Remakes aren’t my bag, man. Sure, I love the trend of horror remakes that took place in the late 70’s through the 80’s when they were thoughtful and well made. Stuff like Invasion of the Body Snatchers, The Fly and The Thing were all films that were improved upon and given the respect and dose of sci-fi reality they so deserved and the movie going public was willing to accept.
I’m talking about the current trend in horror remakes. Taking known horror franchises or one off slasher movies and making dumbed down (believe it or not, they managed to dumb down even the Friday the 13th formula)carbon copies. It’s a trend I’ve been waiting to die out for years now. Just like the Saw franchise.
And in walks Sorority Row, a loose remake of the 1983 all but forgotten slasher opus The House on Sorority Row, a pretty decent horror film in it’s own right at least in it’s first half. I went out tonight to see this remake with no real expectations high or low. I knew it was marketing itself as a slasher movie but this has lead me astray more than once into uninspired torture porn territory (check my The Collector review).
To my utter shock and amazement I had a friggin blast sitting with my lovely lady in a crowded theater watching a film that reminded me why I loved slasher flicks in the first place. This is by no means a masterpiece of the genre but it takes me back to the day when all it took to make a good slasher flick was an interesting inciting incident, some bare tits and a couple buckets of blood as a wet climax to ingenious bodily trauma.
Sorority Row delivers all these and a great deal of laughs. Some intentional and others I am not so sure about. The characters aren’t what I would call well written but they are a hoot. My personal favorite was Jessica the sorority house uber bitch who gets her close group of sorority girlfriends in deep shit when their little prank goes hilariously wrong and one of their sisters ends up ventilated with a tire iron through the chest. This opening scene, I have to admit, is the slowest, dullest part of the film. They try and cram in all the exposition as to whom these girls are, what cliched slasher flick character they are playing (the slut, the follower, smart girl, head strong final girl, etc.) and it feels like it takes forever but once you make it through this scene and the girls chuck their dead friend down a mine shaft Sorority Row picks up the pace and runs with it.
Some time later the girls are all graduating and still covering up the drop dead funny tragic death they are all responsible for. Soon, they’re receiving ominous texts and pictures that lead them to believe they are in mortal danger. But who has time to worry about getting poked and bled when there’s a party to be had? The girls go about getting crap ready as the be-robed killer begins knocking them off one by one in extremely, brutal, bloody, and funny ways.
There’s hilarious dialog throughout the film, some of which I wasn’t sure was meant to be intentional or not, but had me laughing loud and hard throughout. Like a scene where two sorority girls find the decaying dead body of one of their sisters and one girl exclaims, “She looks terrible!” this is exactly the response you’d expect from a vapid, self centered sorority girl. It may be poor writing, but to this trash collector, this shit is brilliant.
I don’t want to spoil it for you by revealing who the killer finally turns out to be and I’ve read a lot of reviews that gripe about just who it turns out to be. All I can say is that some of these critics really need to lighten up. Because this killer and his/her reasoning is so funny, and played so well it should go down in trash cinema lore as a truly classic monologue. As the killer lists off the reason why so many people had to perish it’s like hitting all that syrup at the bottom of a glass of chocolate milk. It’s that sweet a reward. My favorite moment in this speech is the justification of killing one of the horn-dog frat boys. “He was a dick!” HAH, who hasn’t wanted to kill that guy?
At the end of the day this film isn’t even a remake, really. Besides the location and covering up a murder that sets off a spree killing there’s nothing else borrowed from the original. I mean, it may as well be it’s own film.
Also, this flick is really a story about love and responsibility to those you love and your friends and what you must do to keep them from being hurt…more or less. Who am I kidding, there’s no real moral compass to this hunk of garbage, but there are plenty of half naked girls, massive cleavage shots (Rummer Willis is packing some heat in this department despite playing the nerdy girl…which is right up my alley, really.) gratuitous nudity, plenty of dead bodies, and horrible people dispatched in fittingly horrible ways. This is a fun slasher film straight from the 80’s ripped from it’s time period and given a new millennial make over, and by god, does she look beautiful.
In the mood for some incredibly tasty slasher trash cheese? Look no further than sorority Row. A fun, and bloody stab back to the glory days of on of the cinemas most enduring genres. The Slasher. Or in this case…the Tire Iron..er?
-The Primal Root