Syfy Insider Exclusive

Create a free profile to get unlimited access to exclusive videos, sweepstakes, and more!

Sign Up For Free to View
SYFY WIRE I Know What You Did Last Summer

I’ll Always Know What You Did Last Summer: The Slashing Sequel You Probably Didn’t Know Existed

It’s cheesy, sure, but the direct-to-video third installment in the horror franchise slashes to a low-fi beat of its own.

By Benjamin Bullard
Zoe (Torrey DeVitto) screams as a large hook approaches her face in I'll Always Know What You Did Last Summer (2006).

Even hundreds of miles from shore, urban legend-obsessed high school kids just can’t get away from the Fisherman — or at least his dark and deadly reputation for hooking the hapless bodies of coastal-lurking teens. That’s the setup for I’ll Always Know What You Did Last Summer (streaming on Peacock here), the seldom-seen second sequel in the I Know What You Did Last Summer slasher franchise that flew way, way beneath the famous first film's radar when it debuted directly to video back in 2006.

Don’t expect big returning names like Jennifer Love Hewitt, Freddie Prinze Jr., Mekhi Phifer, or Brandy in this low-fi, cheaply-made continuation of the IKWYDLS slasher series… though that’s not necessarily a bad thing. I’ll Always Know instead gets by on a sorta-fresh story take on the franchise’s larger mythology, populated by a cast of lesser-known actors and shot in a fuzzy film style that almost aggressively reminds you that this isn’t your parents’ (or at least your older siblings’) version of the original 1990s killer flicks.

How I’ll Always Know What You Did Last Summer shook up the franchise formula

The main thing to know about I’ll Always Know What You Did Last Summer is that it almost totally resets fans’ expectations in terms of the way these movies look and feel. Directed by Sylvain White (Stomp the Yard, Slender Man) and boasting a far less slick and more grainy (read: cheaper) film aesthetic, it's loaded with teenage horror-movie cheese. It’s bad for sure, but acceptably bad in a good way: the kind of horror-movie bad that’s at least entertaining when things inevitably fall short of actually being scary.

RELATED: 5 more '90s horror flicks that deserve a revival alongside 'I Know What You Did Last Summer'

This time out, the venue shifts to the fictional town of Broken Ridge, Colorado (totally meant to be confused, of course, with the actual town of Breckenridge), where ripples of the murderin’ coastal Fisherman tale from the first films have, by now, become fabled scare fodder for high schoolers far and wide.

(L-R) Lance (Ben Easter) looks frantic as Amber Williams (Brooke Nevins) cries on the cellphone.

At the center of the revived terror spree is Amber Williams (Brooke Nevin, a later alum of USA’s The 4400), the lynchpin high school senior in a deadly prank gone wrong at a big public event held on July 4th — a date that’s in sync, of course, with the murder-versary of the original film’s events. A year after their mutual friend dies in the unexplained joke-turned-accident, Amber and three of her friends are forced to revisit their vow of silence about the tragedy after a mysterious stranger bombs her phone with “I know what you did” texts — an ominous trigger for their lifelong agreement, one year after the pact, that “the secret dies with us.”

RELATED: Why I Know What You Did Last Summer Director Says 1998 Sequel "Killed the Franchise"

Just as with the first two movies, everyone’s introduced and teased as a possible suspect, from ex-boyfriend Colby (Final Destination 2 alum David Paetkau) to rocker-pal Zoe (Pretty Little Liars star Torrey DeVitto) to Amber’s new boy pal Lance (Ben Easter). One by one, each of them ends up exonerated from suspicion — typically by being on the receiving end of the real Fisherman’s hook — until the action steps up on the anniversary eve of the July 4th death that happened a summer ago.

Sure, you can see where all of this is headed from 100 miles away — and while there’s nothing groundbreaking or even marginally original about I’ll Always Know’s story or characters, it’s easy enough to take an idle interest in what these kids have gotten themselves into without absolutely hating any of them for tumbling and bumbling headfirst into slasher-movie stereotypes. In fact, more brand-name franchises that’ve lain dormant (or found themselves staling out as captives of their own formulaic success) should probably do what IKWYDLS at least attempts to do in this modestly dialed-back sequel.

Deputy Hafner's (KC Clyde) body hangs lifeless impaled on a forklift as a hooded dark figure watches.

With no marquee acting names and a scrappy budget, I’ll Always Know at least achieves a smart distance from its higher-profile predecessors. It wisely lowers the stakes, staging something far smaller (and more believably attainable) within its scaled-back slasher scope. In a bigger movie, a lot of the refurbished scary stuff of course would’ve fallen absolutely flat; here, it instead feels like a clever way to punch above its tiny-movie weight. It’s a reset button-switching sleight of hand we wish other tired franchises, many of which already stand on shaky street-cred ground with fans, would consider.

Late in the movie. I’ll Always Know does infuse one new lore element into the franchise, thanks to a supernatural twist that royally escalates the hard-to-kill stakes for the main baddie himself (as well as for potential future installments, perhaps).

RELATED: I Know What You Did Last Summer Had an Amazing 1990s Cast

What’s that, you ask? Welp, it turns out that the Fisherman isn’t just mere mortal flesh and blood; he’s actually a sort of immortal spirit entity, vulnerable — like a vampire, kinda — only to a specific type of attack that mystically whittles away at his indestructible nature. Amber works out the details while she’s fleeing for her life, figuring out his weakness just in time to survive the July 4th ordeal she’s living through. But surviving isn’t everything; just as the movie’s “gotcha” ending scene teases, there’s still plenty of hidden mythology surrounding this killer creep just waiting to be discovered.

On the one hand, turning the Fisherman into a Freddy Krueger-style comeback slasher seems like a cheap and easy move in a franchise that’s always forced its fictional killer to play by reality’s rules. On the other hand, though, the supernatural angle does makes sense in a different kind of context. It definitely gives the I Know What You Did Last Summer franchise a reason to keep on telling more of its larger story in potential future films (like the much-rumored revival that’s even teased the possible involvement of Prinze and Hewitt), while putting a convenient explanatory bow on both the immediate sequel’s story itself… as well as the “Always Know” in its ominously omniscient title.

Stream I’ll Always Know What You Did Last Summer on Peacock here — and stick around to complete the Fisherman’s deadly trifecta with the original I Know What You Did Last Summer (streaming here) and I Still Know What You Did Last Summer (streaming here), its 1998 sequel.