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Sony Pictures Home Entertainment presents
I Know What You Did Last Summer: The Collection (1997-1998-2006)

"He had a hook, Barry. I saw it. It was a big, huge hook!"
- Helen (Sarah Michelle Gellar)

Review By: Rich Rosell   
Published: August 16, 2006

Stars: Jennifer Love Hewitt, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Ryan Phillippe, Freddie Prinze Jr., Brandy, Mekhi Phifer, Brooke Nevin, David Paetkau, Torrey DeVitto, Ben Easter, Don Shanks, Matthew Settle
Other Stars: Bridgette Wilson, Anne Heche, Johnny Galecki, Muse Watson, Jennifer Esposito, Star LaPoint, Britt Leary, Jack Black, Jeffrey Combs, Red West, Michael Bryan French, Michael P. Byrne, Benjamin Brown, Bill Cobbs
Director: Jim Gillespie, Danny Cannon, Sylvain White

MPAA Rating: R for horror violence, intense terror violence and gore, strong language and some drug use
Run Time: 04h:55m:00s
Release Date: August 15, 2006
UPC: 043396146600
Genre: horror


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
B- C+BB C+

DVD Review

Here's a three-disc box set featuring two discs that have already been released in the past (a couple of times, actually) and one new straight-to-DVD title that is acting as the lure. The entire slasher genre is built on sequels, and especially on the presence of an identifiable, unstoppable killer, preferably one with a mask, costume and some standard issue weapon of choice. For this collection, 1/3 of the set is good, with 2/3 failing as most genre sequel inevitably do.

I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997)
Director: Jim Gillespie
01h:40m:45s

If I try to forget the wtf boat fight climax, I can actually walk away with a fair amount of no brainer enjoyment from I Know What You Did Last Summer, as purely escapist eyecandy drivel starring Jennifer Love Hewitt AND Sarah Michelle Gellar (or if you're female, fill in the names Ryan Phillippe and Freddie Prinze Jr.). Taking Lois Duncan's 1973 novel of the same name, Scream honcho Kevin Williamson sliced and diced the story, completely reworking the original concept into a tight crazed-killer-with-a-hook who is hunting down four friends who did something very bad on the Fourth of July, during their "last summer of adolescence decadence". Directed by Jim Gillespie, what comes out the other end of the cinematic wood chipper is a jumpy and fun dead teenager flick, full of red herrings and a couple of quality kills along the way.

This doesn't have quite the same level of "wink-wink" humor as the Scream series, though Williamson includes a nice ramble about variations in urban legends, which wouldn't you know concerns a fellow with a hook for a hand. There's cryptic titular notes, dead bodies hidden strategically, and a killer whose motivation seems justified even if his need to wear a slicker EXCEPT for the climax doesn't really make any sense. Films like this don't change the world, nor do they carry any deep meaning about man's inhumanity to man or even remotely appear as examples of particularly good acting. They're dopey bits of jump-in-your-seat fluff, and this one does what it is supposed to do, which is put people in peril, threatened by a slow walking killer with a mean right hook. Literally.

I Still Know What You Did Last Summer (1998)
Director: Danny Cannon
01h:40m:27s

This high-gloss sequel has an immediate quality dropoff, and was directed by Judge Dredd's Danny Cannon. For inexplicable reasons the story is set on a remote island in the Bahamas, making the whole East-Coast-fisherman-with-a-slicker-and-hook look seem comical, but you see there's a hurricane coming so maybe it's not such a faux paux. Jennifer Love Hewitt and Freddie Prinze Jr. reprise their roles, set a year after the events of the original, and a quick throwaway line negates the entire shocker ending of the first film. Brandy and Mekhi Phifer are Hewitt's college pals (skew urban, check!), and Matthew Settle is the sensitive guy with a thing for Hewitt, and the four head to a tropical island after winning a radio contest, with Prinze Jr. spending his time racing to get down there because only he knows the killer is on his way. Because, you know, it's the Fourth of July.

