out of Five
Running time: 101
Sorority Row isn't remotely scary, but it's still a lot more fun than it ought to be thanks to strong performances and a witty, terrifically bitchy script – think Mean Girls meets I Know What You Did Last Summer.
What's it all about?
Directed by Stewart Hendler, Sorority Row is loosely based on 1983's The House on Sorority Row. When sorority sisters Jessica (Leah Pipes), Claire (Jamie Chung), Chugs (Margo Harshman), Cassidy (Briana Evigan) and Ellie (Rumer Willis) fake the death of one of their sisters (Audrina Partridge) in order to get revenge on her cheating boyfriend, they get more than they bargained for when the prank goes horribly wrong and she ends up dead for real.
Pushed by bitchy leader Jessica, the girls decide to get rid of the body and keep schtum, but, eight months later, their past comes back to haunt them when a vengeful killer, purporting to be the dead girl, starts picking them off one by one.
This works much better as a witty horror comedy than as a straight-up slasher movie – essentially it's I Know What You Did Last Summer, only with less scares and more laughs. As a result, the script crackles with terrifically bitchy dialogue and there are loads of laugh-out-loud one-liners.
The nominal star of the film is Evigan, but she's stuck with the rather dull, sensible role, whilst Willis does most of the screaming and crying. The real stars of the film (aside from an amusing cameo by Carrie Fisher as the tough-as-nails house mother) are Pipes (who plays alpha-Mean Girl Jessica to perfection and deserves a career boost as a
result) and Harshman, who has a great way with a shockingly inappropriate quip but whose quirky, promiscuous character is unfortunately killed off way too early.
The main problem with the film is that it isn't remotely scary or suspenseful. The first death is pretty horrible, but after that, it's like the filmmakers couldn't be bothered and became more interested in filming scantily-clad girls running around screaming (cynically, the film drafts in a completely superfluous character for a naked shower-death scene, as the key cast obviously all had no-nudity contracts).
Sorority Row isn't scary, but it's still a lot of fun, thanks to strong characters and a fabulously bitchy, frequently hilarious script. Worth seeing.