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SYFY WIRE I Know What You Did Last Summer

The Ending of I Still Know What You Did Last Summer, Explained

If only Julie and Karla knew their geography a bit better, a whole lot of bloodshed could have been avoided.

By Josh Weiss
Jennifer Love Hewitt and Brandy holding on to one an other with fear in their eyes in I Still Know What You Did Last Summer (1998)

Quick! What's the capital of Brazil? If you answered "Rio de Janeiro," you might have a stalker in the form of a hook-handed maniac looking to exact revenge after you accidentally hit him with your car and tried to hide the evidence two summers ago. Oddly specific? Yes. The plot of I Still Know What You Did Last Summer? Also yes!

Picking up two years after the events of the first movie, the 1998 sequel (now streaming on Peacock) finds Julie James (Jennifer Love Hewitt) haunted by the memory of fisherman turned gaslighting serial killer Ben Willis (Muse Watson), whose body was never found. Without any sort of closure, she finds it difficult to visit home and spend time with her boyfriend and the only other survivor of Ben's massacre, Ray Bronson (Freddie Prinze Jr.). 

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Hoping to get away from her paranoid thoughts, Julie goes on an all expenses paid vacation to the Bahamas with her college roommate, Karla (Brandy), and their two friends: Tyrell Martin (Mekhi Phifer) and Will Benson (Matthew Settle). The relaxing island getaway turns into a living nightmare when a powerful typhoon makes landfall and a new killing spree begins afresh. Is it Ben Willis back from the dead or has a new psycho taken his place?

The ending of I Still Know What You Did Last Summer explained

The vacation from Hell reaches its zenith with the earth-shattering reveal that Will Benson is actually the son of Ben Willis. "Benson" has been code for "Ben's son" this entire time! What's more: it was Will who posed as the radio jockey offering up the free getaway at the start of the movie. If only Julie and Karla knew their geography a little better, this entire mess could have been avoided. Let that be a lesson to all of you kids slacking off in social studies class.

In any case, Will and his hook-handed pops have been responsible for all the resort murders, and plan to cap off their revenge-driven killing spree by taking Julie's life and burying her corpse in a freshly-dug grave. Before they can go through with it, however, Ray shows up with his pawn shop firearm. Not only did he travel all the way to an isolated island in the Bahamas on his own, but he did it with an injured arm in the middle of a tropical storm. If that's not an example of true love, folks, then we don't know what is.

Ray's big hero moment is somewhat stymied by the fact that the gun doesn't fire on the first go, allowing Will to tackle him to the ground and start whaling on his ass. Being a thoughtful son, Will offers the honor of killing Julie's boyfriend to his dear old dad. Ray is forced to stand up and remain steady as Willis Sr. moves in for the kill. At the last minute, Ray smashes Will in the face, getting out of the way just as Ben drives the hook deep into his son's chest, accidentally killing him instead.

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Realizing his grave (no pun intended) mistake, Ben lets out a demented howl of anguish and tries to take another stab at Ray when he's shot several times in the chest by Julie. "Just f—ing die," she says through gritted teeth as the killer falls backwards and into the muddy hole intended for her. The storm finally breaks as Julie and Ray make their way back to the resort to await a rescue team alongside Karla, who has also survived the ordeal.

Do Julie and Ray Die at the End of I Still Know What You Did Last Summer?

Some time later, Julie and Ray are married (or engaged at the very least) and happily living together in the suburbs. All seems well for the couple until one drafty night when Julie discovers a window has been left suspiciously ajar. What she doesn't notice are the muddy footprints leading away from the window and into the house. Julie's paranoia is proved valid when Ben suddenly reaches out from under the bed and drags her away, mirroring the shower twist from the first movie.

The alleged plan was to bring Julie and Ray back for a trilogy capper, though it's hard to find concrete evidence for that internet-based claim. A third entry did emerge in 2006, albeit via the direct-to-video I'll Always Know What You Did Last Summer, which wiped the slate clean in terms of story. The IP went dormant for well over a decade until it was adapted for a single season of television in 2021.

Earlier this year, news broke that a legacy sequel (à la Halloween 2018 and The Exorcist: Believer) is in active development from writer Leah McKendrick and director Jennifer Kaytin Robinson. Jennifer Love Hewitt and Freddie Prinze Jr. are expected to reprise their characters.

And for the record, in case a radio show calls you out of the blue, the capital of Brazil is Brasília.

Craving some hook-handed slasher scares? I Still Know What You Did Last Summer is now streaming on Peacock alongside I Know What You Did Last Summer and I'll Always Know What You Did Last Summer.