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Sorority Row (2009)
20th Dec 09
Pretty young things goof up a prank on a cheating boyfriend when one of their sorority sisterhood ends up dead. Eight months later they realise that what they thought they'd gotten away with is about to haunt them.
Now that the bedrocks of Seventies and Eighties horror have been remade Hollywood has taken to scraping the bottom of the barrel in terms of what to rehash next. Whereas the likes of John Carpenter's Halloween and the original Friday the 13th became established brand names, it is fair to say that 1983's The House on Sorority Row wasn't. In fact not many people remember it, which is just as well as the new version appears to pay more justice to I Know What You Did Last Summer than it's source.
In the original movie the sorority house mother was the murder victim. This time round it's one of the sorority sisterhood Megan (Audrina Partridge) of Theta Pi that snuffs it, albeit by accident, when cheating boyfriend Garrett (Matt O'Leary) assumes she is already dead and sticks a tire iron into her body; as you do!
Rather than confess all to the police the remaining sister Jessica (Leah Pipes), Cassidy (Briana Evigan), Ellis (Rumer Willis), Claire (Jamie Chung) and Chugs (Margo Harshman) decide to dump the body instead concerned of how such a misdemeanour may dampen their futures. Rest assured they wont get away with it because, wouldn't you just know it, there's someone that knows what they did and reckons the best way to deal with them all is to kill them off.
Very much a bastard child of the Scream culture you would expect by now that the formula would have run dry. Whilst the story doesn't breathe much life beyond its set-up Sorority Row is buoyed up by female leads that are wonderfully bitchy and unsympathetic, a refreshing turn from the usual pretty and disposable and vacant airheads that live and die in the American stalk n' slash culture.
Leah Pipes excels as the uber bitch of the flick Jessica. Pipes manages to give her character some depth...(No, really! A horror character with DEPTH!) So come her possible demise, you can't help thinking you'd miss her. This is more than you can say for the lead female Briana Evigan portrays. Her Cassidy is somewhat bland and you wonder why she would have ever mixed with such a gaggle of bitches.
Elsewhere in the cast Bruce and Demi's daughter Rumer continues to corner the sorority role market having previously appeared in guilty pleasure The House Bunny. However here she is called upon to do nothing much but whimper and becomes a pain in the ass very quickly. Jamie Chung, as the token Asian, acquits herself well, surprisingly so given that she is not an actress and till now was known best as a reality TV star in The Real World: San Diego.
Carrie Fisher, who is still best remembered as Star Wars' Princess Leia, steals every scene as no-holds-barred house mother Mrs Crenshaw who isn't afraid to go face-to-face with the killer or give mega bitch Jessica a good sound slap across the chops.
Unlike the bulk of America's horror output of late Sorority Row. has not been made to cater for a PG-13 crowd. However even with scenes of a champagne bottle being forced down a young girl's neck it still doesn't cut the grade as a full on 18 certificate gore fest. That didn't stop the British Board of Film Classification from wanting to slap it with an 18 rating on it though, that was until E1 Films, the UK distributor, begged them to release it as a 15 instead. Surprising that's what happened, not that it meant anymore people went to see it. It bombed at the box office big time.
Given that this is much more fun than the bloated My Bloody Valentine remake and the flat-as-pancakes revamp of Friday the 13th it's odd that Sorority Row didn't fare better. It could be that the horror market, outside of brand names, is leaning towards 3D to spice up their takings or maybe it just looked like something you have seen a dozen times before. It's a shame as whilst it does wear itself out towards the end the sharp tongued sorority sisters make it a far more enjoyable experience than you would expect.
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