The main female protagonist of the first two films. One night, on the fourth of July, she and her friends accidentally run over a man and leave him to die. They make an agreement not to talk about it. The next year she and her friends and acquaintances, who had little to nothing do with the incident, are all stalked by a serial killer who knew what they did. It's revealed that the so-called innocent man they ran over was the killer himself, and wasn't so innocent to begin with.
In the second film she wins a vacation to the Bahamas, and goes along with her friends, but is once again stalked by the killer. She ends up confessing the truth to her new friends, and one of them is revealed to be the killer's son.
- Action Survivor: She does shoot the Fisherman about eight times.
- Alliterative Name: Julie James.
- Badass BoastJulie: Just. Fucking. Die!
- Brainy Brunette: Julie has dark hair and was a straight-A student before the accident.
- Fanservice: Jennifer Love Hewitt running around in a tanktop? And then there's her bikini scene in the second movie...
- Genki Girl: used to be a fun-loving, outgoing girl until the car accident that almost killed Ben Willis.
- Girl Next Door
- Happily Married: To Ray as of the end of the second film.
- My God, What Have I Done?: Her reaction to covering up the accident.
- Nice Girl
- Official Couple: With Ray.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: We don't know if the end of the second movie was a dream, and the third movie doesn't really help. The third movie implies she was indeed killed by the Fisherman, who was a ghost by that point.
The main male protagonist of the first two films. He was one of the teenagers who run over a man on the fourth of July. While he promised not to speak of it, Ray decides to look into it for closure. He is briefly suspected to be the killer himself before Ben reveals himself. Together, Ray and Julie defeat the killer, but still don't confess of the incident.
In the second film, he and Julie are in a relationship. When Ray discovers the killer is still alive, and when Julie heads to the Bahamas, he ends up having to go rescue her and her friends. They manage to kill Ben and his son for real in the final showdown. A year later, he and Julie move in together.
- Action Survivor
- Big Damn Heroes: Especially in the second movie.
- Determinator: In the second movie, having a broken arm, sailing alone through a hurricane, and having painkillers as his only form of medical treatment was not enough to stop him.
- Happily Married: As of the end of the second film, with Julie.
- The Hero: Had to save Julie twice.
- Official Couple: With Julie.
- Red Herring: In the first movie, he is briefly suspected of being the killer.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: Like Julie, his fate is unknown after the second film though it's possible that he was killed with her.
Julie's Best Friend and Barry's girlfriend. She was one of the teenagers who hit the Fisherman in the first place. It all started when she one local beauty pageant, and her friends went celebrating. The Fisherman apparently knew this because the next year he broke into her house and shaved her head. She is slashed to death shortly after her boyfriend. In the second movie, it's shown that Julie still misses her.
- Action Girl: The only one to give the Fisherman a run for his money. She puts up more fight than anyone else during her chase scene. It doesn't save her, though.
- Break the Cutie: Her entire life more or less spiraled downwards since the teens hit Ben Willis.
- Damselin Distress: The only one that was targeted the most.
- Death by Adaptation: Lives through the book, but not the film.
- The Determinator: Puts up quite a chase when the Fisherman attacks, and even puts up a struggle when he attacks her one last time.
- Fallen Princess: Helen's lifelong dream was to become a famous actress. A year later, her career failed horribly, she's more or less a joke, and is forced to work for her older sister, Elsa, who hates her.
- The Fashionista: Very much into her own looks, thus why the Fisherman cuts off her hair.
- Girly Girl: Very feminine in style and interests.
- Go-Getter Girl: She moved to New York to pursue an acting career. It didn't work out.
- Kill the Cutie: Poor Helen...
- Lovable Alpha Bitch: Although a bit shallow and self-centered, she is very friendly and nice to everyone.
- Nice Girl: Genuinely a nice person who treats everyone well.
- Ms. Fanservice: Thanks to the beauty pageant, which includes a bikini contest.
- Parental Abandonment: Implied. Helen's father only has one scene. In it, he's too focused on a football game to even acknowledge his daughter's existence.
- Sacrificial Lion: Raise your hand if you thought she might actually make it?
- Tragic Dream: All her life she dreams of being an actress only for it to come crashing down around her. Even then, she keeps hoping. And then she dies.
- Why Won't You Die?: She literally went down fighting off the Fisherman.
Barry William Cox
Helen's boyfriend. He was one who made everyone promise not to talk about the accident. When the killer stalks them, he becomes paranoid that someone mouthed offed about the incident. The paranoia takes his Jerkass level Up to Eleven. He is killed during the second beauty pageant while Helen watches from the stage.
- Asshole Victim: Barry is the main reason they covered up the accident. He also knew that the guy who they ran over wasn't dead and didn't tell anyone.
- Berserk Button: He really didn't like being reminded of the hit and run.
- Death by Adaptation: Is shot in the book, but survives. Is killed in the film.
- Hot-Blooded: Just about every douchebag moment is fueled by his short temper.
- Jerk Jock: Hyper-aggressive, douchey jock.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: He redeems himself late in the movie when he promises he won't let anything happen to Helen. He spends his last moments proudly watching her at the next pageant.
The Fisherman/Ben Willis
The Big Bad of the movies - he starts off as a man who blamed his would-be son-in-law for his daughter's death since he survived the car wreck that killed her. On the way home from killing him, he is run over and left to die by the main characters. He survives and stalks them the next summer, killing anyone who stood in his way. When it was down to Ray and Julie, he was defeated and left to die, again.
In the second film he returns to exact vengeance on Julie and Ray, this time working with his son. He stalks Julie to the Bahama's during storm season so they can't leave. He is finally defeated and killed in the final showdown.
In the third film, he is made into an urban legend, and was the subject of a prank played by a new group of teenagers. Said prank ends up killing one of their friends. The next summer, someone is stalking them and they suspect a copycat killer. Turns out to be the original killer, who somehow was resurrected as a zombie/ghost-like entity.
- Asshole Victim: From the very beginning.
- Badass Longcoat: His primary attire.
- Big Bad: Of all three movies.
- Back from the Dead: In the third movie.
- Charles Atlas Superpower: He's able to carry a man on his fishhook with one hand.
- Cop Killer: Murders Officer Caporizo in the first film.
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones: His motive for the first murder was because he blamed the victim for his daughter's death. In the second film, he goes berserk when his son is killed.
- Kick the Dog: Out of all the people involved in the accident, he torments Helen the most, which isn't really fair since she wasn't the one who ran him over (Ray) and insisted on the cover-up (Barry).
- Knight Templar: Heavily implied in the third film.
- Luke, I Am Your Father: Is the father of Will Benson.
- Obviously Evil: The creepy guy with a hook and dark outfit is the killer? No way!
- Our Ghosts Are Different: His status in the third movie.
- Outliving One's Offspring: His daughter was killed in a car accident before the first film, and he accidentally kills his son late in the second film.
- Red Eyes, Take Warning: In the third movie after The Reveal.
- The Reveal: One per movie.
- First, that he's the killer and has been one since they night he got run over.
- Second, it's revealed he's still alive and his son is working with him.
- In the third film the "copycat" is none other then the original killer as a ghost or a zombie.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: His motivation in 1 and 2.
- Serial Killer: Goes with the slasher territory.
- Walking Spoiler: Hard to explain anything about him without spoiling who he is.
- Weapons of Their Trade: "The Fisherman" uses a longshoreman's hook as a weapon. note