Saturday, September 8, 2012
Sorority Row (2009)
In 1996, the horror/slasher hit Scream revived the horror genre by making the characters self-aware of horror movies. Scream was also the first horror movie to have cast actors from television and helped in jump starting their careers. Taking notice of this, many new slasher films arrived that did just that such as I Know What You Did Last Summer, Urban Legend, Valentine, and many direct to DVD independent films. The slasher film finally tired itself out after 2001's Valentine on having a masked killer murdering High School and college kids. In 2003, New Line in association with Michael Bay put out their remake of the classic The Texas Chainsaw Massacre that was financially successful at the box office. Again, Hollywood took notice and cashed in with a never stopping series of remakes ranging from '70s/'80s horror films. Granted, we've seen some remakes that were actually good, but many have failed to stay a true horror film. 2009 saw many surprisingly good horror remakes such as My Bloody Valentine 3D, The Last House On The Left, and well Sorority Row. Even though the 1983 slasher, The House On Sorority Row, was a fun horror film, it's remake Sorority Row falls into the Scream/I Know What You Did Last Summer trend making for while not perfect but still a fun and entertaining slasher flick.
The sorority sisters of Theta Pi are having a wild party one night when they decide to pull a cruel prank on fellow sister Megan's cheating boyfriend Garret. Theta Pi's leading sister Jessica gives Garret some pills to put into Megan's drink to relax her. While making out, Megan acts like she is going into a seizure. Garret freaks out and tells the other sisters. Jessica tells Garret that Megan is dead, so they travel out to an old mine shaft in the middle of nowhere to dispose of the body. Unknown that the whole thing is a prank, Garret impales Megan through the chest with a tire iron. Everybody freaks out that Garret actually killed Megan. Everyone decides to wrap her body up and toss it down the mine shaft except for Cassidy. Scared of getting into trouble, the other girls force Cassidy into keeping their accident a secret. Eight months later, the sisters have graduated from college and are prepping to have one last sorority party before going out into the real world. Their fun turns to fear as a vicious killer shows up to murder the Theta Pi girls one by one along with anyone that gets close enough to finding out their secret.
I knew from watching the trailers that I would have fun watching Sorority Row because I was a fan of the mid to late '90s slashers consisting of Scream, I Know What You Did Last Summer, and Urban Legend. Many have said that Sorority Row is just a ripoff of I Know What You Did Last Summer, but it is a loose remake of the 1983 slasher flick, The House On Sorority Row. Maybe Mark Rosman who wrote and directed the original film got the idea from reading Lois Duncan's teen thriller novel, I Know What You Did Last Summer, which the 1997 slasher flick was based on. We've seen this plot before, but the movie was still fun and entertaining to watch.
The screenplay written by Josh Stolberg and Peter Goldfinger was not bad, but it did have some flaws and some horror movie cliche's as well. Since this is a remake in fact, the story is basically the same as the original House On Sorority Row. Sorority girls play a prank that ends in an accidental murder. They hide the body and keep the thing a secret. At their graduation party, a killer shows up murdering the girls one by one. In this movie, the girls accidentally kill their own sister instead of their house mother like in the original. The killer in this one uses a tire iron as a weapon with a knife attached to it unlike the cane in the original.
The characters vary quite a bit from each other. We get the bitchy Jessica, the scared and nerdy girl Ellie, the alcoholic Chugs, the sexually active Claire, and the good girl Cassidy. Some of these girls you will like and there are some that you will hate (Jessica rings a bell). I truly liked Cassidy and Ellie mainly because I could sympathize with them. Cassidy is the lead and I liked her a lot. Plus, she was very hot. I could really see how the guilt affected Ellie even though she got a bit annoying in areas when she was scared. Jessica was the bitch that was hot, but I loved to hate for all of the right reasons. Fucking rich twat! I actually felt bad for Garret since he actually killed his girlfriend. That would definitely fuck me up in that situation. We also get introduced to like three of the boyfriends of these sisters. The only one I knew was Andy who was Cassidy's boyfriend. The house mother Mrs. Crenshaw was cool too even though she wasn't in the movie a whole lot. All in all, the characters were pretty well established to where you knew who they were and liked or hated them.
The main reason I love to watch these slashers are of course the death scenes and the ones in this movie are pretty brutal. I thought that the killer's use of the tire iron as a weapon was great and how when you heard that thing scraping something that someone was about to get it. It reminded me of A Nightmare On Elm Street where Freddy would scrape his glove against something to tell the audience that he was lurking nearby. The killer's outfit was fucking creepy in my opinion. I loved the whole black hooded robe outfit, which just gives a creepy presence. My favorite death in the movie is that of Chugs where the killer plunged the bottle of alcohol down her throat then rams his/her tire iron blade through the bottle. Just great stuff there. My other favorite death was that of Claire's boyfriend. All in all, good kills that slasher fans will enjoy.
I do have some complaints about the movie though. There are a lot of red herrings in this film or in other words there's characters that the filmmakers want to trick the audience into thinking are the killer. This kinda got distracting especially near the end. They basically have you believing this one person is the killer then they finally reveal who the actual killer is. I know they also did this in I Know What You Did Last Summer and Urban Legend, but I think they went a little overboard here. Also, why must the killer have to explain why he/she is killing everybody? Just don't talk and try to kill the heroine, fight, then the heroine kills the killer and walks away. I also didn't really understand why this person was killing everyone in the first place. I think they should have done it like in The Prowler where the heroine is fighting the masked killer, the mask or hood in this case comes off revealing who it is before they get killed by the survivor girl. I did like it when the sorority house catches on fire though. The other thing I didn't like is the very ending. It just felt too generic. Other than those flaws, I thoroughly enjoyed this movie. Oh yeah, there are some topless sequences for all you horny guys out there.
The direction by Stewart Hendler is pretty good actually. He keeps the film paced well where you never get bored and are curious as to who the killer will be. Is it one of the sorority sisters? Is it Garret? Is Megan really dead? Or is it someone that you wouldn't expect?
The acting is pretty solid for the most part. I will say that some of the dialogue is pretty humorous at times. Briana Evigan is great as Cassidy. This is definitely a "step-up" for her. Leah Pipes steals the show here as the rich, hot, and bitchy Jessica. Call me. Margo Harshman is both sexy and funny as the party girl Chugs. I bet that bottle isn't the only thing she likes to suck on either hehehe. Jamie Chung made for a good flare kill as Claire. Rumer Willis did a decent performance as Ellie. Audrina Patridge did alright as the brief performance of Megan. Carrie Fisher fucking owns as the house mother Mrs. Crenshaw. Darth Vadar, you better back off because this Princess Leah has been living in a house with fifty crazy bitches! Matt O' Leary is overly hysterical as Garret here, but that's understandable since I don't know, he killed his own girlfriend. He's a good actor though. I liked him in Mom's Got A Date With A Vampire, Death Sentence, and Domestic Disturbance. And Julian Morris does alright as Cassidy's boyfriend Andy until the end of the movie. He's probably glad to be working on a real slasher unlike 2005's Cry Wolf.
Overall, Sorority Row is a fun and entertaining slasher flick. If you're a fan of films like Scream, I Know What You Did Last Summer, and Urban Legend then chances are that you will more than likely enjoy this one. This film is very different from the old '80s slashers including the original The House On Sorority Row. It has its flaws and isn't perfect, but still enjoyable. Just go into it as if it were still the mid to late '90's and you may be satisfied with it. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have some sorority bitches to kill with my trusty tire iron. THETA PI MUST DIE!