The premise is ridiculous, the killer now kills many more random people (seemingly canceling out his entire philosophy), and it just seems that the entire plan is far too convoluted and complicated. Cannon boldly exploits Hewitt's wowzer body more here than was done in the first film, with her character less mousy and way more sexy, as witnessed by the tanning booth sequence, if nothing else. Yes, we get it: big boobs. Small parts by Jeffrey Combs, Bill Cobbs and an uncredited Jack Black (as a wacky dreadlocked drug dealer) are glimmers of goodness in an otherwise dreadful script and a by-the-numbers presentation that seems to give an ordinary killer be-everywhere-at-once superhuman abilities for no reason other than the genre demands it.

I'll Always Know What You Did Last Summer (2006)
Director Sylvain White
01h:32m:18s

Jump ahead from 1998 to 2006, for this straight-to-DVD sequel from director Sylvain White, as the "new" part of this box set. When a horror sequel to a horror sequel comes a good eight years apart, that usually indicates the new film is going to be, at best, a very loose connection to any semblance of the original concept. That applies here, as of course not only are none of the original stars are in it, but that it is set in the very unfisherman-friendly locale of dinky Broken Ridge, Colorado. It is set during Fourth of July festivities, which is the one common thread, aside from a quick two-sentence passing mention of the mythology of the earlier two films in the series. This, as you may have already guessed, is a simply a marketing stab at resurrecting The Fisherman character in what is ultimately a weak attempt to rebuild a horror franchise opportunity.

There isn't really much to brag about here, and as a horror film it just goes from Point A to Point B without much in between, and even the big zingers are expected and lack any degree of surprise at all. Penned by low-budget sequel-meister Michael D. Weiss (Octopus 2, U.S. Seals II, The Butterfly Effect 2), I'll Always... faithfully follows the setup from the first film, with a group of friends forming an "until we die" pact when a poorly planned prank goes wrong and someone dies, somehow prompting the rampaging vengeance of the slicker-adorned hook-wielding killer.

As expected, havoc ensues, red herrings surface, people die horrible deaths and in a shot at trying to give the franchise a lift the character of The Fisherman takes on an entirely new level of perpetual sequel-ready menace. The cast run and scream adequately, with Torrey DeVitto doing her best Angelina Jolie impression (and I mean that as the sincerest form of flattery) as tough rock chick Zoe edging out Brooke Nevin's nice girl Amber as the character I hoped would eventually kick the most ass.

On a positive note, this box set teaches one thing. It does leave us with another example of my law of diminishing return, as it applies to sequels. The first one worked for what it was (a slasher film), it had the Kevin Williamson stamp, and it was further aided by a cast of well-known, attractive leads. The second film tried to raise the bar by changing locales, but failed as being anything but a dull distraction. And then there's the "new" sequel, a straight-to-DVD title that seems to just follow a checklist of genre requirements without any real measurable sense of purpose. The only other good news is that we can hope the wacky variations on titles have about run their course, though I suppose I Still Will Always Know What You Did Last Summer is probably available.

Rating for Style: B-
Rating for Substance: C+

 

Image Transfer

 OneTwo
Aspect Ratio2.35:1 - Widescreen1.33:1 - P&S
Original Aspect Ratioyesno
Anamorphicyesno


Image Transfer Review:
I Know What You Did Last Summer
This looks like the same dual-sided disc from 1998, with a 2.35:1 anamorphic treatment on one side and 1.33:1 on the flipside, but given that this one looks quite good negates the whole repackaging bugaboo. Using the widescreen as a point of reference, the transfer carries warmly saturated colors and strong blacks throughout. The print itself is very clean, exhibiting no measurable grain and just some very minor artifacting.
B+

I Still Know What You Did Last Summer
As was similarly done with IKYDLS, this is one is just a repackaging of the better-than-average 1999 version. The dual-sided disc holds a a 2.35:1 anamorphic treatment on one side and 1.33:1 on the other. The movie may blow, but the transfer (using the 2.35:1 as test subject) is really well done, sporting all manner of bright colors and deep blacks. And this film spends much of its time lurking around in the dark, so the lack of muddy darkness and well-defined shadow delineation helps the cause here. Nice.
B+

I'll Always Know What You Did Last Summer
The 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer looks a little muted compared to other two titles in this set, and that excludes all of those intentionally color-corrected shots that are meant to look washed out. The color depth of the presentation is a bit anemic, but decent black levels do prevent the visuals from smearing into black nothingness. The print appears relatively clean, and carries some fine grain, but seems to be devoid of any major dirt or debris issues.B-

