Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Sorority Row (2009)

Reviewed By: Billy

Finally…FINALLY…here’s a newly released horror movie that we at Tower Farm can really appreciate. Any film that brings together the powerhouse acting trifecta of Carrie Fisher, Rumer Willis, and Audrina Patridge is a surefire hit over in these parts, and let me tell you, the ladies do not disappoint. I’ve never seen the original The House on Sorority Row, but I’m guessing it has nothing to do with this movie, which might as well be titled I Know What You Did 8 Months Ago. It borrows so heavily from the Last Summer series that it's practically Part 4, not to mention throwing in liberal helpings of Black Xmas and Mean Girls. Basically, this movie combines the three genres we love best: sequels, remakes, and ripoffs.

Therefore, it’s the perfect movie.

Sorority Row plunges we, the viewers, immediately into the exciting world of Greek life…which, according to this movie, involves parties with lingerie-clad sorority girls performing a choreographed dance routine (yes…a line dance in the middle of a sorority house party) and a trampoline in the front hall where the girls have sexy pillow fights before adoring crowds of frat boys clearly in the late 20s/early 30s. Wow. This sure doesn’t look like any of the Greek parties I attended in college.

Then again, none of the sorority girls I knew were quite like those of Theta Pi. Sample dialogue, spoken by a girl nicknamed “Chugs”: “C’mon, roofie sex isn’t that bad. You get laid and you get a good night’s sleep!”  Classy.

Speaking of roofies, the basic plot here revolves around the old prank-gone-wrong scenario – in this case, a stupidly elaborate prank in which “Hills”-star Audrina Patridge pretends to overdose on the drug. The sisters then scare her boyfriend into driving her body to a remote mine where, believing that she’s really dead, he shoves a carjack through her chest. Oops!

Before I move forward, let me pause to make a few important points. Patridge, in her acting debut, is given three lines, each of which she delivers as if reading directly off a cue-card. Her top-billed role amounts to about two minutes of screen-time, essentially setting her up as the Janet Leigh “star-who-dies-early” of the movie. I’ll let that sink in for a moment…Audrina Patridge, of a trashy cable reality show, is the Janet Leigh of this movie.

Also important to point out is the scene in which the girls decide to throw Audrina’s body into the mineshaft and keep her death a secret. It is written/shot/acted exactly like the same scene in I Know What You Did Last Summer, right down to the main “good” girl being forced into silence. That “good” girl, Cassidy, is played by Briana Evigan.  Rumer Willis, meanwhile, is the nerdy sister that every horror movie sorority seems forced to accept. Willis, decked out in plastic Sally Jesse-glasses and a crazily tangled red Elvira wig, is a visual delight:

Anyway, 8-months later, you know what’s coming: scary text messages that might as well just say, “I Know What You Did Last Party.” By the way…are text messages capable of being creepy? I’m thinking…not. Anyway, red herrings immediately crawl out of the woodwork, ranging from Audrina’s bizarre sister to the boyfriend who killed her in the first place, who’s apparently gone crazy in the 8 months since.

The aforementioned Chugs is the first to die, and gets the honor of the most creative death. Chugs happens to be boinking her shrink in a trade-off for pills (and actually mentions – in the most sparkling, sophisticated dialogue of the year – playing the game “catch me, rape me”), and while drinking from a wine bottle at his office, this happens:

Awesome.

Next up, some totally random chick gets butchered in the shower. She’s not one of the main sisters, and didn’t actually have anything to do with the murder. The poor girl doesn’t even get a name, for Christ’s sake. But, what the hell…I guess it was a good excuse to get a shower scene featuring lots of boobs.

Speaking of boobs, if you thought the opening party scene was awesome, wait ‘til you see the Theta Pi graduation shindig. This time, we trade the trampoline and line-dancing for a yard full of foam and actual strippers! Again, let just say that I went to a large university that is actually known as something of a party school, and I never ended up at a party like this:

While the party would seem a perfect backdrop for the rest of the slayings, the script goes a little haywire here, as the girls drive all the way back to the mineshaft where, for no apparently reason, they actually lower Cassidy into the mine to see if the dead body is still there! Not that logic has played any role in this movie thus far…but seriously, they rig up a chain to lower a girl into a mineshaft to check on a dead body!! This movie is amazing. The scene accomplishes absolutely nothing except for padding out the script for a good 15 minutes, and you all know we at Tower Farm love some successful time padding.

