Attention, Hollywood. We at Screen It have come up with the perfect homicidal villain for a new horror film franchise. Like Jason, Freddy and yes, even Chucky, this character inspires fear among his victims, can't be stopped, and just keeps going and going and going.
He has a signature weapon -- a drum -- that he incessantly beats until he's driven his victims crazy. Finally, like many horror villains -- including the one from this week's film -- he has no personality or discernable traits beyond what he does best. He is...the Energizer Bunny.
While some teenage horror film afficionados may be offended by, or not see the sarcasm in that, I'd hope by now they'd recognize that films such as "I Still Know What You Did Last Summer" and its central bogeyman, Ben Willis -- the lamest and most inane horror villain to come along in decades -- aren't that scary.
Afflicted with the same curse that's plagued other horror films that have anything equal to or greater than the Roman numeral II in their title, this supposed cat and mouse thriller isn't remotely scary or very exciting. Since we already know the killer's identity, there's little suspense other than trying to guess which dimwitted character will next buy the farm.
Sure, there's the standard scary music, some scenes intended to make you jump from your seat, and the killer's slow pursuit and the gruesome murdering of his victims via his Captain Hook appendage. Even so, except for the very young or the faint-hearted, most viewers will find this latest trip to Stupidville a complete and fright-free bore.
One can only hope that in some future horror film the villain (perhaps our Bunny) will kill off those inhabitants -- you know, the ones you walk around in the dark, splinter into smaller groups to make the killer's job easier, and run down the middle of the road while being chased by vehicles, etc... -- thus preventing moviegoers from ever being subjected to such cinematic torture again.
The plot, written by newcomer Trey Callaway, sorely lacks the somewhat witty spark provided by "horror-meister" Kevin Williamson -- who wisely declined to participate in this film -- and takes an awfully long time to get around to the main attraction. Once there, it simply follows the same old recycled plan of having a deranged individual chasing and killing people. It makes you wonder what Jamie Lee Curtis is up to (oh yeah, she recently appeared in the equally bad "Halloween: H20").
The performances are standard fare for films such as this. Jennifer Love Hewitt ("Can't Hardly Wait" and TV's "Party of Five") returns from the original to look frightened, scream some more, and wear her trademark, ultra skintight tank tops (to show off her busty figure and lure in the teenage boys).
Brandy (TV's "Moesha" and the TV movie, "Cinderella"), who makes her feature film debut with this picture, is decent, but since her character is so shallowly written, one can't tell if she's got what it takes to make it on the silver screen.
Freddie Prinze, Jr. ("To Gillian on Her 37th Birthday," "The House of Yes") also returns from the original, but is relegated to supporting character status, while Mekhi Phifer ("Soul Food," "Clockers") does his best to jazz up his stereotypical, college-aged character.
As far as the villain goes, Muse Watson ("Sommersby," "Rosewood") is mildly menacing once he comes out from under his fisherman's slicker, but for the most part he seems like nothing more than the deranged offspring of Captain Hook and the Gorton's fisherman.
Director Danny Cannon, who also helmed the awful "Judge Dredd," tries to scare up some frightening scenes, but doesn't do much more than recycle some old, tired, and decidedly stereotypical clichés lifted from other "slasher" horror films.
In particular, he and Callaway miss the best opportunity to be somewhat unique and play with the moviegoer as they completely drop the ball regarding Julie's paranoid delusions and hallucinations. Instead of keeping the audience guessing about whether what Julie experiences is real or imagined, the film jettisons that element too abruptly.
By losing the "is it real or not" potential, the film is therefore forever doomed to becoming just another run-of-the-mill, poorly made and unimaginative slasher film. Although Hewitt and Brandy give the picture some star power, they clearly can't save this otherwise lame, and mostly fright-free fiasco.
Finally, to add insult to injury, even the title isn't correct. Since the original pivotal moment took place two years before this story begins, the title should be "I Still Know What You Did Two Summers Ago" or, better yet, "I Still Know The Critics Are Going To Hate This." Guess what? They're right. We give this film a 1 out of 10.