Saturday, September 29, 2012

I Still Know What You Did Last Summer

Original Movie Poster

If you have come back then obviously you either really like my blog or you have never seen I Know What You Did Last Summer and came to check out me talking about its sequel, I Still Know What You Did Last Summer. Now I'm not used to talking about films and then directly talking about their sequels after so you are going to have to bear with me here on many spoilers as for the next many blogs I will be doing the same thing.

Freddie And Jennifer return with some new blood...

Now this film was released one year after the original and only two (or technically three characters) return so there you go for spoilers right now and just so you know I will not be talking about the last of this trilogy the film titled lamely I Will Always Know What You Did Last Summer just because it has nothing to do with any of the characters we have talked about or will talk about. If you were expecting that I am so sorry but you will just have to discover that film on your own as I have never seen nor will I ever see it. Now that I have gotten all of that out of the way let's discuss the plot to I Still Know What You Did Last Summer.

Our Story Continues As Follows:
Julie James is back up at college still plagued by the terror that was Ben Willis, a fisherman who she and her friends Ray, Barry and Helen accidentally hit with their car on The 4th of July weekend two years ago. They thought he was dead but he survived the foursome dumping him in the ocean and he came back for revenge killing Barry and Helen. Disappearing the night he tried to kill Julie and Ray, now presumed to be really dead, the memory still haunts Julie despite the best efforts of her roommate Karla Wilson, her boyfriend Tyrell Martin and new college friend Will Benson.

J. Love back as Julie James

Julie has even distanced herself from her former love Ray who still remains a townie down in Southport, North Carolina even though he still loves Julie and is even thinking about proposing to her. When Karla wins a trip to a Caribbean resort via a radio contest, Julie invites Ray to go to make up for being so evasive but he says he might not be able to make it because of work and Julie heads off with Karla, Ty and Will not knowing that Ray is planning to surprise her instead by showing up unannounced with his engagement ring in tow.

Karla And Julie waiting for their ride to the Bahamas

Arriving in the Bahamas, our new foursome finds that they have arrived at the beginning of storm season which means all of the other guests are heading back for the mainland and they will be the only people there besides a small group of the resort's staff. Despite this news, the four college students decide to make the most of their trip and it seems some sparks are developing between Julie and Will. The good times abruptly end when Julie's past comes back with a vengeance and bodies of the hotel staff start popping up and she now knows that Ben Willis is back to finish what he started. Being cut off from the mainland and with storms about to come to the island, can Julie and her new friends escape their angry, hook wielding fisherman killer? Will Ray be able to get there in time to save the girl he loves?

Freddie Prinze Jr. returns as Ray Bronson

Pretty basic sequel plot and as always leaving you with only a taste of it since you pretty much know that Jennifer Love Hewitt and Freddie Prinze Jr. are back as Julie James and Ray Bronson respectively. I'm not about to tell you who else survives and who dies but I can tell you a little bit about the new characters and what I think of the actors who portray them. Brandy Norwood or pop star Brandy as you know her plays Karla Wilson, our strong, independent, sassy African-American best bud of Julie. I love Brandy as Karla because she brings so much to the movie and since they killed off Sarah Michelle Gellar's Helen in the first film, you need another strong woman in the cast. Karla is more like Julie was in the first film to balance out Julie being the haunted girl with the secret past because when Julie is scared Karla is strong and when Julie is strong Karla is still scared but she gets past that just as Helen did in the first film.

Brandy as Karla Wilson

Mehki Phifer as Tyrell "Ty" Martin is just a blast in this film as the wisecracking, completely horny boyfriend of Karla and even though he is hilarious he is also a no nonsense guy when it counts. I have seen Mehki Phifer pull of some serious acting in the movie "O" and as Doctor Gregory Pratt on ER so he does a great job pulling off the same here with a mix between drama and comedy and for a horror film it is not easy because you can come off as cheesy or dull if it is not done right. I think Ty is supposed to be the Barry of the group this time around since Ryan Phillipe was killed off in the first film but Ty is a little more likeable than Barry and he only starts to be an ass a little later in the film than from the very beginning as Barry seemed to be but that is only my opinion of course.

Mehki Phifer as Tyrell (Ty) Martin

Matthew Settle plays Will Benson, a new character who seems to be smitten with Julie James, and I wish I could say more about his acting but I can't as this is the only thing I have ever seen him in. He is handsome, an all around nice guy kind of character in this film, but that is pretty much all I can say. If I had more work to compare his role in this film to I might have more to say about Matthew Settle as and actor but I honestly can't. Aside from our main cast, there are supporting characters and the cast is pretty okay. Jack Black has an uncredited role as Titus, the white stoner pool boy who thinks he is Bob Marley, and he gets in a few laughs. (try to guess whether he makes it or not?) Muse Watson of course returns as killer fisherman Ben Willis and he does okay for what little screen time he gets not killing people and we even get to learn more backstory about his character which is kind of nice.

