I Still Know What You Did Last Summer (1998)

GENERAL INFO:
Director:  Danny Cannon
Studios:  Mandalay Entertainment
Starring:  Jennifer Love Hewitt, Freddie Prinze Jr., Brandy, Mekhi Phifer, Matthew Settle; ft. Bill Cobbs, Jack Black
Tagline:  Someone is dying for a second chance.
MPAA Rating:  R
Genre:  horror, thriller, sequel, mystery, slasher, stalker, serial killer, teen
Scare score:  C-
Rating:  C


 Plot overview:  One year after the events of the first movie, Julie (Love Hewitt) is readjusting to a normal life at college, in part due to her roommate Karla (Brandy), Karla's boyfriend Tyrell (Phifer), and a possible new love interest, Will (Settle).  After Karla wins an all-expenses-paid getaway to the Bahamas, things seem like they might finally be going right.  Unfortunately for them, killer Ben Willis (Muse Watson) is back, and with hurricane season in full force, the new group of four is trapped on the island with Ben swiftly killing off anyone who gets in his way.  Will Ray (Prinze) get there in time to save Julie yet again, and in the meantime can the four friends stay safe, even from each other?

This sequel isn't as good as the first film (few sequels ever are).  We are taken away from little old South Port and placed in the "Bahamas," where most of the film's terror takes place within a winding hotel resort.  I don't have tons to say, so I am going to keep this one quick.

The script is much better this time around.  The characters feel much more real and comfortable when they talk, and you totally get into that sassy, college vibe and slang (thanks, Brandy).  While the lines themselves might have been better, however, that doesn't mean that delivery really changed.  I guess in the horror genre we have generally accepted that the acting is never going to be great, especially in dumb teen horrors, but it was still a disappointment.

Casting in this movie is almost about as mythical as in the last one.  Love Hewitt is back, and brooding and negative as ever, so I am more than thankful for Brandy's upbeat, lively, lighthearted performance.  I mean, what college girl who is still suffering from the trauma of seeing her best friends murdered and potentially having murdered someone doesn't need a perky best friend and roommate, you know?  Unfortunately, this sequel's attempt to make the cast not-so-white results in two over-the-top caricatures in our core four, obviously with Mekhi Phifer being the biggest example.  I am a big fan of Bill Cobbs in a few of his roles, and while he spends most of his time in this movie as a mysterious, mumbling red herring, I still appreciated his presence.  Lastly, I mean, Jack Black.  Nuff said.

A few issues with the plot and action itself.  First of all, everyone reacts way too calmly to the many deaths of this movie.  We are dealing with ignorant college students, they should not see bloody dead bodies and be like "Jinkies!  Let's get out of here."  No.  They should be terrified and sick because of it.  The constant mindset of finding another corpse, then running away back into the hotel until they surely find another one gets real old real fast.

My biggest problems are about our dear old friend Ben.  The killer has completely changed his MO in this movie.  Yes, he wants Julie (and Ray) dead, and yes, he kills anyone who gets in his way.  Still, he kills far more frequently and even randomly in this movie.  From the beginning of the film, workers on the island begin dropping like flies simply for the sake of being around.  Left and right we have someone getting slashed, and it remains clear that it is for audience enjoyment rather than for the sake of integrity to the horror movie itself.  Furthermore, he is much less human this time around.  Whereas in the first film he was this scary and seemingly unstoppable, but very human, figure, in this movie he seems almost like Michael Meyers by his slow way of walking and ceaseless stalking.  Also, his voice is just so weird and forced in this installment, I can't handle it.  Do less, Ben.

Final critique:  I mean, no, this isn't a great movie.  But that doesn't mean it's not a decent, fun movie to watch when you're in the mood for some light horror.  The first one is certainly better, but this is not a bad choice for a lazy night at home when you're looking to get just a little creeped out by a group of dumb teens trapped on a stormy island as a stalker with a meat hook begins slashing everybody's throats.  Plus, with an awesome Titanic reference pretty early on, who could turn this awkward, forced sequel down?