Director – Stewart Hendler
Cast – Briana Evigan, Leah Pipers, Rumer Willis, Margo Harshman, Jamie Chung, Audrina Patridge, Matt O’Leary, Julian Morris, Carrie Fisher
Release Year – 2009
Reviewed by John of the Dead
With Hollywood’s obsession of remaking classic horror flicks it is no surprise that The House on Sorority Row was remade into this film. Recent slasher remakes like Halloween I & II, Friday the 13th, Black Christmas, and Prom Night did well enough at the box office to keep up this trend, and opened the door for this remake to happen. Although I am not overly happy about all of these slasher remakes taking place, I am glad that the majority of these have been R rated(all of them except for Prom Night), like the original versions. This film’s producers contemplated going with a PG-13 rating thanks to the success of Prom Night, but opted to stick with it’s original Rated R cut. THANK YOU.
Because this has 80s slasher written all over it, the plot is a simple one. One night during a Theta Pi sorority party a group of “sisters” decide to play a mean prank on Megan’s cheating ex-boyfriend. The prank is going well until it backfires and leaves Megan with a tire iron in her chest. The girls are about to begin their senior year and cannot let an incident like this keep them from their post-graduation dreams, so they reluctantly follow the orders of HBIC Jessica(Leah Pipes) and dump her body down a mine shaft. Fast forward and the girl are one night away from graduation. Their deep dark secret has stayed “buried” in the past, until they all receive incriminating picture messages from the site where Megan’s body was dumped. They brush it off as a prank at first, but when the Theta Pi body count begins to rise they realize that someone is out for revenge, which leads them to the question “Megan was dead, right?”.
I found this film to be pretty enjoyable for what it was, a shout out to the cheezy 80s slashers we adore so much. At first notion we horror fans would all assume that these 80s slasher remakes would be modernized and not fit the “feel” of the original, but that is really no the case with this film. Sorority Row implored all of the elements from it’s original, House on Sorority Row. The dialogue was cheezy and reminiscent of the cliché sorority girls we love to hate, the deaths were gory and fun to watch, and the killer is well hidden and weld’s a tire iron with deadly gore-inducing modifications attached to it. What more could you ask for from this type of film? Oscar performances? Well you are not going to get any. Just like the 80s flicks this pays respects to, the acting is cheezy as well. When I say “cliché sorority girls”, I really mean it!
I mentioned earlier that this film’s plot is a simple one, but that in no way makes it an unenjoyable one. As a big fan of vengeance oriented films, I enjoyed the plot. You will find many similarities with this film and I Know What You Did Last Summer, but this is a remake, it’s idea came before the 1997 Jennifer Love Hewitt slasher. The characters are cliché as hell, but when are they not in these types of films? Cassidy(Briana Evigan), our lead character, is the typical remorseful girl who didn’t want to go through with dumping Megan’s body, and wanted to tell the authorities instead. Of course she was blackmailed into not telling, and has been distant from her “sisters” ever since. Now she must do everything in her power to save the day, but of course it’s never that simple for the lead character, is it? Jessica, I call her “queen bitch”, does her part in creating conflict in the film, while Ellie(Rumer Willis) is the always necessary “weak one” who is constantly breaking down as the carnage gets worse and worse. I was alsy very pleased to see that my teenage crush, Margo Harshman was in this film. Not aware of who she is? She played “Tawny” in Even Stevens. Yes, Louis’s hot, boner-inducing anti-social friend/crush. But wait, it gets better! The role of the “House Mother” in this film is portrayed by none other than Carrie Fisher. Not sure who Carrie Fisher is? First off, slap yourself. Still not sure who she is? Some of us still like to refer to her forever as “Princess Leia”. Now you know who she is? Jerk.. There are more cliché characters, but I’ll leave you to learn about them by watching the film.
How is the writing/direction in this film? It is good, a positive job by director Stewart Hendler and writers Josh Stolberg and Pete Goldfinger. Mr. Hendler also directed the supernatural film Whisper, which I gave a positive rating to(read my review for it on this site). He made sure that this film had the “feel” of the original 80s slasher, which I give him major props for. The film paced well, and never dragged or had me feeling bored. Plus they threw in a fair amount of gore in this film, with great deaths reminiscent of 80s slasher kills. Gotta respect that. My only complaint was that I felt this film lost it towards the end. With these types of flicks you can always expect these types of endings, but I just wish it’s execution would have been tightened up. All in all, a good job by Stewart Hendler.
Overall, this is a positive watch that I recommend you check out if you are into the 80s slasher genre. If you were never old enough to watch these types of films on the big screen during the 80s, now is your chance to experience it. It’s not entirely the same, but it’s enough.