Matthew Settle as Will Benson with Brandy & Mehki Phifer

Sexy actress Jennifer Esposito who played Stacey on Spin City with Michael J. Fox plays a sarcastic bartender named Nancy and I like her ball-busting, witty attitude enough that she deserves a mention and the final actor of note is Jeffrey Combs. If you don't know who Jeffrey Combs is and are a horror fan like me, you need to be re-schooled in classic horror real quick and go rent The Frighteners and Re-Animator if you really want to see Combs in all his gory glory. If you aren't into horror (as much as me I mean) but you have a love for Star Trek you may recognize Combs as well from the Deep Space Nine part of that franchise. In any case, Combs is great as the hotel manager Mr. Brookes, playing the same kind of sarcastic, smarmy asshole he is so great at playing as always.

Jennifer Esposito as Nancy with Brandy & J. Love Hewitt

If you are wondering why I didn't talk about Jennifer Love Hewitt and Freddie Prinze Jr. and their characters of Julie and Ray it is because I already talked about them in the blog about I Know What You Did Last Summer. Both of them are still great actors but their characters are pretty much the same as they were in the first film just a little bit more troubled and slightly harder emotional wise but they still get in likeable, funny moments and few smiles here and there that continue to make me like the characters. What more can you say without repeating yourself?

Julie And Karla get Ben's message

So is it a good sequel? Yes I believe it is. Is it better than the first film? It's about the same in tone but there are more characters that grab my interest than in the first one so I would have to say it's only slightly better but not by much. Is it worth watching? There are worse movie sequels out there but I Still Know What You Did Last Summer isn't one of them.

Next Blog: We tackle a different horror film trilogy and now that it is the time for horror being close to Halloween I hope you will join me as we take a look at an obscure little treat called Ginger Snaps.

Friday, September 21, 2012

I Know What You Did Last Summer

Original Movie Poster

In the 1990s it seemed to me that horror was becoming a little cinematic in scope of the things because Stephen King movies based on his works like The Shawshank Redemption were not full of horror but drama (which isn't bad by any means) and then Scream came along and brought back the horror film and the following year I Know What You Did Last Summer came out and brought the budding horror fan in me a little hope which caused me to discover many of the classics I have already talked about. I didn't know until years later that this film was loosely based on a novel by Lois Duncan and that it wasn't as gory as it was on screen but more thriller based but I did know that I wanted to see it because Sarah Michelle Gellar was in it because I was a die hard Buffy fan but more on that later. So for those of you who have never seen this film (I shudder to think that no one has ever seen this film) let's get right to it shall we?

What's The Plot?
It's 4th Of July in the fishing town of Southport, North Carolina and newly graduated seniors: brainy but beautiful Julie James, quarterback Barry Cox and handsome but poor Ray Bronson go to see their friend and Barry's girl Helen Shivers win the crown of Croaker Queen in the yearly beauty pageant. After her win, the foursome go down to the local beach to celebrate with alcohol, making out and urban legends around the driftwood fire of the killer with a hook for a hand. They head back to town with Ray driving Barry's new graduation present car as Barry is too drunk to drive but it doesn't stop them from getting into an accident by hitting a man crossing the road and killing him. Knowing it is his car and that he is drunk, Barry freaks out when Julie mentions going to the police and the decides that they should dump the body in the ocean and never speak of this again. The others are hesitant and disgusted but Ray and Helen go along with the plan and once Barry threatens hers, Julie solemnly agrees to take this secret to the grave.

The Four Main Characters: Helen, Barry, Julie and Ray

 A year later, Julie comes home for the holiday from college but it is clear that the guilt of what she did has changed her as she is withdrawn and haunted. It doesn't help much when she gets a note stating I KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER and realizes that someone saw her, Helen, Barry and Ray run down the man on the side of the road. The secret they swore to keep has separated these four friends but now they must reunite to figure out who it was they killed and just who that person might have known that could be sending this note on the anniversary of their crime. Pretty soon a note is the least of their worries when a slicker clad figure with a hook is bent on killing the teens and making sure that they do indeed keep their promise all the way to the grave and beyond...

The Gorton Fisherman is pissed!!

