I Still Know What You Did Last Summer surprised me. I could see from the trailer that this second movie would have a different feel to the original (the first being more of a psychological thriller), but still it caught me totally off-guard. I Still Know... took a brave step away from the feel of its predecessor, and dared to be different - which is most probably why so many people disliked it. The opening scene displays a similar amount of emotion and tension that was visible ten minutes into the first movie, but then, in Love Hewitt's own words, the movie 'goes crazy'. In a good way...
British-born Danny Cannon's directing is top-notch, and his build up of atmosphere and suspense throughout the movie is well-paced. His style and obvious knowledge of Horror movies (as with the original) is a great benefit, and there are quite a few 'jumps' that work well.
With Williamson unwilling to return to script a sequel, my main fear was that the script would be appalling if written by a newcomer. Thankfully, Trey Callaway's script is both inventive and witty, and matches Williamson's style almost seamlessly. Although the characters are not quite as well developed, we are given enough interesting and chilling set pieces to keep things at an entertaining level.
The setting of the deserted tropical island is an inspired idea, and the isolation of the central characters adds much-needed suspense. This smart move helps to bring a new sense of unease and isolation to the film. By now, the overall feeling of unease apparent in the first has dissipated, but the atmosphere of the island is overpowering and the suspense almost unbearable as Ben creeps ever closer to conquering Julie.
Another good point - as with the first I Know... - is that all the characters are genuine and likeable. While they are a little under-developed, what we do see of them helps the viewer to understand and like them. Between Karla's happy-go-lucky attitude, and bar-maid Nancy's dark sense of humor there is something quite special here. The acting is again of a high standard, and I was surprised at how well Brandy made the jump from TV comedy to full-fledged movie horror! Even supporting actors such as Matthew Settle (who played Will Benson) and Jennifer Esposito were extremely enjoyable, giving this movie a sense of realism that isn't all too apparent in many movies these days. The presence of Ben Willis is one that still sends chills down the spine, and Muse Watson's portrayal of a cold-blooded killer is unlike any other on-screen slasher in this day and age. Another welcome face (and one that spiced up the movie a little with his pompous hotel manager) is Jeffrey Combs, who is brilliant as the tight-lipped manager, and his death is a truly memorable and shocking moment (his subdued 'Duh!' still cracks me up).
The only disappointing thing about I Still Know... is the final epilogue scene. While the final shock worked effectively in the first movie and gave a great final scare, here it is rather predictable. Although it is handled well, and Love's final scream is one that is chilling to the extreme, it simply leaves the movie feeling unfinished.
A worthy sequel that is given way too little credit for trying to be different. While it may not suit everybody's taste, the great performances from all the principle cast (in particular Love Hewitt, who it was great to see back!), an original setting and artistic directing set this one above most teen slashers, and is one that should not be viewed alone on a dark night.