Julie's excuse is that her guilt has left her sleep-deprived and unable to focus or study. The writers excuse is perhaps much the same.

6) Needless Fodder Celebrity Cameos!

Left: John Hawkes once floundering.
(A wisely) Blazed Jack Black.

7) As Karla calls it, "One single with extra cheese." Julie sings karaoke to Gloria Gaynor's "I Will Survive," for all the easy irony and a chance to further promote Jennifer Love Hewitt's short-lived singing career. (Her debut single "How Do I Deal?" is featured on the film's soundtrack, for less easy irony.) The killer also took the time to specially program the karaoke system to cruelly taunt Julie, making her look crazy, and very possibly fucking up her vocals.

8) Their only hopes for survival outside of Gloria Gaynor? Toothbrush voodoo! Thanks, menacing islander! He'll protect your spirit and your smile.

9) The killer turns out to be trusty friend Will Benson (with the aid of fisherman father, Ben Willis) who takes his time earning Julie's good will under a weirdly literal pseudonym. Will is Ben Willis's son, hence the name Will Benson. They take years of planning for everything else and that's the best they could come up with?

Where there's a Will, there's a way! Will enrolls in Julie's college, follows her class schedule, devotedly works his way into her core group of friends, books an expensive resort stay for the clique (plus airfare), just so he can reveal his motives and work in some murder after dipping in the private jacuzzi. Will (Matthew Settle) also somehow convinced the Tower Bay tourism board to let them stay completely solo during their (confusingly week long) storm season. Tower Bay Resort of the Bahamas promotes sun, sand, and elaborately nonsensical murder sprees! It's like Clue... if nobody had one. Or Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None, if she'd put hook to paper instead of pen.

10) For all that elaborate production and pre-planning, Will and Ben then try to quickly off Julie by snap-tying her into a tanning bed. Julie does finally get free, but not before her friends' profound struggle with the concept of a snap-tie. The killers will eventually see to their vengeance though -- in Julie's imminent skin damage twenty years from now.

11) Ben Willis (Muse Watson) and brood apparently took to the islands because he was once employed by the remote resort, and there's even talk of an illicit affair that caused him to snap into murderous psychosis. Still nice to know that Tower Bay welcomes him with open arms. He prepares for Julie a marked grave, now less legible given that he's been missing a limb since the first film.

Stumbling upon it, Julie asks, "What's today's date?," already having known and grieved the entire film that it was July 4th, the anniversary of the sole event that destroyed her life.

12) Will's exclamation/reveal -- "Come on, Julie, what's your favorite radio station?!" -- has less echoes of menace than of Jim Carrey as Fire Marshall Bill.

13) A ravaged Ray (Freddie Prinze Jr. reprising as Julie's brooding boyfriend) flees to the Bahamas to rescue Julie and arrives just in the nick of time, during an intense tropical storm, in the exact location of her near gutting by Ben's hook. Held at gunpoint, even Ben takes to poking fun at Freddie Prinze Jr., "What're you gonna do, boy? Call us names?"

14) Ben accidentally butchers his own boy before Julie puts their harsh two-year history to rest. Final rest... Or at least until the cheap tag that closes the film wherein Ben just appears beneath Julie's bed, rendering the rest of the finale completely pointless. But not before Julie shares final words with Ben and the sentiments of the audience...


Up Next: I'll Always Know...
why this sequel went directly to DVD.


Justin said...

That was pretty good. As utterly ridiculous as the whole affair is, I Still Know has always been a guilty pleasure of mine. Or at least it use to be, I haven't revisited it in near a decade. Also, I always kinda had a soft spot for John Frizzell's addition of wails and screams to the film score, kinda Suspiria-lite.

Adam said...

Completely enjoyable in all its absurdity, which is all I could hope for. And you're totally right about Frizzell's music. It's a stirring score and gives more mood to the movie than it probably deserves. As much as I mock this, I've sat through this film more than many with actual substance.

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