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Review I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997) and I Still Know What You Did Last Summer (1998): Average slasher films!

genre: horror, slasher, mystery

To me, I Know What You Did Last Summer was a Scream clone that didn't quite cut it. It took itself far too seriously, which impacted real twists and surprises. Scream was so effective because it offered genuine thrills next to the meta jokes playing with the horror / slasher tropes.

Now having watched it after so many years, I do think that the film is entertaining enough, but it has some pacing issues and is almost devoid of tension. The premise in itself is pretty compelling. Only the way it is executed is less so. Mystery slashers like this need red herrings. The few they have are dealt with so quickly you are never left wondering of what is going on. And once the reveal happen, you can't help but be underwhelmed. Some actions of the lead, played by Jennifer Love Hewitt, are hilarious? Why? Because it's so masterfully parodied in Scary Movie. I am referring to the "what are you waiting for" scene. After having seen the parody, you can't ever take the original scene seriously.

It also takes far too long for the kills too start. Don't get me wrong. I do appreciate a slow build-up of suspense and tension which results in terror and dread. Unfortunately, this simply is not present. The one time I was actually surprised was at the very end. I do think that some films overuse jump scares. This film only has a few, with one very effective one. It's here when I realized the people involved had dropped the ball.

Overall, it's subpar compared to Scream. Judged on its own merit, there is enough to satisfy the slasher fans, but you do need to be patient for the true horror goodness.

I don't think I ever saw the sequel. Most likely, because I was disappointed with the original. The reviews weren't that positive, and some people even stating that it was very bad.

That might sway the common film fan to stay away, but someone like me? I am a horror fan through and through, and I can like and love even the worst horror films as long as they provide heart and / or creativity. So I decided to watch the sequel. And for the most part, this sequel is pretty genuine. Sure, in general it's a repeat of the original, but everything is moving faster, and it has a decent twist in it, although it's one I saw coming from a mile away, at least it was something more substantial than the original. There, the twist made no sense whatsoever. Because it's so obvious who they hit, how they possibly could think it could have been a younger person. This sequel also gave you more red herrings, even when the cast is smaller. 

Many reviewers seem to call this a cash grab, and maybe that was the intention. Still, maybe because of a nonchalant, I don't care attitude, they seemed to have more fun with the killings. And they even gave us a young Jack Black as the local drug dealer and Jeffrey Combs as the hotel clerk. In case you weren't aware, he is a horror icon. I liked the cast better than in the first. It got real annoying to see Ryan Philippe lose his cool. And in the sequel, Jennifer Love Hewitt's character also seems to be a little more chill or at least willing to step out of her comfort zone.

Overall, this part might not offer real surprises, I had more fun with it. For me, that is more essential.

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