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Slasher remake that beats all of the lifeless remakes/sequels of late
Sorority Row seems to be receiving a lot of bad press for the same reasons that all slasher flicks seem to garner - it's clichéd, the characters aren't likable, the plot isn't handled well, the set-up is botched, blah blah blah. OK, these ARE fair points - there exists within this movie one too many "Hello, is anybody there?" moments, too many "Don't go in there!" moments, and let's be honest, they could have quite happily pinned the entire thing on someone else and gone to police instead of covering it up.
However, to complain about those things would be to complain about the entire purpose of the slasher genre. Besides Scream, Hallowe'en and Black Christmas, there is not a single slasher that has a shred of believability (and even Hallowe'en doesn't - Michael Myers is the boogie man for goodness sake!). We go to see slasher films to watch people get killed and don't pretend otherwise. These situations do not happen in real life, why expect any level of realism in the film?!?
So why bother going to see this? Primarily, for the kills. Out of the 10 or so murders, I'd say but only 3 are gratuitous and 2 of those are badly set up. Again, it's the same old story of bimbo/drunk frat boy wandering where they should know not to. But for the 7 or so others, they rock! The manslaughter at the beginning is pretty twisted, yet I, and many others got satisfaction watching one of those twits from The Hills getting offed and thrown down a mine shaft. Following on, a "pimped up" tyre iron is implemented to cause as much gore and depravity as possible: bottles, mirror shards, cars, flare guns, axes, fire-extinguishers, shotguns and the bird cane from the original all are used at some point to bring the death count to a total Rambo would be proud of. One of my favourite set-ups in the movie comes after the party, when they are aware that somehow, someone knows about their little secret. In an intense scene involving many bubbles - because in the World of the Greek Letters, you are more likely to find a jacuzzi than a room full of mannequins - one of the 5 get caught out in it. The build up ranks with that of Annie in Halloween or CC in Scream 2 - after the girls receive another threatening text, they realise that one of their names was missing from the list and before they know it, the missing girl is running, screaming through the courtyard towards them. Although the scares are few and far between, that scene had me ducking. The murder weapon, that tyre iron, is set to become iconic if it garners any sequels (which, undoubtedly it will).
The main characters may not be the most interesting, and two of the girls really are just plain boring, but there are 3 who stand out in my mind: Jessica, Cassie and Ellie. Jessica, the bitchy queen, is played with fervour by Leah Pipes: she relishes every mean phrase, never misses a chance to put someone down, and when she stumbles across the dead body of a sorority sister, her first remark is "God, she looks terrible!" delivered with a dead pan attitude that just rocked. The fact that, unfortunately, she is governed by a bloke is a shame, but she redeems herself towards the end, staying true to her bitchy, selfish nature. Ellie, although a walking cliché in a horror movie, is played really rather well by Rumer Willis. A girl falling apart at the seams as she tries to cope with her part in the accident, she goes from slightly shaky to worried to paranoid to hysterical to catatonic. Yet she maintains some integrity and humour and has quite possibly the funniest moment during which the girls are trying to stop her from finding out that Megan just might not be dead. Finally, Briana Evigans is such fun to watch. Although her character has no right to feel better about herself over what happened and she certainly is no Sydney Prescott or Laurie Strode, Briana brings out of Cassie a feisty, tough girl who can actually be rooted for towards the end. The other 2 VERY good reasons to watch this movie are as follows: gratuitous cat fights (in a burning house with a psycho killer running around none-the-less!) and Carrie Fisher blowing her kitchen to smithereens with a shot gun, all the while taunting the masked killer with lines such as "Come to Mama."
All in all, Sorority Row is not a good film but it is sheer entertainment. What it lacks in plot and credibility it more than makes up for in style. it's also the first remake that I've had pleasure watching due to it's total carelessness of where it's origins lie. I'd give it 6 out of 10. (yes I am aware I've awarded it 10 out of 10 but that's because I feel bad that morons would mark it so harsh on its lack of plot... seriously)
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