I’ll tell you one thing I did 17 summers ago: I reviewed the straight to video sequel I’LL ALWAYS KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER (2006) for the Ain’t It Cool News, a popular movie websight of its time. So you could read that review if you want a young man’s perspective on the DTV finale to the I KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER trilogy. It was a funnier review than this one will be. But now I’m all those summers wiser, I come to these things more prepared and with the advantage of chronological distance. This is my first time watching and writing about the three movies back to back – important summer holiday horror scholarship.
The first part of this series had a quick turnaround – part 2 came only 13 months after the first one. But it didn’t do as well, so they struggled to figure out a followup, and it took them 8 years to settle on what they did here. There are no returning cast members, but then again, they might not have wanted them. Outside of the SCREAM series you didn’t usually see the good guys return in a horror sequel, especially if they were no longer teenagers. So for this one they made up a new set of characters to go through similar events, this time in the sunny farm town of Broken Ridge, Colorado. (Actually filmed in Utah.)
The way it connects is that some teens (who as you can see at left kinda look like 21 Jump Street cops dressed to go undercover as teens) are telling the story of the psycho fisherman who killed some kids with a hook for running him over and now every 4th of July he haunts kids who keep secrets. They’re walking around a carnival together and suddenly, holy shit, there’s the Fisherman! He jumps out and starts attacking them with his hook. A guy named P.J. (Clayton Taylor, ICE SPIDERS) gets on a skateboard and skateboards away like a skateboarder. Funny stuff. He ends up on a roof having a hook vs. skateboard sword fight with the Fisherman while a crowd watches from below like it’s a stunt show. Then he rides his board down the roof, jumps off and does an awesome trick in the air. Shoulda got a screengrab. You would love it.
If it seems too good to be true that the ghost or whatever of the Fisherman just appears at the carnival after they talk about him, that’s because it is – they’re playing a prank. They meet outside and laugh about it with the unmasked Fisherman, their friend Roger (Seth Packard, writer/director/star of something called HOTTIEBOOMBALOTTIE). He brags that he’s using the real Fisherman’s hook, which he got on eBay for $39. Whether or not that includes shipping it will turn out to be a great bargain.
But wait a minute – where’s their skater friend P.J.? They’re horrified to find that somebody moved the mattresses they set up for him to land on, parked a tractor there, and he got impaled on it. So they burn the costume, throw the hook in the water and don’t admit it was a prank. That’s their horrible secret.
The new version of Julie is Amber (Brooke Nevin, ON THE TWELFTH DAY OF CHRISTMAS, JOURNEY BACK TO CHRISTMAS, THE CHRISTMAS CURE, JINGLE AROUND THE CLOCK, CRASHING THROUGH THE SNOW, IT TAKES A CHRISTMAS VILLAGE), who returns to town one year later, just in time to break up with her macho lifeguard boyfriend Colby (David Paetkau, DISTURBING BEHAVIOR, SLAP SHOT 2: BREAKING THE ICE, ALIENS VS. PREDATOR: REQUIEM). In my original review I called Colby “the beefy Anthony Michael Hall-looking jock guy,” which I did notice this time, but I also thought of him as Biff from BACK TO THE FUTURE. Nothing against the guy but he looks like he should be playing the racist National Guardsman boyfriend in a coming of age drama set in the turbulent ’60s.
Then Amber receives 50 text messages saying “I KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER,” and you know the drill. The friends reunite, they disagree about how seriously to take the threats, then start to get hooked by somebody dressed as the Fisherman. Possible suspects include PJ’s dad Sheriff Davis (Michael Flynn, not the traitor/QAnon kook Trump fired then pardoned, but the actor who was in HALLOWEEN 4, IT NEARLY WASN’T CHRISTMAS, 12 DOGS OF CHRISTMAS: GREAT PUPPY RESCUE, THE CHRISTMAS DRAGON, CHRISTMAS LAND, and Seagal’s CODE OF HONOR), his cousin Lance (Ben Easter, HUSK) who seems to have a thing for Amber, and Deputy Hafner (KC Clyde, FIRESTARTER 2: REKINDLED, CHRISTMAS ANGEL, A GOLDEN CHRISTMAS, A CHRISTMAS WISH, 3 HOLIDAY TAILS), who says things that imply he knows something.
