Page 18 THE VILLADOM TIMES IV • September 23, 2009 ‘Sorority Row’ explores darker side of loyalty, friendship by Dennis Seuling September is a transitional month for Hollywood. The big summer blockbusters have had their moment to glow at the box office, and more serious, character- and plot-driven films are yet to be released. This means smaller films without stars fill screens until higher-profile pictures relegate them to early DVD releases. “Sorority Row” falls under the category of horror film, sub-genre slasher movie. It is among what seems to be an endless supply of such pictures released every year. They are cheap to make, boast no name stars, and have a loyal following. Typically, these gruesome whodunits adhere to a strict formula: A series of murders is being committed by an unknown individual. “Sorority Row” focuses on the women of Theta Pi, a cliquey group whose members discover that Garrett (Matt O’Leary) cheated on their sorority sister Megan (Audrina Patridge). In the spirit of “all for one, one for all,” they decide to get even by frightening Garrett into thinking Megan has died from an overdose of pills he has slipped her. They extend the prank by convincing Garrett to cover up Megan’s death or he will go to jail. As they take the “body” out to an abandoned well to dispose of it, the girls cover up their giggles and glee at watching Garrett suffer. They do not foresee that Garrett will notice Megan moving and grab a tire iron to finish the job. The plot thus far, though grim, is interesting. How will the girls and Garrett handle this tragic event? It would be an opportunity to create suspense through the guilt they all feel and how that guilt prompts each person to react differently. Instead, the movie falls into typical slasher mode. At a graduation party eight months later, the girls receive, on their cell phones, a photo of a hooded figure holding the bloody tire iron Garrett used to kill Megan. Shortly after, mysterious deaths start occurring. Can it be that Megan is not really dead and has returned to exact vengeance? Is Garrett, who was never the same after the incident, responsible? Or can it just be coincidence that a serial killer has set his sights on the college, and Theta Pi in particular? There are good performances in “Sorority Row.” Leah Pipes plays Jessica, the ringleader of the sorority sisters. Jessica is eminently unlikable. Bossy, arrogant, elitist, affluent, and clever, she is not at a loss when it comes to covering up a crime and moving on as if nothing happened. She is the beautiful prom queen from hell, who draws her friends into a conspiracy plot as easily as if she is orga- Jamie Chung, Briana Evigan, and Rumer Willis in ‘Sorority Row.’ �� ����������������� ��������� Authentic Cuisine from Spain ����������������� nizing an afternoon tea. Briana Evigan plays Cassidy, the conscience of the group who goes along with what she knows is wrong out of loyalty to her friends. Though, after the Megan incident, she tries to distance herself from Jessica, she is drawn in by peer pressure to keep the crime a secret. Ellie (Rumer Willis) is the constantly frightened one. For most of her screen time, she is crying and near hysteria. It is only the tough talk of Jessica and the empathy of Cassidy that keep Ellie from going over the edge. With her unstylish glasses and good heart, one wonders how such a sweet person ever became involved with the sorority. Though the women of Theta Pi have their share of wild parties, they are looked after by house mother Mrs. Crenshaw (Carrie Fisher), a motherly type who knows how to apportion tough love and leniency in the proper doses. She genuinely cares for the girls in her charge, but will not brook disrespect. After being introduced in the early part of the movie, Mrs. Crenshaw does not return until some time later. When she does reappear, however, the sparks fly. As with numerous horror thrillers, “Sorority Row” exaggerates many of its scenes. Party sequences depict wall-towall students, alcohol flowing freely, music blaring, pillow fights in full swing, and drunken groping. Naturally, for the sake of plot advancement, the police are nowhere to be seen. Rated R, “Sorority Row” explores the darker side of loyalty and friendship, using an unplanned murder as the catalyst to draw out the true natures of those involved. Ultimately, however, it is a movie that fits the mold of the many slasher films that have come before. 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