I’ll Always Know What You Did Last Summer comes to us for absolutely no reason at all. It was released in 2006, almost a decade after I Still Know What You Did Last Summer graced our screens. Its predecessor wasn’t exactly a big hit with audiences and critics, and the series up until this point was not all that memorable. I enjoyed both previous titles, but I seem to be in the minority. This film comes out as a largely unrelated installment, one whose title is meant just to hopefully milk the cash-cow one last time.
But the franchise was more or less dead. Sure, the previous two films made money, but if you leave any series for too long, they get forgotten. When a series doesn’t have much going for it anyway, attaching an almost entirely unrelated film to it won’t help its case. Release this new film direct-to-DVD, with almost no advertising or promotion, and your attempted cash grab will fail to bring in the money. The quality of the film is irrelevant at this point, because nobody will want to see your movie.
So we were given I’ll Always Know What You Did Last Summer a movie made just to make money. Did it get any? I’m really not sure. Did it deserve to make any? Not really. It’s a poorly made film that’s more or less a remake or re-imagining of the original, scattered with uninspired deaths, weak characters and a plot twist at the end that makes me want to disregard it as a part of the I Know franchise. In fact, that’s probably the best way to look at it: A bad film unrelated to anything else that already exists.
The plot of I’ll Always Know… starts out similarly to the first film. There are some teenagers, they mess around, someone gets killed, they decide not to say anything about it to anyone, and then one of them receives a message that freaks them all out. The message is sent anonymously, and reads: “I know what you did last summer.” Apparently the all-caps letter from the first film was too angry in tone for them to copy it directly. Or something. If you’re essentially remaking the first movie, why not copy as much as you can?
The person who sent this message is someone who we’ve learned to call “The Fisherman”. In the first two films, his goal was to kill the teenagers as part of a revenge plot. Here, it’s set-up that he’s punishing them for keeping this secret. Does he not have anything better to do? Anyway, a large portion of plot is spent trying to figure out who’s behind the slicker and galoshes. Is it a copycat, or the real thing back from the grave? It ultimately doesn’t matter, except that they butcher the character, which makes me dislike this movie even more.
What I liked about the first film was the fact that enough effort was put into the characters so that we cared that their lives were in peril. Love Hewitt’s Julie Jones may not have been the best acted or well-spoken character in the world, but at least we didn’t want to see her die. The characters in this film all have personalities too — it’s just too bad that they’re all carbon copies of the first film’s characters. They’re almost identical, but they don’t get the development, leaving us feeling cold when the fisherman shows up. And since, as is almost a tradition in slasher films, they’re annoying, there’s a good chance you’ll want to see them dead before the film concludes.
Speaking of the deaths, (this is a slasher film, after all), none of them are interesting. This series has never been known for incredibly clever death scenes, but this is the worst it has gotten. The fisherman has a hook. He uses that hook to slash to impale people. That’s about the extent of the death scenes, save for the final death of the movie that we don’t even get to see thanks to the camera being placed so that we don’t see that the character getting ripped to shreds is actually a dummy. (They let us see it earlier when someone gets hit by a car ans is clearly not a real person, but I digress).
The best way to look at this movie is as if it was the first film in a new series, and that any connections were simply “paying homage” to the first two films. The only real connection comes in the form of a scrapbook containing newspaper clippings that detail the events of the previous films. The characters look at this for almost no reason, except maybe to excite fans by mentioning much better movies. But how many fans of this series are there, and more importantly, how many care? Perhaps the most important question is: “Would they want to have their movies referenced in something as cheap and terrible as this?” I’ll tell you that I didn’t.
We were given I’ll Always Know What You Did Last Summer in an attempt to cash-in on an already dead franchise. The result is a sloppy, boring and pointless film that ruins the villain from the previous films. There’s nothing here that is any good, nor is there any reason to watch this movie. The best thing you can do is mentally remove it from the series’ continuity and just hope that nothing like it is ever made again.