Who needs Ghostface, when you can have a hook-wielding killer fisherman instead?
That’s the question I Know What You Did Last Summer tried to answer when it was released in October 1997.
The original movie–which found Jennifer Love Hewitt, Freddie Prinze Jr., Sarah Michelle Gellar, and Ryan Ryan Phillippe running for their lives against said murderous fisherman–was a commercial success, grossing more than $125 million at the box office.
The sequel, meanwhile, was another story.
Released 25 years ago, I Still Know What You Did Last Summer (aka ISKWYDLS, one of the most obnoxious abbreviation to type out ever) found Jennifer Love Hewitt and Freddie Prinze Jr.’s characters skipping town to a posh resort–only to discover murder sure seems to find a way to follow them wherever they go!
The sequel was an absolute bomb, making just shy of $40 million at the box office, and essentially killed the franchise… something the first movie’s director agrees upon.
“I thought it wasn’t the right story,” OG I Know What You Did Last Summer‘s director, Jim Gillespie, said in 2017 interview about the follow-up film. “I didn’t like the premise. It kind of killed the franchise a little bit. They had a chance to do something a bit different and for me it didn’t work.“
A movie so bad it killed an entire… killer franchise (see what we did there)? Obviously, we had to re-watch this travesty! And so, since it’s spooky season, we did.
On the helm of its 25th anniversary, check out all the reasons you should watch I Still Know What You Did Last Summer, and the one reason you absolutely should not…
Reason #1 to watch: The franchise was only made possible, thanks to openly gay screenwriter Kevin Williamson
Kevin Williamson, the openly gay creator and writer of the Scream franchise, also wrote the first I Know What You Did Last Summer movie, loosely based on author Lois Duncan’s book of the same name.
In fact, production of the first IKWYDLS was fast-tracked following the massive success of Scream.
Both films premiered less than 10 months apart, with Scream premiering in December 1996, and I Know What You Did Last Summer premiering in October 1997.
There was even some crossover in making both films, according to Jim Gillespie, who directed I Know What You Did Last Summer.
“When we were working on the script for this, Scream was shooting,” Gillespie shared in an interview with Digital Spy. “So I would go round to Kevin’s house in Hollywood and we would talk through the script (for IKWYDLS), he’d have dailies tapes from Scream, so we would watch the dailies.”
But make no mistake, there was no desire to recreate Ghostface.
“My point was not to make Scream,” he told the pub. “Kevin wrote it, Kevin didn’t write this as Scream 2… It was meant to be kind of a stand-alone revisit of those classic ’80s horror films [and] it worked!”
So… TLDR: I Still Know What You Did Last Summer would not exist without the gays. Case closed!
Reason #2 to watch: I Still Know What You Did Last Summer is infused with ’90s nostalgia
One of the great things about watching ISKWYDLS is appreciating just how god awful it is. The film boasts a 7% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, which I’m not sure whether that should be revered or laughed at.
But one of the absolute best things about it is the sheer nostalgia factor, which is in full force. For example, all sorts of old technology is shown throughout the movie. There isn’t a single cell phone in sight, and it is simply a thing of beauty.
During one scene, Jennifer Love Hewitt’s character shares how her number is “unlisted” (caller ID, remember that?!).
An old school answering machine–put on “speaker phone”–plays a pivotal role in driving the plot forward.
At one point, Jennifer Love Hewitt gets into a tanning bed (before we knew they were harmful AF and probably took 20+ years off our lives) and dawns a yellow Sony Walkman (the tape player, not the CD player–don’t get it twisted kids!)
Towards the end of the movie, Freddie Prinze Jr. looks down at his electric toothbrush with excitement and yells, “Man, I love this thing!” as if he’s experiencing some novel invention for the very first time.
Not to mention, Brandy (who also stars in the movie) released the music video for her iconic 90’s bop, “The Boy Is Mine” the same year I Still Know What You Did Last Summer hit theaters. Coincidence? I think not!
It is all too much for my heart to bare–in the best way.
Reason #3 to watch: The movie has so many heartthrobs, it will give you a heart attack!
Another added bonus when it comes to I Still Know What You Did Last Summer? The eye candy!
At one point, some of the male characters end up in bed together. There’s even some hand-to-face contact–the closest thing we get to a “gay scene” in the film. Talk about #representation! (We kid, we kid.)
But of course, we’d be remiss not give each guy their own moment to shine…
First up, Freddie Prinze Jr.! C’mon, the man was the epitome of S-E-X in the ’90s and launched countless homosexual awakenings.
There’s also Mekhi Phifer which, uh… HELLO?!
His entire storyline during the movie revolves around him being horny, which hey, when you’re surrounded by that many men, how could you not be!
Finally, there’s also Dan Humphrey’s dad, Matthew Settle.
I like to believe all these men grew up to be my Daddy™.
Reason #4 to watch: Turns out, the gang’s getting back together
Hang onto your hooks, because there’s a I Know What You Did Last Summer sequel on the way! According to Deadline, Jennifer Love Hewitt and Freddie Prinze Jr. are in talks to reprise their roles in a new interaction of the slasher series.
Studio execs were allegedly blown away when “they (were) pitched this idea for a sequel last fall, especially given the recent success of the Scream franchise.”
Here’s hoping the film includes plenty of electric toothbrushes for Freddie to fondle over!
Reason to skip: An unfunny Jack Black in dreadlocks
And the award for most puzzling casting choice of 1998 goes to… Jack Black in I Still Know What You Did Last Summer!
His presence is something of a mystery. He’s not really there to provide comic relief, or help any of the main characters. He’s just sort of… there… with, uh, dreadlocks, and is sweating a lot. It’s not a cute lewk for anyone involved!
But hey, the fact we finished this movie at all is actually pretty cute!
I Still Know What You Did Last is available to stream on Peacock, and available to rent or (if you dare) own via a variety of streaming platforms.