Monday, 9 July 2012

I Still Know What You Did Last Summer

1998, US, Directed by Danny Cannon
Colour, Running Time: 100 minutes
Review Source: Blu-ray, Region B, Sony; Video: 2.39:1 1080p 24fps, Audio: Dolby TrueHD

Hard to believe that this was released a decade and a half ago, give or take a little.  I Know What You Did Last Summer was of course a big hit in cinemas, blazing hot in the smoke left by Scream, and you'd think the success had been preempted considering the speed with which this sequel was rushed into production.  Abandoning logic from the starting line, the second movie has Julie James consistently plagued by nightmares about Mr Fish-hook himself, Ben Willis.  Lucky for her then that she is invited on a trip to the Bahamas when her friend wins a radio competition.  Asking her old flame Ray along she eventually pairs up with the more geeky Will when Ray, unbeknown to her, runs into a little accident on his way to warn them of the terrors to come.  Arriving at the remote island they're rather perturbed to discover it's close of season (no wonder they were giving the f**ker away) and they're pretty much the only holiday (and love) makers there, aside from the resident drug dealer, hotel owner, and one or two other pieces of cannon fodder for later.  Not only that, it's just entering the rainy season and an endless streak of bad weather (not unlike what we're currently experiencing here as part of the UK's wonderful summer) hits the island, plus exit boats are cancelled.  Not only that, but Willis appears to have returned from the dead, fish-hook and raincoat intact, and this guy is real pi**ed at everyone.
Initial opinion of the sequel wasn't good and, looking at general online opinions now, it still isn't!  I watched it first of all via a TV broadcast about ten years ago, and I concurred with what I'd previously heard at that point.  Anyway, the Blu-ray was going fairly cheap online, and having picked up the US Blu-ray of the first film a couple of years ago (it's not, at time of writing, available on Blu in the UK for mysterious reasons) and finding it a source of primal enjoyment, I quite fancied checking this out again.  The film is riddled with cliché, a factor which once upon a time repelled me.  The teens are quite typical of the slasher arena, and every one of them is so corny they almost deserve to be blasted off into space.  The bad boy here is also a cut and paste job, copycatting anything from Halloween to Friday The 13th Part... whatever.  Strangely, however, what I found on this viewing was that the film goes down extremely well with several glasses of spirit: I haven't had so much fun watching a film for ages!  It's difficult to know with certainty whether they were serious when producing this nutball killer-stalks-good-looking-teens outing, but my suspicions that tongues were actually in cheeks were roused by the appearance of Jack Black as a white drug dealer who thinks he's black (still a twerp here, but an loosely amusing twerp for a change) and, more resolutely, Jeffrey Combs (Re-animator himself) appearing as the hotelier - very funny, particularly as the teen characters are all obliviously taking seriously a man we know is there for subtle laughs.  And of course, Jennifer Love Hewitt looked as hot as a branding iron back in these days, and she adorns an array of skimpy, tight-fitting outfits throughout (oddly, and frustratingly, retaining her bikini even whilst taking a sunbed - what, does she want tan lines?!?).  Add to this a bit of gore and some potty but enticing suspense sequences, this is a fun ride from start to finish, and well executed at that.  Whether I could say the same while sober could be another matter.

What's not quite so pleasing as Love Hewitt's shape and everything around it is this Blu-ray presentation - a very lazy disc from Sony.  The image is certainly colourful but rarely does it remind the viewer of a high definition transfer, not often rising much beyond standard definition in fact.  There is a softness throughout that makes this feel like a lost opportunity, particularly given the exotic cinematography and locations on display.  Conversely, the audio track is knockout, and possibly a step up from the DVD I would imagine.  Extras are absolutely pitiful: we get a crap music video of Love Hewitt embarrassing herself as a wannabe pop star, attempting to emulate every other boring modern pop video I've ever had the misfortune of catching; we get a two or three crap trailers; finally we get one of those pi**awful EPK things - five minutes of people talking sh*t, intercut with anything remotely exciting from the film we've just sat through.  The BD for the first film was much better, and more satisfying all round.  My advice: if you haven't got I Still Know... but want it, pick up the Blu-ray because the picture will be marginally better and the audio track is good demo stuff; if you have got the film on DVD, I hate to say it but it's probably not worth upgrading to this disc unless you can get it dirt cheap (at the same time as getting rid of your DVD for a roughly equivalent price...).

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