It’s all fun and games until someone gets stabbed with a tire iron. When a pledge week prank goes terribly wrong and one of their own is killed, the popular, hard-partying sisters of Theta Pi vow never to speak of the tragedy again. But the past comes back to haunt them in the form of a homicidal maniac seeking revenge during the out-of-control graduation festivities.
"Now let's go wash the blood off in the lake and get back to the party." Ah, the girls of Theta Pi are up to something naughty again. And as that crucially timed line of dialogue suggests, Sorority Row
takes its durable horror-movie concept and tweaks it with a bit of Diablo Cody-era snark. The outline of the story is taken from Mark Rosman's 1983 slashfest The House on Sorority Row
: an elaborate prank goes extremely wrong, and the resulting accidental death triggers a cover-up that will have dire consequences for those involved. This update gets off to a flashy start, with funny lines and a genuinely horrifying prank sequence. It's only when the action advances a few months into the future, and the time comes for the sorority sisters to pay the piper, that the movie devolves into a disappointingly standard slasher rhythm. The sisters include in their ranks Briana Evigan, Leah Pipes, and Rumer Willis (daughter of Bruce and Demi), all of whom have taken the code of Theta Pi solidarity a little too seriously. Of course, you have to suspect something is tainted when the Theta Pi housemother is played by Carrie Fisher. The grisly deaths, many of which involve a souped-up tire iron, are certainly true to the slasher-movie spirit of the 1980s, even if Sorority Row
has snappier dialogue than those movies could have dreamed of. --Robert Horton