“I Know What You Did Last Election” begins dramatically, with the camera swooping high above an angry sea it reveals a lonely man sitting on a cliff overlooking the surf. The shot forebodes terror and doom, but, alas, it is not to be.
Like so many horror films, this one is set on a national holiday–the Fourth of July in the summer of 2020 leading up to the presidential election. In a small North Carolina town, a beauty pageant ends with Martha MacCallum being crowned the Fake News Queen. Blinking back tears of joy, she announces her plans: “Through Gaslighting, I shall serve my country.” We meet her friends: her obnoxious co-worker Chris Wallace; her chubby and clueless co-worker, Neil Cavuto, and unctuous anchor Bret Baier. Chris is a jerk who likes to get in fights and ask the President if he’s supports white supremacy as a way of accusing and smearing him. (“Can you say `race hustler’?” Neil asks him). They build a bonfire on the beach and debate the old urban legend about the teenage couple who found the bloody hook embedded in their car door. And then, driving home, they strike a shadowy figure walking down the road, only his MAGA hat, clearly visible.
In a panic, they dump him into the sea, even though he is not quite dead. They’re afraid to go to the police fearing manslaughter charges. (“This is your future, Neil,” Chris screams at him.) Martha, Bret, Chris and Neil then go back to New York for their fake news careers.
That’s when one of them gets a note that says, “I know what you did last election.” As they panic and try to find out who sent it–who knows what they did–the movie loses what marginal tension it has developed, and unwinds in a tedious series of obligatory scenes in which nonessential characters are murdered with a bloody hook wielded by the Fisherman, a macabre figure in a long slicker and a rubber MAGA rain hat.
“This is a fishing village,” one of the friends says. “Probably everybody has a MAGA hat.” Only the Fisherman does. And since the movie doesn’t play fair with its Fisherman clues, we’re left with one of those infuriating endings in which (danger! plot spoiler ahead!) the murders were committed by none of the above, but there’s a sense that Mark Levin might like to kill our main characters.
But for the rest of the time they’re blissfully unaware of the dangers of their continued promotion of fake polls and BS narratives, walking around at night alone, trying to investigate the situation themselves, going onto seemingly empty fishing boats, etc.