Posted by: Peter Hall
Directed by Stewart Hendler, 2009
Written by Josh Stolberg & Pete Goldfinger
One could criticize SORORITY ROW for having mostly unlikeable characters, an aesthetic sense ripped from an American Eagle catalog and dialog lifted wholesale from a wall-to-wall conversation on a freshman’s Facebook page, but one shouldn’t. Go see SORORITY ROW on opening weekend in a college town with a college crowd and you will be reminded with great velocity that the only fictional element of its screenplay is a hooded killer who slaughters the sisters of a sorority house. Everything else about the culture of artificial people it so gleefully slays, vapid it and they may be, is ruefully realistic. And though I’d have a hard time calling SORORITY ROW expert filmmaking with a straight face, seeing a swath of useless advertisements for trends get dispatched by a tire iron with knives on it is one of the more entertaining times I’ve had a theater this year.
SORORITY ROW is a throwback to a time (cough, the ’90s) when slasher films were absurd enough to be joked around with, but serious enough to only illicit laughs at all the right times. There’s none of Rob Zombie’s fetishism for brooding characters and running-mascara set design. There’s none of HATCHET’s nyuck-nyuck-schtick and over-the-top gore. None of PROM NIGHT’s self-serious attempts to ignore the fact that it eats at the kiddie table. No toleration for the current state of the genre’s fetish for tortuously prolonging the pain. Nope, Stewart Hendler’s SORORITY ROW is exactly what it intends to be: an in-and-out 101 minutes of earned laughs punctuated by slick kills.