Reviewed by: Ryan Doom
and Carrie Fisher
What's it about
The sisters of Theta Pi pull a prank that goes a little too far, ending with one of their own dead. Suddenly, a masked killer starts knocking them off one by one. Whoís the killer? Who will live? Will the audience end up giving a shit?
Is it good movie?
Movies like Sorority Row are a bit of a wash to review because they are what they are. Itís a slasher movie. One that follows the slasher movie formula to the absolute letter of the law. Now the producers would argue (according to the special features) that Sorority Row is a homage, a great throwback to the yesteryear of horror cinema. Well, in a way thatís true. But little surprises can occur for fans if they already know everything that will happen. And in that case, why watch?
Regardless, Sorority Row isnít unwatchable. It follows the formula so closely that it feels like an old friend. Well, a lackluster friend. One that doesnít want to improve itself, relying on the hard work of others instead of craving a new path. One thatís completely content being what it is. Thereís nothing wrong with that because you know exactly what youíre in for: a mediocre slasher flick thatíll have blood, bodies, and boobs. Nothing more. And with that in mind, is there anything wrong with that?
So whatís the good? Hot girls. Lots of them. It is a sorority house after all and all your favs are here. The bitch. The nerd. The hot ethic one. The outsider. The slut. And no matter their designated stereotypical role, they all bare cleavage in nearly every single frame. At the same time, the gore and death scenes are very well done. In particular, I found the initial death that sets all events into motion both gory and unsettling. After that itís just the killer knocking off chicks in whacky fashion. Thatís not a complaint. Itís just that itís all expected. Beyond the girls, itís the best part about the film. Also, the story movies along at a good pace. Did I mention the girls?
And the bad? Where to begin. As Iíve already said, Sorority Row offers nothing new to horror fans. If youíve seen the classics (Halloween) or the 90s renewals (Scream/I Know What You Did Last Summer) then thereís nothing to be surprised about. And in comparison, the killer here is just too damn generic. Itís somebody in a cloak using a tire iron on folks. And while the idea of the tire iron as a murder weapon isnít terrible, the killer somehow welded knives onto the thing. It just doesnít work and looks kinda goofy. Not frightening or intimidating like it should.
Another major flaw comes from the lack of a lead. I get it that itís a sorority house and the girls function as one big group and all that, but come on, let me know who the hell Iím rooting for. No one is given enough back story to care or define the lead. Speaking of which, the actingÖeh. Carrie Fisher does her thing as the house mom. Itís great to see her back onscreen, but damn, poor lady. Itís tough to play down the Princess Leia angle. I know many years have passed, but itís like seeing Mark Hamill or Billy D. Theyíre forever tied to those Star Wars roles, and itís even tougher to see them older. Anyway, Sorority Row features the merger of two icons in the form of Rumer Willis, who acts as the nerdy girl. Iím not gonna pick on her too much, but allow me to say sheís not going to set the world on fire. But itís tough when your character doesnít do much beyond cry and whine. And thatís all she does. Sheís probably the most annoying part about the film.
Oh, did I mention this is yet another remake? See The House on Sorority Row for the original and superior version.
Video / Audio
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen presentation
Audio: Presented with the power of 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround
Sorority Secrets: Stories from the Set: About ten minutes worth of interviews with the cast about how great the production was. Nothing too ground breaking here.
Killer 101: A feature about the back story of the production where they reveal that the movie is what it is. A slasher throwback. Runs 14 minutes.
Kill Switch: This is an absolute great feature. It shows every kill in the movie in a matter of ten minutes. It ditches the lousy stuff like story and zooms to each death as if fast forwarding. You can even switch from scene to scene. Excellent stuff that all slasher films should emulate.
Deleted Scenes: Six cut scenes in their raw form. Thereís a directorís introduction and even an alternate ending, which is more fitting than the one in the final cut.
Outtakes: Goofy outtakes. Always funny. And you get five whole minutes worth!
In the end, I can summarize Sorority Row as serviceable and entertaining for what it is. Nothing more. If youíre in a desperate bind the watch a slash flick, than this will do. Otherwise, find the real thing.