Review – Sorority Row

Sorority Row

Orange Wednesdays are a wonderful chance to go and see those films that you’d usually… Keep the fuck away from… So when my new flatmate asked me what film I wanted to go and see between The Final Destination and Sorority Row… the choice was clear. The Subjected Reviews we’ve been doing really have got me in the mood to go see films I’d usually avoid so I thought “Let’s do it! Let’s go and see another terrible excuse for what passes as a “movie” nowadays.”

Let’s get this straight from the off – I have no love for Horror films or, in particular,  their sub-genre the teen slasher flick.  Notable exceptions to this are obviously the Scream movies, the first two final destinations (the second is  particularly great) and maybe (stretching the definition a little) the Faculty. The reactions that horror tries to drive out of their audience aren’t ones that I particularly go to the cinema for – I’d much rather be taken aback by stuff blowing up than hide behind my hands because some psycho has a grudge and an awfully blunt weapon with which to enforce it. My recent exposure to the horror genre has often leant slightly too far towards gorno for my liking so it was refreshing to take a step back into the Middle to Upper Class American Suburban University system for a slice of classic hot babe death-em up.

I usually feel somewhat guilty about skipping the narrative but this time you really don’t need it – some beautiful girls are being systematically killed over something that happened sometime earlier. To be honest, who cares? The thin thread of narrative is really just a facilitator for all kinds of gory ridicularity – so why let it, or other factors (like that pesky logic I keep hearing so much about) get in the way of having a good time?

And here’s the shocking truth. Hold onto your hats. I actually didhave a good time. Granted that’s because I burst out laughing every time something ridiculous happened, but then again that’s just my natural reaction to things – (I was met with disapproving looks from around the screen for my outbursts, but then again I am when I go see comedies too so… whatever…) the fact is that I managed to suspend my disbelief for a little while, get caught up in the story and – horror of horrors – actually enjoy myself.

Please let’s not mistake ourselves here though, this film is garbage. Absolute terrible, cheesy, cliched, flawed garbage.

But fun terrible, cheesy, cliched, flawed garbage.

In amongst all the ridicularity, the film actually does manage to do a couple of things right. The camera work in the opening sequence is executed superbly (and at the very least competently in other areas) and on the soundtrack side of town,  party pleasing dance tunes are masterfully mixed with a sinister, tense orchestral edge in all the right places. The latter may sound somewhat trite, but it really is one of the fundamental elements of a good horror film.

Unfortunately, it’s not all thumbs up greatness – firstly, the film is (as mentioned above in case you missed it) garbage. Secondly, throughout the time I was playing the “whodunnit” guessing game I was constantly expecting the tire iron to come through a wall at any moment – and it was during these times that the film really had me hook, line and sinker. As soon as the killer was revealed, I instantly felt deflated – the reasons given for their actions really didn’t ring true and felt more like an excuse rather than a motivation – somewhat disappointing after you’ve just watched eight or nine people be brutally murdered.

But then I guess that’s the issue with these films as a whole. It’s the suspense and intrigue that really keeps the audience going – the reveal never really lives up to expectations. A reflection of the skill of the writers? Or an intrinsic flaw in the genre as a whole?

Nitpicks aside, I had a better time than I was expecting to, granted what they got out of me probably wasn’t the reaction the filmmakers were going for but I walked out of the screening with a bigger smile than I have for a while, certainly bigger than for any “comedies” I’ve seen recently (*cough* Funny People *cough*).

Then again maybe all the above was slightly influenced by the fact I had a few beers before I went.

Who can say?

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