Review: 'Sorority Row' Is Another Sad Case of Remakes Killing The Horror Genre

By: Jacqueline Allen Email
By: Jacqueline Allen Email

The horror movie season officially began last month with the releases of 'The Final Destination' and 'Halloween 2,' and doesn't get any better this second week of September with 'Sorority Row,' yet another cheap, bland remake ('House on Sorority Row') made to cash in on a dying genre. There have been a lot of bad horror movies in the last decade and while this one may not be the worst, that definitely doesn't make it good by any stretch of the imagination. It is a frustrating, un- clever mess that is full of clichés, bad acting and unsympathetic stereotypes for characters.

The movie starts with a prank going awry and a sorority sister ('The Hills' Audrina Patridge) being brutally killed. The sorority sisters responsible all swear to keep the death a secret and then threaten to blame it all on the only one with any common sense, Cassidy (Briana Evigan) when she wants to go to the police. Now, this has always bothered me about movies like this, because generally if they did the correct, lawful thing, all of the upcoming tragedy could have been avoided… but I digress. Anyway, eight months later, while celebrating graduation, a hooded killer comes along and the girls responsible begin to have an attrition problem.

What's most unfortunate about 'Sorority Row' is the fact that it has a decent plot, but it's been done a thousand times. The movie I was most reminded of was 'I Know What You Did Last Summer,' only much more poorly executed (which is quite a feat). It is full of clichés and stereotypes and each actor in it is extremely unsympathetic, especially the five female leads. Their only methods of survival are to mope, whine and cry and this seriously detracts from any enjoyment the film could have offered on a characterization level. I know this is a stupid, cheesy popcorn horror film made to make a quick buck, but I do like a little bit of thought when I go to see bad horror flicks, not just something slapped together.

The gore, the all-important factor in a movie like this, is practically non- existent. Not only that, but when characters die, their deaths are also hard to see due to consistent use of shaky cam and skewed angles. When the usual stereotypical jerks who are there just to die terribly are finally offed, the viewer doesn't enjoy the death as it not only has the above problems, but is also unimaginative. The film was apparently originally intended to be a PG-13 film, but was made an R during production so as not to disappoint horror fans (the PG-13 rating is universally reviled in the genre). However, the only reason I can see that 'Sorority Row' was even given an R was the rampant nudity randomly splashed throughout.

'Sorority Row' eventually ends with a dull finale that is as convoluted and confusing as a movie can get. As of this writing, it has flopped in the US and will more than likely be forgotten as quickly as it was conceived. It is sure to go down in the annals of film history as one of the worst of its kind: a bland remake with a tired premise that has been done better. The only thing done right by the filmmakers is that it feels like one of the bad high school/college horror movies of the mid-80's heyday - but not one of the fun ones.


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