These days, few months seem to pass without the release of a new remake of a cheesy, decades-old horror movie. Now, just in time for rush week, we have Sorority Row. This remake of the 1983 slasher movie, The House on Sorority Row, was obviously tailor made for a college crowd, but is it worth the price of even a student discount ticket?
Sorority Row tells the story of six Theta Pi sisters who, despite the wishes of their house mother (Star Wars’ Carrie Fisher), throw fantastically wild parties filled with sex, drugs, and alcohol. When the girls catch a cheating boyfriend, they decide to pull a ‘Serious and Permanent Psychological Damage’-level prank to get him back. To everyone but the audience’s surprise, their little joke takes a mortal wrong turn right around the time the creepy music kicks in.
Eight months later, during a graduation party, the creepy music comes back and the remaining sisters start dropping dead. With so many lives on the line and a twist around each corner, everyone quickly becomes suspect.
The only proof of innocence Sorority Row offers any of its characters is a bloody and violent death at the hands of its hooded killer, and that is by far its strongest point. Some seriously satisfying slasher film deaths are offered here for fans of the genre. I won’t dish on any of them here- there aren’t enough of them in the movie to lose even one to a spoiler- but I’m sure horror fans can imagine a number of things a tire iron with knives on it can do to a sorority girl.
The problem, however, is that director Stewart Hendler seems to think the only way an audience can enjoy a good horror movie kill is if it already hates the doomed characters. This fills Sorority Row with some of the least sympathetic characters in recent history to bloody the silver screen. Ellie (Rumer Willis), the only sister who doesn’t spend more than 80% of her screen time arguing or acting catty (with a capital B), spends 98% of her time screaming. What is once genuinely alarming becomes something of a joke before annoying everyone in the theater, and that’s just in the first half hour.
On top of being annoying and unlikeable, the Theta Pi sisters seem to exclusively make bad decisions. It’s as if they all got together on the morning of the big party and decided to see what it would be like to act like horror movie victims for a day or two. You go from excitedly yelling, “Don’t go in there!” to resentfully grumbling, “She’s going to go in there” long before the film’s 101 minutes are up, and that’s why Sorority Row loses its charter.
The Verdict: Even with its cringe-inducing college kid kills, Sorority Row can’t save itself from horror remake mediocrity. Sure, the blood flows almost as freely as the alcohol at Theta Pi’s graduation party, but all the fun of a good slasher is lost when the audience spends the whole movie thinking about how dumb its characters are. Were a few of the sisters as likeable as Fisher’s crotchety Mrs. Crenshaw, this movie might have stood out. As it stands, Sorority Row will wash out faster than the chalk the Greeks covered campus with this week.
1 star (out of 4) Skip it.