Sunday, January 24, 2010

skid row.

Check me reviewing the 'modern' films and trying to be down with 'ver kids'.

Yup, must be that midlife crisis rearing it's ugly head.

That and the fact that Caroline D'Amore's frighteningly poppy eyes are spookily hypnotic in their intensity, almost as if she could see me undressing thru' the screen.

Sorority Row (2009).
Dir: Stewart Hendler.
Cast: Briana Evigan, Leah Pipes, Rumer Willis, Jamie Chung, Margo Harshman, Audrina Patridge, Caroline D'Amore and Dame Carrie of Fisher.

"Ellie, I love you because you're always
there to help with homework.
You're like a spellcheck with a nice rack".

Welcome to the Theta Pi sorority house where a group of twenty something pneumatic actresses desperately trying to pretend that they're teenagers are enjoying one of those big parties that only American kids seem to hold.

I mean we were lucky if we were able to sneak out for a crafty fag after lights out without Matron catching us.

This is a great excuse to not only meet our main cast (and get a glimpse at their 'characters') but to see some pert bummed young actresses bouncing around on trampolines in their pants whilst listening to Get U Home by top pop combo Shwayze.

Ah bliss.

Between the amusing drinking japes and topless dancing we're introduced to our six sexy sorority sluts; the soon to be dead Megan (The Hill's Partride), the Acromegaly headed Ellie (the chisel chinned yet curvy of breast Willis), caster legged loose lass Chugs (Run of The House's Harshman - who is neither harsh nor a man), token Asian babe Claire (Chung from Dragonball: Evolution), queen bitch, group leader and possessor of a strange old/young face Jessica (Pipes, daughter of the Ghostwatch baddie and star of far too many American shit-coms to mention) and nice girl (with a boys name) Cassidy (Evigan, daughter of the great god Greg Evigan and star of the Linkin Park video for their single Numb).

So, can we get back to the plot now?

Thank God they've got legs, I mean imagine
the mess they'd make if they were snails.

Well it seems that Megan's beau the rat-like Garrett (who is also Chug's brother) has been having it away with another girl and our cheeky chicks are planning the revenge to end all revenge.

This involves pretending to drug Megan so she falls 'unconscious' then have her vomit up chicken soup halfway thru' foreplay.

If that wasn't complicated enough the girls have rigged up a camera so they can record the whole thing for posterity.

Everything is going according to plan and, on cue Megan sits up, barfs and the collapses as her friends run in screaming as Garrett wets himself in the corner before stomping off to the toilet for a cry (and no doubt finish himself off).

"I don't mind touching his corns but hairy or not
there's no way I'm shite-in' in his mooth".

Reckoning that they could take this fabulous joke even further, Jessica persuades Megan to start dribbling in an attempt to convince poor Garrett that he has, in fact killed her.

And you wonder why I think all blondes are evil.

Driving to a deserted old mine in the middle of nowhere the girls pop Megan on the floor as they discuss who's going to cut the body up, where they should hide it etc., occasionally looking over at Garrett and sneering as he gets more and more hysterical and pissed stained.

They can't have been paying to much attention to him tho' as the next thing you know he's buried a tire iron into Megan's chest in an attempt to clear her lungs of air so she'll sink quicker when throw into the nearby lake.

Quite understandably the poor guy is fairly surprised when, at the point of impact Megan sits up screaming as torrents of blood shoot from her chest cavity.

Jessica decides that now would be the best time to tell Garrett that it was all a practical joke and that Megan wasn't really dead.

As you can probably guess, Garrett fails to see the funny side of the whole thing and continues to cry whilst the girls argue amongst themselves as to what to do.

Luckily good old (yet young faced, remember?) Jessica has a plan and using her amazing powers of persuasion (and bitchy bullying tactics) convinces everyone that they should dump their pals body down a mineshaft and continue their lives as normal.

Cassidy, being a good egg with a cool name disagrees, trying to get everyone to go to the police and explain what happened.

