A loose remake of director Mark Rosman’s utterly forgettable 1983 teen slasher effort House on Sorority Row, this revamp, now titled just Sorority Row, is simultaneously both impressive for its ability to cram every horror movie convention into 101 minutes and also depressing for its inability to do anything. Better than both Halloween 2 and The Final Destination, it should entertain the Fangoria Fan Club if nobody else.
The story, for those who care, involves a group of sorority sisters, all devoid of human decency, who come up with a bird-brained prank as a way to get revenge on a cheating boyfriend. The boyfriend, Garrett (Matt O’Leary), for his part, plays the fool perfectly as he’s all too eager to drug Megan (Audrina Patridge) and take advantage of her in bed. This plays right into their hands as soon she’s faking her own death and being dragged out to the middle of nowhere by her sisters to be buried. The plan, as plans will do, goes awry and soon enough the girls have a real corpse on their hands. As far as cinematic tragedies go this one is borderline laughable; one less bulimic, elitist princess is hardly a cause for tears.
From there the film skips ahead a few months to their graduation. They have all worked hard to keep their secret but since this is a movie, somebody out there, obviously, knows. At this point it devolves into a standard killer flick with a crazed lunatic stalking the sisters using a demented tire iron as his weapon. Assuming we aren’t going to root for the serial killer, director Stewart Hendler gives us somebody more conventional to root for in the form of Cassidy (Briana Evigan).
We know that she is the good sister because she dresses in a wholesome manner and has already been pegged as the scapegoat by the rest of the horrible, vacuous lot if their dark secret is ever publicly revealed. This provides a problem for the audience since Cassidy has no redeeming values other than a mildly cute face. She seems to spend the majority of the movie wandering around muttering about how they “should go to the police.” Any rational viewer will find much more logic in the thinking of the killer. Upon being discovered, he justifies his bloody rampage by pointing out that his victims were just "sitting around circling each others fat, drinking their lives away." It’s hard to argue with that assessment really.
It must be mentioned that the film does occasionally display the spark of imagination. One scene finds a girl tiptoeing through a massive bubble bath that has engulfed an entire front yard with the killer lurking somewhere nearby. Also on offer is also a stomach-churning slaying involving creative use of a liquor bottle that leave an impression. However, you’re best bet is to accidentally discover this mess on late night cable during a bout of insomnia when your brain is soft and thus better able to appreciate the mindless folly on display.
The media has yet to tire of telling us that in this economy every penny must be pinched and every problem purchases eliminated, and this certainly falls into the problem purchase category. In better times paying good money to watch scantily clad sorority girls getting slaughtered might have been understandable. But nowadays you should demand more for your $12 than weak-kneed versions of the same sex and violence that you can get for free on the Internet.
Starring: Briana Evigan, Margo Harshman, Carrie Fisher, Matt O’Leary
Director: Stewart Hendler
Runtime: 101 minutes
Studio: Summit Entertainment
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