What’s really funny to me about this movie is that they put way more effort into setting up red herrings than the original movie did but (as I SPOILER WARNINGed the shit out of in that old review) the killer turns out to be a zombified version of Ben Willis really haunting kids who keep secrets, just like they claimed in their fake story at the beginning. He’s now played by the film’s stunt coordinator Don Shanks, a veteran stuntman and actor known for playing Grizzly Adams’ buddy Nakoma (he’s of Cherokee and Illini heritage). He was also in SWEET SIXTEEN, REVENGE OF THE NINJA, URBAN LEGENDS: BLOODY MARY and of course HALLOWEEN 5: THE REVENGE OF MICHAEL MYERS, where he plays both Michael Myers and The Man in Black.
By the way, Watson wasn’t impressed that they made another one without him, if this was really him posting in the talkback to my original review:
The recast Fisherman’s killings are pretty bloody, but mostly unmemorable. I enjoyed when he impaled a guy on a forklift, which it turns out I also mentioned in the first review. I like the location of the ski lift (sorry about for some reason calling those “gondolas” last time) but maybe it wasn’t worth doing since they weren’t able to have any stunts on the actual lift, just fighting at the top. And I still feel the Avid Farts in the opening credits mar the creepiness of the empty lift creaking in the wind.
To the extent that this follows the template of the first film, Zoe (Torrey DeVitto, BEST CHRISTMAS PARTY EVER, WRITE BEFORE CHRISTMAS, THE CHRISTMAS PROMISE, TWAS THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS) is the equivalent to Sarah Michelle Gellar’s character Helen. So they must’ve thought “What can she be instead of a beauty queen? I know – A TOUGH ROCK ‘N ROLLER CHICK!” She convinces them to hold off on fleeing town long enough for her band to play a song at a showcase for some big agents. She’s the one who dies right after saying not to worry, nothing is gonna happen in the next two minutes.
To me the biggest and most obscure mystery about this movie (besides who the fuck moved the mattresses) is why I have no memory of, and did not mention in my review, the part where Zoe’s band is practicing in the garage and “their” song is actually a recording by a band I love. They’re fake jamming out on the introduction to Weapon of Choice’s “U Owe It To You,” but get interrupted and stop right before the vocals, since you would never believe the voice of Meganut coming out of Zoe.
You may remember me mentioning Weapon of Choice before because Macy Gray sings their song “Nutty Nutmeg Phantasy” in the first SPIDER-MAN. I hope they’re still getting SPIDER-MAN and I’LL ALWAYS KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER residuals.
Roger is the first character in one of these to feel so guilty about the original death that he contemplates suicide. In fact, he plans to slit his wrists using his famous murder collectable hook. But he hears a noise, goes to investigate, and gets murdered. They find his suicide note and assume he killed himself, which isn’t that different from the truth since he would’ve if the Fisherman hadn’t interrupted him.
But he’s a hero, because later the hook seems to be the only thing that can hurt the Fisherman. They try running him over first, but of course he can survive getting run over – that’s how he got into the hook game in the first place! So it’s very lucky because if Roger hadn’t bought that morbid trophy from whichever sick fuck sold it Amber would’ve had to track down its current owner. Even if it was a “Buy it now” on Ebay she’d have to wait around for it to be shipped and everything. Would’ve been a nightmare.
Trilogy continuity issues: I couldn’t help but notice that the undead Fisherman still has his two original hands and holds the hook with one of them. In part 2 he had an actual hook hand, but this isn’t simply ignoring part 2, because his hand got ripped off at the end of part 1. So I think we have to assume this is kind of like Force Ghosts. No matter which version of RETURN OF THE JEDI you watch, Anakin’s Force Ghost has regained all the limbs he lost in life.
