Monday, 1 August 2022

I Still Know What You Did Last Summer

Director Danny Cannon's I Still Know What You Did Last Summer is a superfluous sequel almost completely disconnected from I Know What You Did Last Summer's core concept of drunken teens covering up their small town hit-and-run. Although both Jennifer Love Hewitt's Julie and Freddie Prinze Jr's Ray survived the events of the first film, Still's circling Fisherman killer only has detailed designs on the former - the saturated maniac showing up, unannounced, while Julie is attempting to enjoy an end-of-season break in The Bahamas. This lack of serious follow through when plotting Ray's death is symptomatic of a wider conceptual shift within the film. Still is less an ensemble piece, like its predecessor, and more a star vehicle designed around Hewitt. Previously, Jim Gillespie's film struggled to state a clear preference between its two female leads; more often than not Hewitt and co-star Sarah Michelle Gellar were trapped in the same medium shot, comparing crop tops. 

Cannon and cinematographer Vernon Layton's take on this Sony Pictures slasher is far more specific, and intrusive, in its shot selection. Hewitt's Julie, a lank and beleaguered presence in the first film, is allowed to be glamorous and frame filling here. The camera snoops around her, poking its lens deep into her personal space, appraising the actress' face and whatever skin she currently happens to be revealing. Singer-songwriter Brandy Norwood's Karla, the deputy attractive victim in this sequel, isn't given anything like the same attention as Hewitt. A monologue about Karla making an expensive bikini purchase fails to track into the conclusive leer it seems to propose, while a karaoke bar interlude only apportions mic time to Julie. Lumbered with a dull legacy villain who stomps around in waterlogged Wellington boots, Still does (briefly) shift up a gear when a member of Julie's college friend group reveals his true identity at the height of a tropical storm. And, although Trey Callaway's screenplay offers very little for Cannon to really sink his teeth into, the Judge Dredd director does at least seem to be trying to tune into the Italian horror masters when inspecting sodden graveyards or a verdant greenhouse that collapses in on itself. 

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