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A Fisherman Never Forgets

I Still Know What You Did Last Summer (1998)

So, here we have the sequel to a pretty harmless, been-there-done-that slasher produced in the post-Scream horror frenzy. The original I Know What You Did Last Summer was actually written by Kevin Williamson himself, who helped rejuvenated the genre in the 90s with a transfusion of fresh, all-in-good-fun blood thanks to his stellar Scream script. So what went wrong with his follow up? I Know What You Did Last Summer displayed none of the humor, style or skill of his previous writing – in fact, I Know What You Did Last Summer seemed to be almost the anti-Scream, the epitome of everything that movie made fun of – a spiritless, uninspired drag. Still a sequel came along because the film had made some cash and this time the writing duties were handed over to Trey Callaway – whose only previous credit at the time was as a writer of two episodes of Timon and Pumbaa and a new director also stepped in, Danny Cannon, who was responsible for Sylvester Stallone’s Judge Dredd. I doubt expectations were very high. It was horribly reviewed and I never bothered watching it considering how bad the word of mouth was and how underwhelming the original had been.

I reread some reviews before watching this today, and I was ready for one of the worst films ever committed to celluloid. I was surprised by how awful it wasn’t. Don’t get ahead of me here, now – it isn’t a good film, by any means – everything that happens we’ve seen in countless other horror films, the characters do a lot of dumb things, and it is all pretty laughable. However, it may go down easier than the original – everything it streamlined and clips along at a favorable pace.

It has been two years since the gang from the original film struck Ben Willis with a car, attempted to dispose of his body and made a pact to never speak of it. It has been a year since the summer following that, in which a killer in fisherman’s duds showed up and started offing citizens of the seaside town of Southport with a hook. Now Julie (Jennifer Love Hewitt) is off at college and still experiencing distressing after effects – she has nightmares about the fisherman slasher – though she and Ray (Freddie Prinze Jr.) seemingly defeated him at the end of the original film, his body was never discovered – she often wakes up screaming (in the middle of class, no less) – she keeps a knife in her nightstand, and she is very close to failing out of school. She is trying to maintain a relationship with Ray, who still lives in Southport where he works as a fisherman, but Julie finds it difficult to return home after all that has happened and he doesn’t really understand her post-traumatic-stress. He went through it all too, why is he so happy go-lucky? Oh, to be a man of the sea, ignorant and care-free.

It is now the fourth of July weekend, the anniversary of it all, and Julie cannot bring herself to go back to Southport with Ray, as planned. Instead she stays at school and mopes around the apartment she shares with Karla (Brandy) – who doesn’t really seem to think too much of it when Julie almost stabs her to death after she goes into Julie’s closet to borrow a dress. Karla and Julie win a radio contest by answering an on air question and before you know it they are off to the Bahamas, with Karla’s boyfriend, Tyrell (Mekhi Phifer) and dreamy-eyed coed, Will (Matthew Settle) who is nursing a major crush on Julie. Of course, the day they arrive is the last day of the season, the place is nearly deserted, there are no more ferries off the island for days and there is a hurricane a-comin’.

As soon as Julie finally perks up and starts singing ‘I Will Survive’ her good mood is ruined by that grumpy old fisherman and his shenanigans. He changes the words on the karaoke machine – and she doesn’t know the lyrics! He puts a ziptie on the handles of a tanning booth so Julie gets locked inside! He graffitis a grave so that it has Julie’s name on it! He steals Julie’s toothbrush! (OK, he actually doesn’t do that – but someone does!) And he puts his hook to use, killing the poor, unsuspecting staff (including the underused Jeffrey Combs as the hotel manager) of the resort where the group is staying. Bodies are discovered, Love Hewitt’s cleavage has a starring role, everyone runs around in the rain a lot and Ray saves the day.

Just so you know: the capital of Brazil is Brasília. Pass it on. C

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4 responses to “A Fisherman Never Forgets

  1. James November 17, 2010 at 12:04 pm

    Ha! I remember seeing this one in the cinema. I also remember really liking it. Hey! I was young and needed the money. Like you rightly pointed out, it’s not a good film, but it’s not terrible either. It knows the conventions of the classic slashers and sticks rigidly to them. It’s kinda like an old-school, vintage slasher, and as a fan of slashers, I reckon that’s ok – it does exactly what you’d expect it too, with some style too. Haven’t seen it in a while – completely forgot Jeffrey Combs was in it – and Jack Black now that I think about it! What am I saying? This movies ROCKS! I remember the soundtrack having a lot of cool stuff on it, too – like Imogen Heap, Lamb and Hooverphonic. God, I’ve said too much. 😉

    • itallhappensinthedark November 17, 2010 at 6:28 pm

      Ah, I totally forgot to mention Jack Black in my review! It does feel very old-school, vintage slasher, I was thinking that when I was watching it yesterday – it could have totally been an 80s film. And the soundtrack was pretty killer – I especially loved Jennifer Love Hewitt’s contribution. Oh, I’m bad. There was some stuff that left me wondering – like when they’re up in the attic, why can you see down into everyone’s room? I feel like something got cut out there, that explained this – not really anything essential to the plot, I guess, but still something that left me wondering. I do think I liked this one better than the original. But I do love me some Sarah Michelle Gellar and Anne Heche in crazy-mode.

      • James November 18, 2010 at 1:10 pm

        I forgot about Anne Heche in crazy-mode! I reckon it’s been too long since I watched either of those flicks. Must rectify that soon… Heh heh. And it’ll all be your fault! 😉

      • itallhappensinthedark November 18, 2010 at 3:52 pm

        Well, I am a bad influence, I’ve never said otherwise. I’ve been thinking about rewatching the first one again. I do love the Sarah Michelle Gellar stalk scene quite a bit.

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