Scream Horror Magazine

25 YEARS OF “I STILL KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER”

Posted on: November 27th, 2023

As hard as it may be to believe, it’s been 25 years since we got “hooked” again.

November 13th marked the quarter century of what is perhaps one of the most underrated slashers of the nineties rebirth; Danny Cannon’s sequel I Still Know What You Did Last Summer.

After the original made a ridiculously impressive $125.7 million at the global box-office, a sequel seemed inevitable. Following the blueprint set by 1996’s Scream, it came just over a year later and featured the return of our surviving cast from the original.

July 4th weekend of 1998 looms and Julie James (Jennifer Love Hewitt) is struggling with her life. She is haunted by the murder spree she survived one year earlier which has strained her relationship with Ray Bronson (Freddie Prinze Jnr.) Her fortunes seem to change when her college roommate Karla (Brandy Norwood) wins four tickets to a Bahamas paradise. However, all is not well as a slicker-clad figure from Julie’s past haunts the island with a score to settle as a storm rolls in.

Upon release, I Still Know What You Did Last Summer was lambasted by critics and audiences alike. The consensus being that the film stretched the limits of believability too far and bordered on comical. Many found it lacking without the whodunit element of the original and bemoaned the inclusion of Hewitt’s singing as she attempted to expand her career.

This middling reception was reflected in the box-office, with I Still Know making only $40 million. Just over a third of what its original counterpart had grossed, against a budget that is rumoured to be as high as $60 million.

However, we’re here commemorating 25 years of this film enduring, so, what changed? Well, hindsight really is a wonderful thing, and all the elements this sequel was derided for at the time are now adored. There’s a comforting cheesiness to I Still Know that fans have come to love, be it the outlandish plot, the… questionable performances by some, or even Hewitt’s rendition of I Will Survive, it’s all appreciated as quirky, whacky and oh-so-nineties.

The huge nostalgia element is bolstered by the fact that when rewatching this sequel, one realises I Still Know goes hard as a slasher. With lashings more gore than the original, an eerie isolated setting and pouring rain throughout, the movie comes close to slasher perfection, especially during the nail-biting chase sequences.

So, although not appreciated at the time, I Still Know What You Did Last Summer has earned its place in horror history the hard way. It has endured for a quarter of a century and gradually carved out a place in fans’ hearts over time. Although cheesy and ridiculous, at its heart the sequel is a slasher movie through and through, with a hook for a sequel we wish had materialised.

With talk abound of a new legacy sequel that would erase I Still Know from the timeline, we just want to say that we’re still hooked on this sequel, are you?

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