Thursday, September 17, 2009

House of Knifeable Bitches

Five super-bitches and a bitch with a loose mouth get themselves into a whole heap of trouble in Stewart Hendler's Sorority Row ('09), a remake (that's a stretch) of Mark Rosman's The House on Sorority Row ('83), a film I saw at a grindhouse theater in downtown Detroit. It was a well made slash-and-stalk with a winning Richard Brand score.

If you have a decent girlfriend, boys, you will appreciate her even more after spending close to a hundred minutes with these disgusting excuses for human beings. I don't quite understand why writers Josh Stolberg and Peter Goldfinger decided to make every female character so goddamn unlikable in this. I'm not arguing that the world doesn't have more than its fair share of such knife-able trash -- it does. I'm just questioning the decision to not balance the movie with non-bitchy women. Did these writers have no positive female role models?

When every woman and man is a piece of shit, their bloody deaths have a cathartic effect only; there's no deeper audience involvement.

Parts of this movie look like steals from Co-ed Frenzy, the film-within-a-film in Brian De Palma's masterpiece, Blow Out. There is a reasonable amount of nudity, production values are high, and the direction is not too hurried or choppy.

The big revelation is a little too so-what! to make a difference. The climax, which takes place in a burning house, has little credibility.

The film's dialog is snappy and the cinematography by Ken Seng, who also shot Obsessed (a film I enjoyed a lot more), is pretty and functional.

The lack of warm characters does create tangible distance between story and audience. It's a hard film to embrace.

Although I enjoyed it, let's call a spade a fuckin spade -- it is still a horrendously unoriginal piece of filmmaking and adds exactly nothing to cinema.

General audiences did not warm to this film; nor did they warm to Rob Zombie's equally unoriginal, less entertaining trade-off for a paycheck. It's a comforting thought that the shine may be going off remakes. Perhaps originality (relatively speaking) will make a comeback.

Imagine that.

7 comments:

  1. I wish we would soon be done with all these remakes. I'd like to see a little more originality back in cinema.

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  2. There's a lot of original movies out there. But you have to look closer. But I have nothing against remakes - as long as they're good, and the same thing of course with "original" movies. It's just a movie anyway.

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  3. Ninja -- I agree with you. I was being a little facetious. but I don't see too much originality at the multiplexes.

    Of course, I scour the world for gems and find them all the time.

    Your point about "just a movie" adds some balance.

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  4. I still had a good time with this one because it's been a while since we've had a basic stalk-and-slash in the theaters, even though it is completely unoriginal and trashy.

    The horrendous nature of all the characters one function for me: making fun of sororities and fraternities, which is always good in my book.

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  5. B-MB -- I take your point. I would have liked one different character for contrast. One of the girls (who reminded me of Jennifer Tilly) did represent a different view, but she was drowned out by a larger chorus.

    I, too, still enjoyed it.

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  6. I think the real originality is in direct-to-dvd actually. I've seen a couple of the movies from the boys that mad Blair Witch, and I think these new movies really hits the spot when it comes to melt commercial movie and original ideas together.

    End of the Line will probably never be in cinemas, but it's still one of the best new horror movies I've seen. Not to mention Mulberry Street!

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  7. Yeah I understand what your saying about them being peices of shit bring on catharsis. I guess im fucked up cause i was rooting for the killer sooo... I didnt experience that. I was kinda pissed when he died. "The only guys who was cool dies"? wait not the only guy, the two frat dbags were funny lol. "Dude your so ripped" man....

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