Thankfully, before long, we get another murder, and this one’s a real winner. Ladies and gentlemen, may I present to you Carrie Fisher, doing her very best Margot Kidder impersonation:

So Carrie is the housemother, and for some reason she shows up toting a shotgun and hunting the killer while growling out dialogue including, “Please don’t think I’m afraid of you…I run a house with 50 crazy bitches!” The scenes of her stalking around the house and firing off at shadows are the stuff Tower Farm is built on, but unfortunately she ends being impaled in the kitchen.

So blah blah blah…more stuff happens and finally the killer is unmasked. It turns out that the killer – who throws tire irons with the skill of a ninja assassin and throws around adults with the strength of Hercules – is the scrawny school valedictorian who happens to be Cassidy’s boyfriend.

Why is he the killer? Umm…well…okay, it’s never really made clear. I think he did it for love or something.

Anyway, this movie is wonderful. And there’s really no way a single review can do it justice. The script, performances, etc. are so chock full of ridiculousness that the only way to fully appreciate it is to watch it over and over again. Which is what I intend to do. So, for now, I’ll leave you with the completely predictable rating:

FIVE FINGERS!!!

10 comments:

  1. I actually really wanted to see this!! The fact that you guys like mean I actually might pay to rent this!! =)

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  2. I actually ADORE this movie. You're right, it could have been Black X-Mas 2. My favorite bit had to be:

    Two sorority girls find a mangled dead body -

    (approximate dialogue:)

    Girl #1: Oh my god, it's that dead girl!

    Girl #2: Ugh, she looks AWFUL.

    HA!

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  3. I loved this movie too! I knew you guys would dig it. And yes, the reveal of the killer = perfect. And I just love how the entire plot/motive is centered around how evil sorority/frat people are. Amazing.

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  4. How have you kids NOT seen the original? Its ripe for Tower Farm review. Ripe I say!

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  5. This movie kicked ass! I wish it had gotten more love while it was in theaters but I have a feeling it's going to become a big favorite now that it's on DVD. Thanks for giving it some well-deserved props!

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  6. Wait a second...

    Which one is Cassidy?

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  7. Melanie,
    Yes...see it immediately. It's beyond wonderful. You'll love it. Let me know what you think!

    Zac,
    I knew you'd love this. This is SOOO your kind of movie.

    Becky,
    I know...Greek life gets a totally bum rap in this movie. Which is fine by me. Although once upon a time, JM was in a fraternity, so he might be offended.

    PoT,
    I know, I know...I'm ashamed I've never seen the original. It's a movie you can "watch instantly" on Netflix, so I'll get to it soon.

    Jeff,
    When I saw it in theatres, I was the ONLY person there! Which was kind of awesome. But yeah, it deserved more love.

    White Wolf,
    Cassidy is there totally generic main girl. You know, the one who really doesn't do anything through the whole movie until the end, when she inexplicably becomes tough and defeats the killer?

    -Billy

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  8. For as much as this reminded me of another URBAN LEGEND outing, I gotta admit I liked it, mostly because of non-sensical super-killer powers of the killer (nice tire iron, seriously) and Chuggs, who I kinda fell in love with.

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  9. Notes about Sorority Row:

    1.This plays like an R.L. Stine Super Chiller with a pointless shower scene thrown in.

    2.Carrie Fisher is,in fact,man-tastic,(even,dare I say, man-tacular) and has the best lines in the film hands-down,besides looking dynamite in plum-purple house frock and matching lipstick.

    3.Audrina Partridge (*shudder*)= Hollywood royalty (allegedly).

    4.The wine bottle should've shattered in Chug's throat,leaving her choking on glass,(lot of missed potential for kills here,in fact).

    5. We need an unrated cut,shit has obviously been snipped.

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  10. I have just downloaded iStripper, and now I can watch the hottest virtual strippers stripping on my taskbar.

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