When you pop a DVD of a horror flick titled ‘Sorority Row’ into your DVD player, you really aren’t looking to find yourself deeply engaged in a realistic portrayal of college life or heart-rending drama about the difficulties of being a girl whose parents have the sort of money that gets one into a sorority. No, when you put this DVD in you’re basically looking to watch a bunch of well manicured females get their righteous due for being snotty, ditzy and pretty. It’s a fairly straight forward kind of slasher and if you’re on a quest for a brilliantly executed twist on the genre, this film is not going to leave you satisfied.
At the same time, if what you wanted was to watch the kind of slasher flick popularized by movies like Scream and I Know What You Did Last Summer, then you won’t get monkeyed with because Sorority Row delivers, without pretensions, exactly what the title and trailers promise. You’ll watch a group of mischievous girls from Theta Pi (played by Audrina Partride, Rumer Willis, Margo Harshman, Jamie Chung, Leah Pipes and Briana Evigan) fail at playing a hilariously morbid prank on their fellow sister’s cheating ex boyfriend. Sounds good, right? If you’re a guy you get to see a bunch of impossibly pretty coeds try not to get killed in the shower and if you’re a girl you get to watch projections of your jealous get butchered like the sheep they are. It’s a pretty sweet deal for the majority of the world’s audiences.
The popularity of a good slasher flick has always depended upon making us care either about why the killer is killing or the victims. In the case of this movie, you’re going to find that the deed which triggers these events is severe enough to generate the bladed tire iron being used on the majority of the cast. There’s enough justification to make the movie feel more like a moral tale than a film like Hostel or SAW typically delivers. The death scenes are not dragged out long enough to elicit nausea and the movie doesn’t try to pretend that it’s sophisticated in any way which is a huge relief since it’s, like, totally not.
Most of the glossy upper class suburban settings are understandable even if not quite to this reviewer’s tastes, but it portrays accurately the social dynamics of the college campus royalty that gather themselves in fraternities and sororities to party like it’s going out of style. The movie’s targeted at a teen audience so you’ll find plenty of plays in that direction with most of the movie reverentially reflecting upon the style of our current times and a heavy dose of mobile phone usage that’s become a common trend in horror movies these days.
While Sorority Row may not be the most psychologically disturbing film of its time, it definitely gives some interesting death scenes, but one really has to wonder how many different ways you can kill a girl through the mouth. No other reviewers seem to have asked this question, but it brings to mind either revenge fantasies about girls and guys who gossip or some sort of strange oral fixation on the part of the screenwriter. Either way, when you want a cheesy horror flick that’s going to make you jump a few times and snicker with your friends, Sorority Row will take you where you want to go.