Do You Wanna Know a Secret? (2001)

Do You Wanna Know a Secret? (2001)

Curiosity Kills

One year after the death of one of their friends, a group of rich teenagers plan to spend their spring break by partying in Florida. However they are tormented by a hooded killer who leaves them notes with “do you wanna know a secret” written on them and begins to kill them off one-by-one.

 

Do you wanna know a secret? Really? Are you positively sure? Well it’s not really a secret – this is abominable. I’ve seen a load of bad teen horrors in my time but this was one ranks up there with the worst. The film is just an exhausted rehash of ideas from an earlier, and dare I say it, superior film – I Know What You Did Last Summer. I never thought I’d hear myself say that but I have. At least IKWYDLS had Jennifer Love-Hewitt and Sarah Michelle Gellar in it as well as a simple, if silly, plot and some decent moments. All they’ve done here is take out the decent actors and replaced them with planks of wood, removed any stalk ‘n’ slash moments, in fact remove any slash moments period and come up with an even worse title.

Borrowing the generic-looking Scream-style front cover for the UK release as well as a few other bits and pieces from Wes Craven’s classic, I knew that this was going to be dreadful. I just didn’t brace myself for just how dreadful it was going to be. This one even goes so far as to have the killer write notes out saying ‘Do you wanna know a secret?’ and leaving them lying around for his victims to see. Is ‘Do you wanna know a secret?’ the best knock-off line that they could come up to match ‘I know what you did last summer.’ I mean anything could be scarier than the feeble question that is muttered by the killer at the end of this film. I almost cried when he whispered “do you wanna know a secret?” in the finale. Ah stop it with that damn question already, it’s annoying as hell. The line sounds like something you’d run around in a playground shouting when you’re six.

The finale is your usual Scooby Doo-style moment where the killer unmasks and spends the next half of the film explaining why they did what they did. Whatever happened to a maniac killing people for no reason? Director Thomas Bradford seems to not understand the genre he’s working in here. There’s no suspense or tension. The film has an annoying tendency to cut away from the death scenes and then show us the victim a few minutes later with the handiwork all completed I think that we see one half-decent death scene and the rest are off-screen. The killer costume is pathetic when you do actually see them but I wouldn’t bother because they’re hardly on screen. Every Halloween, the cheap pound shops in the UK get knock-off Ghostface masks for kids to wear on Halloween – well that’s where they’ve found this mask! The killer also wears the hooded robe made popular by Mr Ghostface. You’ll be able to spot the killer and the ‘big twist’ right from the very start of the flick and it’s a chore to have to sit through and prove yourself right. There’s no gratuitous nudity either although it’s not as if there’s any lookers in here like the lovely Miss Hewitt and her cleavage. Damn these late 90s/early 00s slashers for trying to re-invent the formula of not showing skin!

Token black guys, token sluts, token Latinos (hey they’ve got to keep their ethnic quota high), token jocks…you name it, they’re here. Nowhere in the world do these people hang out as friends so I wish films would stop forcing these groups upon us. Give me a group of jocks, a group of sluts (preferably) or a group of token black guys and I’ll at least be interested in characters. But when they’re just churning out the same junk as usual, it’s not fun to watch. The script will make you cringe, not only at it’s incompetence in trying to conjure up an interesting story but in trying to make the characters all sound cool and hip.

The plot is so thin and based around one flimsy idea that the film has to pad it out with sub-plots about FBI investigator with personal vendettas and butting heads with the Florida police force. The pacing is off from the get-go and nothing happens during the course of the film. Finally towards the end, the script suddenly remembers it needs to kill off the cast and does so in a matter of minutes. The film should have gotten messy at this point with blood flying but as I’ve already said, it’s a relatively dry affair with a smattering of slit throats to try and appease gore fans. It won’t do!

 

I never wanted to know a secret less than I did after finishing watching Do You Wanna Know a Secret? Truly one of the worst slashers to come out of the teen horror boom.

 

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