I'LL ALWAYS KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER
Director: Sylvain White
Year of release: 2006
Country of origin: USA
Running time: 92 minutes
DVD/Blu ray: DVD only
Tagline: "New summer, New secret, New slaughter" and "What he knows, might kill you...".
Casting the spotlight on the slasher genre
Story: In a small Colorado town a group of teenagers stage a prank at a carnival to coincide with the 4th of July celebrations. The stunt, inspired by the legend of Ben Willis involves one of the group running amok around the carnival grounds dressed as a fisherman whilst wielding a hook. In an unplanned turn of events things go awry when a young man who happens to be the Sheriffs son falls from a roof as a result of the horseplay which brings about his death. The kids who conceived and knew of the prank decide to keep quiet about their involvement out of fear of getting in trouble, instead letting the local police conclude that there really was a legitimate masked menaced and chase which led to the fall. The following year as July 4th approaches the individuals involved in the cover up begin receiving ominous signs that someone knows that they are partially responsible for the death the year before. As various suspects present themselves the kids try to puzzle out who is behind the warnings and indeed the black slicker of the fisherman like figure who later shows up to bring them to justice.
Good points: Although not featuring any returning actors from the first two films and taking place in a different location I liked how they did their best to make it feel like part of the franchise. They connected it pretty well I thought with the initial prank being based on the legend of Ben Willis, the fisherman costume and hook being the same, the July 4th holiday recurring, the newspaper clippings referencing events from the previous films and finally the hook having been obtained from the Bahamas. On top of this they also replicate a similar ending to what we’ve had previously where we are left with a bit of uncertainty as to who lives and dies. I’m not personally a fan of this type of ending but it stays true to what has gone before so it’s another attempt they made to link this one to the earlier films.
Quite a few possibilities are brought forward as to who the killer might turn out to be so they try and keep us guessing throughout. There are four main suspects with Lance, Sheriff Davies, Deputy Hefner and Roger all falling under suspicion in either our eyes or those of the characters at one point or another.
Though nothing too special there are some decent deaths on display here most notably those involving a forklift truck, something involving a woodchipper type piece of machinery and someone being pulled through a door window. We don’t see as much gore as I would like but the deaths are sometimes just about creative enough to warrant a mention for me as a positive.
The Colorado mountain town made for a nice picturesque setting. It perhaps wasn’t utilised to its fullest and I was left thinking they could have shown it off more than they did but on occasions such as the cable car area and the barn party the backdrop looked impressive.
Bad Points: I was slightly confused for the first half of the movie regarding whether or not Zoe and Amber were supposed to be in on the prank. Something happens later which makes it clear that they were but early on it isn’t as evident as it should be. Presumably with these two girls later confirmed as being a part of it the prank was staged to punk the other members of the initial group of six (one guy and two girls) who we didn’t see again after the opening segment. This was weird in itself as originally I assumed that these three who soon disappeared would be among the main characters. I think one of this disappearing trio, one of the girls, is actually featured on the cover art so maybe they were originally intended to have a bigger role before changes were made to the script.
The characters aren’t all that likeable with final girl Amber not coming across as the typical nice and somewhat innocent type we’ve come to expect but instead she seemed kind of bratty and mildly unpleasant at least in the early scenes at the carnival. I suppose you could say she is interesting for bucking the trend however and it was always going to be difficult for someone to fill the popular Jenifer Love Hewitt’s shoes. Small spoiler: Lance in his role of the Freddie Prinze Jr type also came across a little bit creepy to me in the beginning but that was kind of a side effect of presenting him as a red herring so I shouldn’t be too critical. Things certainly would have benefited though from more likeable characters.
As usual I can pick out a couple of unrealistic bits but these aren’t as bad as the things I normally highlight. Firstly I thought it was a bit unrealistic that Colby went for a swim on his own at night after he had received a warning and even more so later when he went off on his own again at the talent show this time when he was extra vulnerable on crutches. Secondly I don’t think Zoe would have been on her own backstage after performing her song (later to be joined by Amber and Lance granted). Seeing that there was a female member in Zoe’s band though you would have thought the band mate would have been present before Amber and Lance showed up.
Verdict: Going in to this I was preparing myself for the worst with this featuring a new cast and being so far removed in release date from the previous films as well as generally receiving a poor response critically. I found myself liking it a lot more than I anticipated however and in fact I actually found it to be superior for me than the second outing. I appreciated that they tried hard to link this with the earlier films with little references cropping up here and there. I think many perhaps dislike the ending with the supernatural elements it throws up but lack of a definitive conclusion aside I didn’t mind the ending and I actually liked how it was another attempt at forging a link with what had gone before. Overall this was a pleasant surprise and a solid way to continue the story/theme and turn things into a trilogy.
Bodycount (contains major spoilers):
1)P.J: Falls from a roof on his skateboard and is impaled on some kind of machinery.
2)Roger: Throat slit with hook after he had started to cut his own wrists. The police assumed suicide.
3)Zoe: Stabbed in the stomach with hook and then thrown off a balcony.
4)Sheriff Davies: Stabbed in the back/attacked from behind and pulled into the shadows.
5)Colby: Hooked in the face and pulled through a door window. Corpse later found in what I think was a dumpster.
6)Deputy Hafner: Injured with hook and then impaled on a forklift truck arm.
7)Undead Ben Willis: Hook buried in head and then shoved into a wood chipper type piece of machinery.
I’m going to count Ben’s demise as an official death as I think the closing scene in Nevada with Amber may have been a dream similar to what was seen at the end of the first film.