Directed by Sylvain White, 2006
Ten years after the events of the original I Know What You Did Last Summer, this Always Knowing sequel follows a group of friends who hear of the legend of the Fisherman, decide for some self-fulfilling reason to stage a mock killer attack at the county fair, except someone conveniently replaces the fall-softening mattresses with a gigantic tractor and their fake escaping friend skateboards (yes, he is skateboarding away from the ‘killer’) off a building and gets impaled by a random and illogical piece of metal protruding from the humongous tractor.
For some inescapable reason the friends think that they need to hide the fact that the Fisherman was just one of their friends in costume, despite the obviously accidental death of that totally gnarly skateboarder. So that is their summer secret, albeit an entirely unnecessary one considering they’re desperately trying to cover up a blatant and heavily witnessed accident.
Surprise, one year later someone starts leaving them ‘I know what you did last summer’ notes. This time the first one comes in the hip form of a text message – which is unintentionally hilarious in retrospect with knowledge of the Fisherman’s real identity – to Amber, who is replacing Jennifer Love Hewitt’s worrisome damsel in distress. After way too much high school detective work (Veronica Mars she is not) and ineffective character buildup, eventually people start dying. And I stress eventually, because for a slasher movie there sure is a deficit of actual slashing.
The acting is passable. The cast is familiar, but in a, "that person looks a lot like this person" kind of way. Brooke Nevin reminded me of Dana, the nerdy sister on "Step by Step". And Torrey DeVitto constantly looked like 3 different actresses, depending on the lighting. All in all, they lack the already paltry chemistry of the franchise’s previous attractive ensemble.
The kills are pretty lacking until the last 20 minutes, but some of them do inspire minor cringes thanks to some serviceable gore effects. The photography is a very filtered up version of some digital format I can’t pinpoint, which does give the film an edge up on the universally plain aesthetics of other direct-to-DVD movies. The editing, however, is pretty sloppy and often times consists needlessly of jaunting juxtaposition which is nothing but annoying.
Small points for trying to do something new with the series. The setting works (a ski tourism fueled town during the summer down time) and the guesses as to who the killer is are kept strong. The reveal, however, is interesting in a what-the-hell kind of way:
Highlight for spoilers:
Instead of being someone the teens know, like in all the other movies, The Fisherman this time around is a genuine zombie who cannot be destroyed. Yeah, didn’t see that coming, but it sure does make the mental image of a zombie in a fishing getup sending a girl text messages on a cell phone pretty chuckle worthy.
Everything about I’ll Always Know is unnecessary. It is an unnecessary sequel to a franchise that appropriately ran its course 8 years ago. However, all things considered, it’s actually a decent sequel – but I would never recommend it to anyone. Decent it may be, but understand that a decent-only entry to a field that is already defined by its low standards does not translate to an enjoyable movie.
It’ll exist as another one of those DVDs you and your friends see at the video store (assuming people still go to stores) and say, "They made a third one?!" – but just leave it at that. Don’t pick it up, because there really is no reason to. Maybe watch it on cable at 2am, but only if you turn it on during its second half and are half asleep.