Movies From the Black Lagoon: Sorority Tow
Movies From the Black Lagoon
Sorority Tow - 2009, Rated R
By Tom Doty
If it's one thing I've learned to hate it's remakes of 80's horror films that were good enough the first time round. This remake starts out with an awful sequence at a sorority party and then pulls the rug out from underneath your expectations by transforming into a smart and sassy slasher that blows away recent remakes of 'Friday the 13th' and "Halloween."
The beginning is truly awful as we witness a horde of drunken college students playing party games. The action soon centers on six Theta-Pi's (laugh at that name if you must but the jokes actually get better) who come off as brain dead Barbies who apparently made it to senior year without learning anything. They prove this by playing a joke on a Frat-Boy that cheated on one of them. The joke involves making the guy think that the Theta (Megan) has died from the date-rape drug he's given her. Right away you can hate this clown but I was also working up a hate for the minds that would think that this situation is a good way to start a movie. Then the film tricked me and got better in a hurry.
The Thetas realize how bad an idea this all was when the drunk dude actually kills their fellow sister with a tire iron (cause he thinks air bubbles in the lungs will cause her corpse to float). Now they have a decision to make and this all important part of the movie is handled well by the script which has the women decide to cover-up the prank so they can graduate with a future bright enough to require shades.
Eight months later the fun begins as the women are stalked at their graduation party by an apparition in a graduation gown. This "graduate" is tougher than Dustin Hoffman and packs a Tire-Iron that appears to have been pimped out by a Ninja. It sports four retractable blades, throws easy (despite being aerodynamically preposterous), and always lands in the neck of your next victim.
The women must band together to stop the killer but they're challenged by the fact that their misadventure has fractured their sisterly feelings rather than strengthen them. They eventually find that they can work together but this lesson may come too late to do them any good. Meanwhile you get plenty of great deaths due to the inappropriate use of an auto tool as well as lots of tart humor, thanks to a "Buffy-esque" script by Josh Stolberg and Peter Goldfinger.
It all comes together under some fine direction by Stewart Hendler. He gets all the support he needs from a sharp cast that transcends their cliched characters. Rumer Willis (daughter of Bruce Willis and Demi Moore) gets to play the smart sister who got into school on a scholarship and fears that any controversy will get her bounced. Briana Evigan holds it all-together as the only character that thinks this is all a bad idea but is done in by peer pressure. Carrie Fisher has a field day as the sorority house's shotgun wielding den mother but the best acting honors go to Leah Pipes. She takes the rich, snotty, and manipulative leader role and actually makes you think twice about writing her off. She's helped by a scene with the /senator/presidential hopeful /father of her boyfriend. He makes it clear to her that he has her number and that she'll have to work hard to stay in his good graces. It's a great moment that spells out the real horror of leaving college and competing in the real world.
Best Lines: They all belong to Pipes.
"Let's go wash the blood off in the lake and get back to the party."
"If he blabs that's orange jumpsuits for all of us."
"There are 30 other girls behind that door that probably shouldn't know we murdered our sorority sister, okay?"
Tom Doty occasionally emerges from the Lagoon to check his e-mail and to read to children every Wednesday at 10:30am at Borders in Hagerstown. If you'd like to get a message to him, write to: firstname.lastname@example.org.