STARRING Jennifer Love Hewitt, Freddie Prinze Jr., Brandy, Mekhi Phifer, Matthew Settle, Jennifer Esposito, Muse Watson
DIRECTED BY Danny Cannon
What they did last winter was make a ton of money — $72 million — with a story about a bunch of high school kids who get stalked by the seemingly undead victim of their hit-and-run high jinks. This time around, Julie and pals (including pop singer Brandy, in her first big-screen role) have won a free trip to a tropical island — but guess who’s coming to the luau? ”It’s a year later, and they’re still getting over the trauma,” explains Cannon. ”So they try to get away and take a vacation, but it doesn’t quite work that way. There’s a lot more action this time, a lot more energy. And a great exotic location.”
What it doesn’t have is a script by Kevin Williamson, the Scream scribe who wrote the first Summer (the sequel is written by newcomer Trey Callaway). ”Kevin’s got like 20 projects going — he was just too busy,” says Cannon. ”But the characters are pretty established. They’ve got a life of their own.” Particularly Hewitt’s: ”She’s been really affected by what happened to her in the first movie,” says the actress. ”She’s scared of every little noise. She’s a lot more paranoid this time. The whole movie is a little crazier that way. There’s a lot more blood.”
”That’s the whole idea,” adds producer Neal H. Moritz. ”With a sequel, you’ve got to top the first one. You’ve got to make it scarier. So that’s what we’re trying to do — scare the hell out of people.”
Filming in Mexico, which doubled for the tropical isle, turned out to be a pretty scary scene in itself. ”We did a lot of stuff in a mango grove,” Hewitt recalls. ”There were all these scorpions falling out of trees. And there were beetles that peed this acid stuff. People were always whacking each other to get the bugs off. It was pretty gross.” Although apparently not gross enough to rule out a third Summer flick: ”I’d definitely think about doing another one,” she says. ”I mean, these aren’t the sort of movies that make you think you’ll win an Oscar, but they are a lot of fun to make.” (Nov. 20)
THE LOWDOWN While the first one was a surprise hit, this one comes with great expectations. And that extra gore will have to be pretty spectacular to make up for Williamson’s golden touch.