The hotel resort and private island are narrative geographies that make for excellent thematic and atmospheric tools for artists to explore, particularly within the horror genre. On and in them we are asked to learn the new rules of these locations- how to behave, how to rebel, and how to look for clues. Scooby-Doo owes much to I Still Know What You Did Last Summer, although it amplifies the private island’s weirdness, the background magic schtick, and the artificiality of resort life. It proposes that our reality might be a fantastical simulation, whereas I Still Know What You Did Last Summer‘s group arrives to find that the resort is ‘dead’- a time of exception where the fantastic becomes mundane, more boring than back home.
It’s a non-time within a non-space, supervised by no one and inhabited by the dregs with nothing better to do than wait for it to mean something again. The difference between the dead resort and the mainland is that there are no police or military on the island, and no families or jobs to distract the group from just being useless. Dislocated as citizens and circumstantially unable to tourist, they cannot even order drinks or chill by the beach. The dead resort becomes a slumber party in a house with no parents, in an impossibly remote area, with a killer outside. It is a party where a bunch of people did not turn up when they said they would, where the alcohol has vanished, and where one of the few people that did turn up was a total creep that ruined Jennifer Love Hewitt’s vibe. And your cousin’s dealer was there and he was stingy and embarrassing and would not leave. The best thing about slasher movies from this period is that they are full of a kinetic energy that was lacking in their static post-giallo forebears. They are like the most intense hide and seek games ever put to film.
Because I Still Know What You Did Last Summer happens remotely and with very little sense of consequence, it floats by like a daydream hangover of the first film. It is similar to 2 Fast 2 Furious in this way, although because more Fast & Furious movies were released, 2 Fast 2 Furious now takes on the hallucinatory quality of a story that Roman still tells about his and Brian’s best summer ever. I x What You Did Last Summer on the other hand ended here. It seems too sweet, too relaxed to tie things up, which makes for a poignant end to JLH’s journey. The inference is that she is the slasher itself, a kind of Prometheus destined to die again and again and again wherever she goes and whatever she does. At her college, on an island resort, in the house she has just moved into with her husband, she will die. In Scooby-Doo the private island made reality hyperreal, and in I Still Know What You Did Last Summer her trauma makes reality her hell.
Slashers are said to punish teenagers for being teenagers, I x Know What You Did Last Summer punishes them for wanting forgiveness. It is a curiously wistful daydream that is beautifully shot, paced like a television soap, and ends with a sigh the moment we wake up.