We also know part 2 is still canon because there’s a research scene where they read about the events of both movies. The real puzzle is that an article about the killings in the Bahamas is headlined “4 teenagers killed.” But which 4 teenagers? We know Tyrell and Will were killed, and Karla was not. It must mean the last scene wasn’t a dream and Julie and Ray were both killed, but that took place some time later after they got married, so how could it be in the article about what happened in the Bahamas? I guess we could imagine Darick the dockhand and Titus the Jack Black character were teens. But isn’t it fucked up that the article doesn’t consider Olga, Mr. Brooks, Estes or Nancy’s deaths (let alone Dave back home) worth including in the count? Or are we assuming the bodies weren’t found and nobody reported them missing?
This also forces me to rethink some things about part I STILL. If the Fisherman can figure out how to mass text message people even after death maybe I shouldn’t have assumed his son had to be the one to reprogram the karaoke machine. That was unfair. On the other hand, I wouldn’t rule out that his son is also undead and helping out with tech support off screen.
It would’ve been exciting if I came back to this and realized I hadn’t given it a fair shot, that it’s actually something special. Unfortunately I believe I appropriately judged which parts were okay and which parts were entertainingly silly and that it wasn’t enough to make it very good. But I will say this for it: it has the feel of an indie horror movie. The Utah shooting locations are unique, the bands on the soundtrack are scrappier, and most importantly it has a nice, grainy film look. I’m a sucker for that. Director of photography Stephen M. Katz shot MESSIAH OF EVIL, THE BLUES BROTHERS and GODS AND MONSTERS. But also BABY GENIUSES.
To me the high-for-horror production value were part of the appeal of the series, but if you bristled at the slickness and big name casts you might appreciate that I’LL ALWAYS KNOW is different. And I definitely prefer this sort of rawness to the generic Vancouverness of most unsolicited DTV sequels. (WARGAMES: THE DEAD CODE, etc.)
I’LL ALWAYS KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER is the second film by director Sylvain White, and also his second DTV part 3, since his debut was TROIS 3: THE ESCORT (2004). On that he was credited as “Skav One.” White came on two weeks before filming when original director Damon Santostefano (THREE TO TANGO, BRING IT ON: AGAIN) was fired. Shortly after this his movie STOMP THE YARD (2007) was a huge hit, leading to THE LOSERS, which I know some of you liked. (It didn’t register much with me, but maybe I should revisit.) He returned to small town teenager horror with 2018’s SLENDER MAN.
Screenwriter Michael D. Weiss actually started with a Tobe Hooper movie (CROCODILE), and his first DTV sequel is a minor classic of the form, Isaac Florentine’s U.S. SEALS II. He also did THE BUTTERFLY EFFECT 2, THE SCORPION KING 4: QUEST FOR POWER, JARHEAD 3: THE SIEGE and ERASER: REBORN, but my favorite by him may be HOSTEL: PART III.
p.s. According to Wikipedia, other 2006 DTV sequels included AIR BUDDIES, AMERICAN PIE PRESENTS: THE NAKED MILE, BACHELOR PARTY VEGAS, BAMBI II, BRING IT ON: ALL OR NOTHING, BROTHER BEAR 2, THE BUTTERFLY EFFECT 2, THE FOX AND THE HOUND 2, THE LAND BEFORE TIME XII: THE GREAT DAY OF THE FLYERS, LEROY & STITCH, LIKE MIKE 2: STREETBALL, NATIONAL LAMPOON’S DORM DAZE 2, THE NET 2.0, THE PRINCE & ME 2: THE ROYAL WEDDING, SAVE THE LAST DANCE 2.
I skipped all of those. I believe the only DTV sequels I reviewed that year were this, HOLLOW MAN 2, and ROAD HOUSE 2: LAST CALL. But I did write about non-sequel DTV like ATTACK FORCE, HARD LUCK, MERCENARY FOR JUSTICE, SECOND IN COMMAND, and SHADOW MAN.