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Saturday
Sep122009

Sorority Row

There's a saying when it comes to slasher movies. "Boobs and blood bring big bags of bucks." Okay, so that's not an actual saying, but it's more or less true (and is a good example of my creative wordplay, I might add). What the majority of slasher fans want to see when sitting down for a genre movie is gratuitous amounts of female nudity and enough blood to satiate them until the next kill-fest rolls around. It may not be an award winner, but this film does exactly what is expected of it.

I Know What You Did...I mean, Sorority Row, begins at the most outlandish sorority party I've ever seen, a Theta Pi hazing party for new recruits that features a trampoline in the middle of the sorority house with half naked women bouncing up and down and playfully fighting while alcohol infused men stand around and indulge themselves in reckless misogyny, blurting out sexual connotations that they can later blame on the beer, cleansing themselves of any wrongdoing. A particular group of girls, all seniors, have forged strong relationships with one another, condemning their lying, cheating boyfriends by saying, "You cheat on one Theta, you cheat on every Theta!" Oh snap girlfriend!

To top off the already crazy night, the girls decide that playing a prank on an unsuspecting guy would be loads of fun, so they give him fake roofies to slip in Megan's (Audrina Partridge) drink. She pretends that these roofies have done more than just knock her out, making him believe that she is dead. The other girls, in on the joke, agree to take her out to a field and help him rid of the body so he won't have to go to jail. While their backs are turned, he decides to start chopping her up and, still unaware of the prank, ends up killing her. In deciding what to do with the body, the girls idiotically base their judgment on the "tenants of sisterhood," quoting their sorority credo to justify their decision to dump her down an abandoned mineshaft. Eight months later, on the day of their graduation, somebody appears, seemingly aware of what the girls did and begins to kill each of them off one by one.

One thing that must be said about Sorority Row is that there is almost no originality in the entire thing, falling back on old horror clichés like it has some kind of addiction, even resorting to the tried and true obligatory shower kill. Though it pays homage to many classic horror films like Jaws and The Shining, it never creates a style of its own. Even the kills are taken directly from other movies, everywhere from Friday the 13th Part 5 to Thomas Jane's The Punisher. Sorority Row didn't feel so much like a new movie as it did the best parts of other, better movies cobbled together.

As is common with the slasher genre, there is plenty of gratuitous nudity in Sorority Row that exists as a tongue in cheek way of saying, "We know exactly what we are doing," which includes a scene where an underclassmen is showering in the seniors' showers and her punishment from the president of the sorority is to run back to her apartment naked, so the poor girl drops her towel while the camera lingers on her nude body. Yep, this is quality filmmaking here, though to be absolutely fair, the cinematography was actually quite good, appropriately dark for a film like this and the direction was competent, to the point where I was actually admiring certain shots. Shocking indeed.

There's even a good amount of humor in the movie that lightens up the mood a bit and surprisingly, it works. In an early scene, a couple of the sorority sisters are missing and the rest start to discuss whether or not they could be dead, to which the president remarks, "Nobody's dead!" She then shrugs and says, "Well...Megan." Hilarious.

The bottom line is that I had fun watching Sorority Row and at times I was, dare I say, impressed by certain aspects of it. However, I was also watching it with three good friends, guys who knew what they were getting themselves into and they too had a good time, boosting my enjoyment. Will it be as fun by yourself or with someone who doesn't have the ability to relax and simply enjoy a good stupid movie? I suspect not. Even as I sit here and write, winding down to the end of this review, I'm not entirely certain if I should even recommend it. In the end though, taking into account the able direction, funny jokes and good performances (at least as good as a bunch of irritating, ditzy sorority bimbo performances can get), I think this one might have just enough to earn my approval. But remember this: go with friends, or don't go at all.

Sorority Row receives 2.5/5

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