Jessica takes a moment to think it over before threatening Cass with a bloody good hiding and, to keep her quiet, gets Chugs and Claire to wrap Megan's body in Cassidy's coat so as to keep her quiet.

Admit it, you would,
if only to get to meet her dad.

Jump forward eight months and it's time for our girls to get ready to bid farewell to college life. Cassidy is no longer part of the cool gang, devoting her spare time to charity and voluntary work (seriously they even make a point of mentioning it about three times) and hanging about with her gorgeous (and not mental, oh no) boyfriend whilst the bitchiness goes on as normal for the other Theta Pi gals.

Everything is going swimmingly until half way thru' the ceremony Megan's spooky eyed, square faced sister, Maggie (Pizza Connection heiress D'Amore) appears in a slo-mo windswept haze that freaks out the already jittery Ellie and sends Chugs off to find solace between the legs of a hunky jock.

I think this is what they call foreshadowing or something.


Understandably freaked out by Maggie turning up out of the blue (and the fact that when she speaks to them her eyes seem to pop out her skull and wander around on their own) the girls call a conference in the kitchen, partly to remind those watching (you know the ones with low attention spans) that they killed her sister but mainly to showcase Rumor Willis' fantastic ability to cry on cue whilst still pointing her milky white breasts at the camera.

Which turns out to be a good thing because then you don't have to look at her face.

Deciding that the excitement of the day is causing them to be over-sensitive, the girls vow to kick back and enjoy themselves but at that very moment everyone's mobile phone begins to ring.

Well, everyone in the room I mean, not worldwide that would be too spooky.

Tho' at that point I did get a text message from a friend wanting to borrow Sadomaster. Not related but considerably more interesting than the movie so far.

Answering their phones our teen temptresses are shocked to see that someone (or something....nah, scratch that, it's someone) has sent them a picture of the tire iron used to kill Megan.

Someone knows what they did last, um, semester and is planning revenge.

But who?

Could it be the by now loony tunes Garrett?

Is Megan still alive?

Or has someone else found out the girls secret?

Well, at least we know that Cassidy's normal and not mental Beau will have nothing to do with it.

But the girls are living on borrowed time because within minutes of the texts someone has taken to running around in long black college robes, shoving wine bottles down folks throats and throwing modified tire irons at various cast members with unnerving accuracy.

"Eyes hen!"

The original 1983 version of House on Sorority Row is a nice little revenge thriller with a neat(ish) twist that's by no means the worst slasher ever made but as far as re-imaginings go Hollywood must be scraping at the bottom of the horror barrel with it's broken, dirtied fingernails if it thinks that what the world needed was a big budget remake of it.

But remake they did and surprisingly it's not that bad.

Well, apart from the final twenty minutes where the whole damn thing falls apart and melts into a cheaply made porridge of over-acting and wild eyed lunacy.

Short film director (and director of short films) and ex member of Blue by the look of him Stewart Hendler builds on the atmospherics and (unintentional) hysterics that he began in his first major feature, 2007's Josh (Lost) Holloway starring heist/kidnap/devil child hybrid Whisper and certainly has an eye for murder set pieces with the black gloved, Giallo inspired killer using everyday items like wine bottles, Jacuzzi's as well as a custom made, multi-bladed tire iron to dispatch members of the teen cast.

Which frankly is why you're watching in the first place.

Duncan from Blue,
up the casino, 1989....yesch!

A huge surprise tho' are the amount of references to the 1983 version to be found within the script (I'll give you "I'm a sea pig!" but you can find the rest yourself) which frighteningly for a slasher remake kinda hints that the writers Josh Stolberg and Pete Goldfinger must be fans of the original.

Or at least seen it once whilst scribbling away in a kiddies notebook.

Sexy, bitchy and stylishly shot, in the end Sorority Row is ultimately as vapid and transparent as it's lead characters, so like poor old Chugs in the movie worth fiddling about with for an hour or so on a drunken Saturday night but there's no way I'd take it home to meet my folks.

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