‘Scream‘ writer Kevin Williamson was the hottest thing around in the mid 90’s. Thanks to his success with the ‘Scream’ franchise and his hit television show “Dawson’s Creek” (which I watched in college strictly because a girl I liked was into it – I swear!) anything Williamson touched was being bought up by studios like there was no tomorrow, including his screenplay to the novel I Know What You Did Last Summer. Unleashed on the public in the summer of 1997, ‘Summer‘ was decidedly more ‘Creek’ than ‘Scream‘ but it carried the Williamson cache and enough young Hollywood names to propel it to box office success. It spawned a sequel that brought back most of the key cast, and despite having galaxy sized holes in it’s logic (and a dreadlocked Jack Black!), still managed to become a moderate success.
Enter ‘I’ll Always Know What You Did Last Summer.’ Popping up as a direct to DVD sequel, featuring none of the original cast ans set in the quaint fishing village of Broken Ridge, Colorado. Wait. What? Exactly. We join our faceless “teens” (and I use quotes because, well, most of them must be 27) at one of those famous Colorado 4th of July fairs and jamborees. Hijinks ensue and a way too involved prank goes awry, resulting in the death of of one of the kids. In true ‘I Know…‘ fashion the kids decide that lying is the better part of valor and refuse to disclose their involvement in their friend’s accidental death.
One year later, Amber (Brooke Nevin in the Jennifer Love Hewitt type role) heads to a barn dance only to discover her douche bag boyfriend Colby (in the Ryan Phillipe role) is back from L.A. and wants nothing to do with her. She takes comfort in the company of Lance (in the Freddie Prinze Jr. role). She also starts getting text messages from someone who “knows what she did last summer!” She reconnects with her much hotter friend, Zoe (Torrey DeVitto), and unstable ski lift mechanic, Roger. Soon, like in all the films, they discover that they are being stalked and killed by a crazy guy in a fisherman’s slicker with a hook. But who is the killer? Is it the sheriff, who happens to be the dead kid’s dad? Is it his creepy deputy who has an unnatural fixation with Amber? Is it Lance? Perhaps he’s some sort of a good guy gone bad?
No, no, and hell no (Spoiler Alert – I guess, but really who cares at this point?). Turns out “The Fisherman” is a zombie. He’s an urban legend come to life, which would have been plausible had this been an ‘Urban Legend’ film. It is not, though, it’s an ‘I know….‘ film – set in Colorado. Ben Willis is dead, he died in the Bahamas after engineering a Sideshow Bob type scheme to lure and kill J-Love and her friends. He has apparently been reborn to take his revenge on all secret keeping teenagers. That’s the explanation. What a joke.
At least when Jason was reborn, Tommy Jarvis shoved a fence post through his chest. The pole gets struck by lightning and, like Frankenstein’s monster, voila! Zombie Jason is reborn. With the ‘Candyman,’ sure he’s an urban legend/myth out for revenge, but you at least have to say his name in the mirror three times. Michael Myers is evil incarnate who may or may not have been created by the the secret society of Thorn and hence can’t be killed. To have the “Fisherman” just show up out of nowhere is a joke.
The really maddening thing is that despite all the problems with the film (the acting, the writing etc…), it had set up a decent little “Scooby-Doo” type ending. With 10 minutes left, even I, the most cynical of movie watchers, found myself trying to put the pieces of the mystery together. Alas, it was just “Zombie Fisherman.” If you really loved the first two and haven’t seen this by now, if you skip the last 5 minutes and just pretend it’s Jennifer Love Hewitt under the fisherman gear (THAT would have been a great twist!), you might dig this. For those of us that weren’t big into the first two, just skip it, there’s no reason to waste an hour and a half on this when you could be doing more productive things like washing the dog or watching paint dry.