Of course, telling the whole plot is a foregone conclusion if you have indeed seen this film and if not, since you know there is a sequel that I plan to talk about you know some characters from this movie survive and I will spoil it in my next post. It's not I'm mean and don't want to tell you the whole plot I just like to indulge those who don't really watch movies as much as myself and others in case they have never seen any of the films I talk about. I hope that the people who read my blog come back just to see what I talk about and see how I express my own views to films in general. I'm not an expert but I can convey things in writing much better than in speaking and I love movies and of course, love sharing that with you. Moving on from that...

What Else Can I Tell You?
I Know What You Did Last Summer has a very talented, good looking young cast who portray characters that are likeable and even un-likeable at times but it proves they are very good because in real life even the people you love or like can annoy you at times with just a shift in their attitudes or some little thing they do that annoys you to no end. Jennifer Love Hewitt as Julie is a bright young woman and a strong character but she is also human and you can see that in how she is struggling to keep the secret and what it is doing to her. She wanted to go the police and was the most logical of the four and of course the one disgusted to just get rid of the body. Jennifer Love Hewitt is a great actress as her work on Ghost Whisperer proves and she is also a new age Scream Queen of horror (quite literally).

Jennifer Love Hewitt as Julie James

Ryan Phillipe as Barry Cox is a good looking jerk jock and at times you can hate him but there are times when you can like him mostly in scenes where he is genuinely scared because he is at his most human and you can tell that Barry does indeed love Helen and is protective of her even though is is shown that keeping the secret destroyed their relationship. I can't really say much about Ryan Phillipe as an actor because the only other movie I have seen with him in it is Cruel Intentions but he was very good in the film and ironically played the same kind of character of a jerk with human emotions and actions hidden beneath the surface.

Ryan Phillipe as Barry Cox

I will be honest after I saw this movie I had a crush on Freddie Prinze Jr. big time! His role as Ray Bronson is portrayal of a character who is not as well to do as his friends or even his girlfriend Julie but he is a caring person as well as intelligent that you can look past those puppy dog brown eyes and good looks and see a real human being. Ray is probably my favorite character in the film for those reasons and I think Freddie Prinze Jr. did a good job bringing Ray to life from a character in a book to the big screen. Besides being a talented dramatic actor, Freddie excels at making me laugh as well whenever his characters require comedy which is why I love watching him in She's All That and the Scooby Doo films because having an actor who is not only good looking but good at comedic timing and dramatic, human acting is hard to find.

Freddie Prinze Jr. as Ray Bronson

Of course, Sarah Michelle Gellar-Prinze as she is known to me now is the main draw of why I went to see I Know What You Did Last Summer with my friend Chris in the first place. See around this time it was Season 2 of Buffy The Vampire Slayer, my favorite show of the time and of all-time if you want to know and I just had to see SMG on the big screen. Sarah plays Helen Shivers, beauty queen but she is not just beauty she is also brains and attitude because there is just no way you can make any role that Sarah Michelle plays be that of a ditzy dumb blonde (and if you argue with me that Buffy was one you didn't really watch the entire show or understand the complexity of the character but I digress).

Helen and Julie off to see Barry.

Helen is Julie's best friend and the secret drives a wedge between them as it does between Helen and Barry and you can see that Helen misses the closeness she once had with both of them. She also has to put up with her older sister Elsa being a bitch and that people do see her as beautiful and shallow but once she has to deal with a killer coming after her and her friends you can see the human side of Helen even in the face of fear. Yes I admit that I am a Sarah Michelle fan girl and I have no shame in it!

Sarah Michelle as Helen Shivers

As an actress, I know she is very talented and she is very versatile in her roles as strong women, likeable women you can relate to, human characters facing real problems and even bitchy women you love to hate as her role in Cruel Intentions and one part of her dual role in Ringer proves. So there you have it I love Sarah Michelle Gellar-Prinze as much as I love Ann and Nancy Wilson of Heart because there aren't too many women nowadays that I view as good role models but when you are genuinely human, beautiful and talented I'm not about to ignore that. Say what you want about it but there it is pure and simple...

Helen, Barry and Julie look for answers.

In a nutshell, I Know What You Did Last Summer is a decent, enjoyable horror flick and a very tame slasher film bordering more on thrills than out right blood and gore and it did succeeded in actually scaring me enough that in the theater I jumped in my seat and made then popular Surge soda come out my nose. If that's not a good enough reason to view this movie that it actually did shock me but not scare me (who watches horror movies on a predominant basis) then I don't know what is!

Next Blog: We return for a look at I Still Know What You Did Last the sequel worth the view?