Officially, the I Know What You Did Last Summer franchise is joining the requel lineup. It’s the update either you didn’t know you wanted or you’re ecstatic about, any hints of annoyance for another legacy sequel is just fleeting disbelief. Jennifer Love Hewitt and Freddie Prinze Jr. are in talks to come back, their return working wonders with the franchise’s theme of revisiting the past and old secrets, ripe for the Fisherman’s return.
In Scream (2022), Mindy (Jasmin Savoy Brown) explains the legacy sequel, even if no one else in the scene understands what she's going on about. “See, you can’t just reboot a franchise from scratch anymore, the fans won’t stand for it,” she exclaims, “but you can’t just do a straight sequel either, you got to build something new, but not too new or the internet goes bug fucking nuts. It’s got to be part of an ongoing storyline, even if the story shouldn’t have been ongoing in the first place. New main characters, yes, but supported by and related to legacy characters."
The Past Will Always Haunt A Final Girl
After the success of Scream (1996), another one of Kevin Williamson’s scripts got quickly put into production. I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997) wasn’t satirical like Neve Campbell’s run-in with the Ghostface killer, instead it’s a throwback slasher flick. Four young friends have bigger worries than post-graduation plans after covering up a hit-and-run, followed up with equally bad judgment. Hot-headed Barry (Ryan Phillippe), beauty queen who hit her peak Helen (Sarah Michelle Gellar), quiet but stubborn Julie (Jennifer Love Hewitt), and the sweet, gallant Ray (Freddie Prinze Jr.) are hunted down by the man they think is dead, Ben Willis (Muse Watson), aka the Fisherman, who loves playing with his prey.
Barry and Helen, along with a few other victims, get the receiving end of Willis’ hook. Julie and Ray come close to an early grave, but they dismember Willis’ hand and get him tossed into the sea. The last minutes show Julie at college, adjusting to a new normal, when “I Still Know” is written on the shower door. She inches forward, right as a dark figure lunges at her. In the direct sequel, I Still Know What You Did Last Summer (1998), Julie suffers from nightmares, the original movie’s ending just one of these bad dreams. 1997 was not such a hot year for the girl, and 1998 isn’t any better, Julie is in a rocky long-distance relationship with Ray, and she decides to head off to a Bahamas trip with new college friends, like new best friend Carla (Brandy).
I Still Know has fun, not taking itself too seriously. Julie sees one of the villain’s threats on a karaoke machine while singing, “I Will Survive,” or there’s the aftermath of the Fisherman’s return, where he kills a maid, hiding the body behind a door with a “Do Not Disturb” sign on. The Fisherman is still Ben Willis, but his motives are not so simple. In a retcon, Willis now has a son who helps him with the killing, which defeats the purpose of the Fisherman’s first round of carnage. The ending is another repeat of the first’s final minutes, this time Julie and Ray are together but there isn’t any safety in numbers. Julie, while in her bedroom, sees the Fisherman under the bed, and it’s too late, she can only scream as he drags her under. I'll Always Know What You Did Last Summer (2006) doesn’t have Love Hewitt or Prinze Jr., instead this direct-to-video sequel leaves their fate dark and ambiguous.
“What Are You Waiting For, Huh?!”
Following the success of Scream (2022), IKWYDLS is having the chance at a legacy sequel. On Deadline, the news was confirmed with Jennifer Kaytin Robinson (Do Revenge) as director and Leah McKendrick as screenwriter, along with the return of Freddie Prinze Jr. and Jennifer Love Hewitt. Like in Mindy’s words, they will come back to support a younger cast, in keeping one Fisherman boot on the door to the past in order to keep things moving forward. Scream 4 (2011) sort of played with mixing in the past and the present. Despite discussing the trend of horror remakes at that time, it didn’t “fuck with the original,” keeping Sidney as the main storyline. Scream (or Scream 5) did a better job at focusing on a younger, newer cast, the legacy survivors are there, but sisters Tara (Jenna Ortega) and Sam (Melissa Barrera) get the hunting knife passed down. Scream shouldn’t be the only legacy sequel IKWYDLS looks too for influence, however.
Halloween (2018) kicked off this nostalgic return to OG slashers, throwing down the red carpet by bringing back horror royalty Jamie Lee Curtis as Laurie Strode, older, armed, and hellbent on burying her monster. In David Gordon Green’s trilogy, unlike Scream, the older cast got more of a focus, with character returns from Lindsey (Kyle Richards) and Tommy (Anthony Michael Hall), plus introducing new faces like Laurie’s daughter Karen (Judy Greer) and Deputy Hawkins (Will Patton). IKWYDLS shouldn’t be afraid to give some love to its older actors, their roles can be just as investing. But the bigger purpose to this Halloween trilogy, is the resolution it gives to Laurie Strode, herself as much of a horror icon as Michael Myers (James Jude Courtney). And if Julie and Ray need anything, it’s some damn good resolution. No nightmare-fake outs nor open-ended, last minute jump scares from the Fisherman.
Potentially, this new IKWYDLS can follow two routes. It can take place after the original movie or the direct sequel. Should it do the latter, Brandy can (and should) return as Carla, her best friend to a Final Girl actually turning into a Final Girl herself. That said, I Still Know did a lot of messy retconning for the titular villain, adding family to Ben Willis and even giving a backstory related to the resort Julie gets lured to. Taking place after the original might make more sense, with the original movies playing crucial starting points to the relaunch of Halloween and Scream.
The ‘90s Will Get Its Hook Into You
Will it involve a fishing village? As important as Haddonfield and Woodsboro are, it’s unknown if this new story will go back to Southport, North Carolina. It’s certainly atmospheric, this fishing town full of dark alleyways by nightfall, and the nautical-themed celebration that runs throughout the 1997 movie adds a flavor to the setting. I Still Know has a strong, moody location, the Bahamas resort all abandoned due to the hurricane season, lightning flashing through the windows, and severe rain pelting everyone when they step outside. This isolation to the setting is the best part of these two installments and the legacy sequel shouldn’t forget it.
Will it be set on July 4th or involve a hit-and-run? Maybe it’s time to change the formula up. I'll Always Know leaves out the vehicular manslaughter for a prank gone wrong, while the date remains July 4th, although this one brings in supernatural elements with a zombified Fisherman, à la Jason Voorhees. The Amazon Prime reboot went back to the basics, sort of, as there isn’t any Fisherman-looking killer, a July 4th date when the central, complicated mystery starts, but it's more like Euphoria than anything close to the original movie.
Leaving out the Fisherman would be a missed opportunity, the villain is a tantalizing design for a horror villain. The rain slicker hides a face, turning a body into a shadow and the swish of the slashing hook can shake up your reflexes like a revving chainsaw. And Muse Watson, once a grizzled, older menace, can be a grizzled, even older menace, his growling intensity great fuel for the first movie’s finale. It could be useful to the new installment too. If his return is considered too much of a leap of logic, let’s not forget what was happening back in ‘97 and ‘98. Julie keeps seeing dead bodies in places, and after she brings people to see, somehow the Fisherman has cleaned everything up. A leap of logic probably won’t be enough to bring back Sarah Michelle Gellar — a tribute to the late Helen Shivers isn't too much to ask though.
Having Jennifer Love Hewitt and Freddie Prinze Jr. back will feel like a legit entry to the franchise, after a disappointing third movie and the canceled Amazon Prime series after one season. In what will probably be titled I Know What You Did Last Summer, the new installment might be what saves the franchise, a hard one to keep buried, but one which hasn’t been very lucky. Julie and Ray’s next encounter with the Fisherman should be a blast from the past in all the best ways.