Film Review: I’ll Always Know What You Did Last Summer (2006)

SYNOPSIS:

A group of teenagers in Colorado find themselves being stalked and killed one-by-one by a mysterious figure with a hook, exactly one year after they covered up a friends’ accidental death…

REVIEW:

I have to confess, of the films spawned from the success of Scream and it’s sequels, the original I Know What You Did Last Summer was probably my least favourite. I found the story to be an interesting one that unfortunately was developed into something, well, a little dull. What did make the film successful though was an all-star cast including Sarah Michelle Gellar and Freddie Prinze Jnr. Given that I’ll Always Know What You Did Last Summer is the third in this particular franchise and lacks any of it’s originator’s stars the omens were not good.

On July 4th in the small Colorado town of Broken Ridge, a group of friends stage a prank based around the legend of The Fisherman who historically appears on this date to stalk teenagers. The prank goes fatally wrong though when one of the group, PJ, is killed in a freak accident. The four remaining friends Colby (David PaetKau), his girlfriend Amber (Brooke Nevin), wannabe rock star Zoe (Torrey DeVitto) and Roger (Seth Packard) decide to keep the prank a secret and blame the accident on the killer from legend.

One year later and Amber starts to receive text messages stating “I’ll always know what you did last summer” and begins to freak out. As the group have drifted apart over the previous twelve months she must seek out each one to alert them. Their initial scepticism ends abruptly when Roger is brutally murdered and they also discover that more people than they thought know about their dark secret.

As I said my expectations were low and I’m afraid to say they were met. Let me explain the problems.

Firstly, none of the characters are particularly likeable. One of the key elements to any teen slasher movie is that the audience must relate to the characters on the screen. As a rule the lead girl is vulnerable with inner strength (see Jamie-Lee Curtis in Halloween for the template) and we really want her to survive the attacks of whichever killer it is loose in the neighbourhood. With I’ll Always Know What You Did Last Summer (IAKWYDLS as it will now be referred to) I found myself not really caring if the annoying teens made it to the end or not. Colby is arrogant and irritating and is an obvious target, Roger is having some sort of emotional meltdown and fortunately is the first victim, Zoe is far too self-centered and Amber just isn’t girl-next-door enough for the audience to empathize with her.

Secondly the film adopts a slightly peculiar stance of throwing in extra suspects. On several occasions one of the supporting cast will utter the words “I know what you did last summer”, at which point some ominous music is played telling the viewer with no subtlety whatsoever that this might be the killer, before then inventing some convoluted reason how they actually know the secret and returning to the original legend.

Thirdly, and probably most importantly, the script and storyline is simply poor. The dialogue is labored and the cast are not strong enough to raise it to an acceptable standard. The story itself is somewhat dull relying on contrivance and generic plot points too much creating something that is ultimately a little messy. Also, for what is supposed to be a slasher film there is a surprising shortage of gore in IAKWYDLS. When many directors begin to realisze that their film may be lacking in enough frights and scares the obvious approach is to throw as much blood and gore at it as possible to create a reaction in the audience but here that hasn’t happened. I suspect that Sylvain White has tried to create more of a character piece and left his buckets of blood at home but unfortunately this hasn’t worked at all and what you are left with is a film that isn’t scary and lacks enough of the red stuff to make anyone, no matter how much they dislike horror, even a little queasy.

To conclude, and as you may suspect, I didn’t like IAKWYDLS very much at all. If you are in the mood for a teen slasher horror there are many, many other options available and almost all of them are better than this.

I’ll Always Know What You Did Last Summer (2006)

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