Image Transfer Grade: B

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0English, Frenchyes
Dolby Digital
5.1
Englishyes


Audio Transfer Review:
I Know What You Did Last Summer
Audio choices are the same as the 1998 release, in this case Dolby Digital 5.1 and 2.0 surround options. The 5.1 track gets the nod, and sells the jump scares nicely. Rear channel workout isn't overdone, but does handle the score to good effect, and the left and right fronts stretch out the spatial feel. Voice quality is sharp and clear.
B+

I Still Know What You Did Last Summer
If you're paying attention, it shouldn't surprise that the audio options here are the same as the original 1999 disc. Yo get Dolby Digital 5.1 and 2.0 surround to choose from, and it shouldn't take a rocket scientist to realize the 5.1 is the one to go with. Dialogue and voice clarity is clearly mixed, and it's a modestly aggressive mix, utilizing all five channels to sell the tension without overdoing it, punctuated by deep shots from the sub.
B+

I'll Always Know What You Did Last Summer
An average-for-a-low-budget-title Dolby Digital 5.1 track isn't shy about allowing the rear channels to boost the mood for the suspense, but the presentation never really attains the same degree of immersion as the other two titles. A bit of directional movement and the occasional sub rumble help the cause somewhat. A French 2.0 mix is also included.B-

Audio Transfer Grade: B

 

Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 68 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, French, Spanish with remote access
5 Original Trailer(s)
7 Other Trailer(s) featuring Can't Hardly Wait, Population 436, When A Stranger Calls, Hollow Man II, Hostel, London, Ultraviolet
Production Notes
1 Documentaries
2 Featurette(s)
2 Feature/Episode commentaries by Jim Gillespie, Steve Mirkovich, Sylvain White
Packaging: Box Set
Picture Disc
3 Discs
5-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extras Review: All three discs are housed in separate amaray cases inside of a cardboard slipcase adorned with an image of The Fisherman.

I Know What You Did Last Summer
Extras feature the very same commentary track from director Jim Gillespie, editor Steve Mirkovich and a third person I just couldn't identify that was found on the 1998 release. Gillespie and his Scottish accent fills the space here at a steady clip with tales of adaptations, landing Sarah Michelle Gellar, etc, but even as a casual fan of IKWYDLS I really felt no compulsion to look under the hood for more background info on this one.

There's a two-page booklet with some rather generic production info, along with one trailer for the feature (the "cleaned" up version). The disc itself cut into 28 chapters, with optional subtitles in English, French or Spanish.
B-

I Still Know What You Did Last Summer
A craptastic load of nothing here, all of it leftover from the 1999 issue. A quickie EPK (05m:39s) paints this one like it's much bigger and more self-important than it really is. And to seal the deal on the crappiness, there's the laughably laughable Jennifer Love Hewitt music video (03m:30s) for How Do I Deal? (the song plays over the closing credits).

There's a two-page booklet with broad production info, and the disc is cut into 28 chapters, with optional subtitles in English, French or Spanish.
C+

I'll Always Know What You Did Last Summer
There's a commentary here from director Sylvain White, who seems like a likeable guy and who also seems pleased with his film. No disrespect intended, but I think the audience for this commentary is going to be small, as the film itself isn't all that great, but still if you're curious about the usual dose of production tales, jump in.

Similarly, The Making of I'll Always Know What You Did Last Summer (026m:39s) runs on a bit long, but like the commentary, shows a whole gaggle of cast and crew who seem genuinely tickled with the project, so who am I to dump on their fun.

Others extra include a bunch of spooky trailers but no insert booklet, plus the disc is cut into 12 chapters, with optional English or French subs.C-

Extras Grade: C+

 

Final Comments

Obsessive-compulsive slasher completists may want this new three-disc box set, but that seems a high price for only one new film. And considering the new sequel is a sadly predictable low-budget horror title, it is hardly a justifiable enticement. For my money the original is about the only salvageable entry in the series (Jennifer Love Hewitt AND Sarah Michelle Gellar), so my advice is just pick up the single disc version of I Know What You Did Last Summer and then move on with your life.

 


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