Plot: What’s it about?
One of the things that really pains me is seeing a successful franchise go the way of “Direct-to-video”. It’s happened with “American Pie” and “Bring it On” (those are the only two I can think of right now) where the first or second movie is a success. It has more upscale actors and was a hit for a reason. Then it gets lost in movie limbo and sooner or later the powers that be try to resurrect the franchise by offering a new installment. The thing is that the teen slasher genre that was started with “Scream” a decade ago has been replaced by parodies of the genre (see the “Scary Movie” series). Ironically enough, the movies that the “Scary Movie” series parodies actually made it more of a commercial hit than the original movies. Nevertheless, hot on the heels of “Scary Movie” was “I Know What You Did Last Summer” starring Jennifer Love Hewitt, Ryan Phillipe, Freddie Prinze Jr. and Sarah Michelle Gellar. It had a genuine feel to it and at nearly ten years old, it doesn’t really feel dated. But I digress…this is a review of the latest installment in the series entitled “I’ll Always Know What You Did Last Summer” and wouldn’t you know the plot is still the same. I suppose that’s a plus for this type of movie, if the plot remains the same (see the “Friday the 13th” series) all you really need is a fresh crop of actors.
“I’ll Always Know What You Did Last Summer” goes on the theory that you’ve seen or at least heard of the prior two movies (the sequel was entitled “I Still Know What You Did Last Summer”) and they follow the format to a tee here. We meet a group of teens in Colorado who are bored with their lives. They know of the legend of Ben Willis (Don Shanks) and decide to create a little drama at the local carnival. Things don’t go as planned and one of them ends up dead, though it appears to look like an accident. The remaining four friends form a pact that they’ll take the secret to the grave with them, lest they let their lives be ruined after accidentally murdering their friend. Time passes, the friends grow apart and then reunite the next Summer and wouldn’t you know it, they start turning up dead. We’ve seen this all before, we know there’ll be a hero and we know that the mysterious fisherman won’t end up dead (there’s still “I Kind of Know What You Did Last Summer”, right)? The same feel wasn’t there as in the same first two movies, and the absence of Jennifer Love Hewitt makes the movie less enjoyable. I wouldn’t exactly call the acting first rate, either. Still, if it’s a predictable teen slasher movie that you’re after – this is it.
Video: How does it look?
The 1.78:1 anamorphic transfer started out looking good, but parts of it really left a lot to be desired. I wasn’t sure if the transfer was supposed to be intentionally grainy or if it was just a result of this being a very low-budget movie (I think most of the money went to securing the franchise title), but parts of this looked nearly horrible. It appeared that there was a lot of dirt on the print and one particular scene looked like it had worms crawling around on the transfer. I kid you not. For the most part, the transfer seemed a bit soft and though edge enhancement wasn’t really a problem, I was expecting a lot better for a new to DVD movie. For comparison, I popped in my old copy of “IKWYDLS” and even 9 years later, it easily beat out it’s sequel in terms of image quality.
Audio: How does it sound?
The Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack delivers, though it wasn’t as robust as I would have thought. Granted, there’s not a lot to these movies other than the typical scary music and some obvious surround effects, but it wasn’t bad by any means. Surrounds are active during the finale and some of the struggling scenes, but aside from that nothing really struck me as standing out. It’s a typical 5.1 mix that sounds adequate.
Supplements: What are the extras?
As far as supplements go, there’s a commentary by Director Sylvian White who spews the usual information and the obligatory Making of…featurette. Fans of the “I Know What You Did Last Summer” franchise will likely pick this up, but the first two were far better in my opinion.