There was talk a long time ago, after "I Still Know What You Did Last Summer" had come and gone, that the "I Know..." movies were to be made into a trilogy, following suit of such franchises as "Scream". I remember reading on the net of a possible "I'll Always Know..." (perhaps the only remaining way to re-phrase the title of the original). But nothing happened - Jennifer Love Hewitt and Freddie Prinze Jr. went on to different things and the fans made peace with it.
Then, a year or so ago, I read that "I'll Always Know..." was in fact going to surface and that it was to be about a whole new set of characters running from the famous fisherman. Hmmmmmm. Not sure about that, I thought.
As a fan of these movies it was pure intrigue that made me buy and watch this film; I did not hold my breath though, knowing it had gone straight to DVD.
When a film entitled "I'll Always Know What You Did Last Summer" follows on from previous ones called "I Know" and "I Still Know" you expect it to be a continuation of the pre-existing story. But having read that Love Hewitt and Prinze Jr. weren't to appear I didn't expect that it would be. And in fact, it starts out totally separate from the first two - a group of kids on a fairground ride on July 4th discussing the "legend" of the hook-wielding fisherman. This then saunters into said kids acting out a full-on prank involving the fisherman, in order to scare their peers. Unfortunately, the prank goes hideously wrong and results in the actual death of someone.
This is when the story begins to take an identical path to "I Know...", with similar scripting, similar scenes and a similar overall route. It begins when the four leads sit around a fire and vow to take the fact that they were behind the prank-gone-wrong to their graves - just like the original. We then witness scenes that are mirror-images to "I Know...": the aggressive male accusing a peer of sending them threats; the two female leads sitting in a car questioning what happened to their friendship; a death at a small-town talent show. The only attempt at difference and separation is that the characters receive "I Know What You Did Last Summer" notes in the form of text message and written out in water by a swimming pool.
45 minutes in, the movie starts to become its own. Amber - the heroine - begins to do her homework and discovers that the "legend" derives from what happened to a group of teens a few years ago in a fishing town and then on a remote island in The Bahamas. This is where the "I'll Always Know" part of it begins to come into play and actually starts to relate back to the story of the original two films.
Without spoiling the end for curious viewers I shall only reveal that the killer is unmasked as someone you wouldn't think it to be despite actually being totally obvious - a revelation that's only half satisfying and extremely surreal. It's pleasing in that the killer actually has something to do with the previous films, but odd because, unlike "I Know..." and "I Still Know...", it takes on a supernatural element that is not in keeping with the theme and feel of this franchise. "I'll Always Know..." justifies itself by linking its story back to the original killer and scenario, but at the end of the day this series should not have been completed without the characters of Julie and Ray. With "I Still Know..." having been left open at the end (Julie's being dragged under her bed at the last-minute by Ben Willis), if there was ever to be an "I'll Always Know..." it should have contained the original survivors and no air of the paranormal.
I give this film 3 stars because, as a movie, it is reasonably entertaining. But as an "I Know..." film it is a let down. It copies the script of the original, but must be given credit for its attempts to add unique flavour via the surreal camera angles and alternative cinematography. Unfortunately though, this extra spice plays against the fact that it claims to make the "I Know..." films into a trilogy.
See it if you're an "I Know..." fan and want the complete collection. But watch with a wary eye, knowing full well that this is not a proper continuation of the first two and not a satisfying end to the trilogy. Will someone make a fourth and rectify the situation please! And if you do, make sure you get Jennifer back!