Sorority Row Review: Death’s a Bitch

September 9, 2009 by  
Filed under - Home, Film Reviews

SORORITY ROW: On General Release from Wednesday 9th September 2009

‘Does what it says on the tin’ is a phrase all too commonly used in lazy genre-specific movie reviews.

Now, attributing the line ‘does what it says on the poster’ is a totally different matter and far more relatable.

For those who haven’t seen it yet, Sorority Row‘s is as follows: five nubile, scantily clad young ladies (and one mini-Stifler’s Mum) stand before a bloody, customised tire iron, as an ominously melodramatic tagline declares they’re ‘Sisters for life… and death’.

You’d go out on a limb and guess it’s your middle of the road teen slasher flick.

What you can’t get from the one-piece however, is the level of genuinely entertaining, relentlessly cutting quippery that’s bandied between the girls.

Because Sorority Row is that rarest of beasts – a modern horror that’s neither post-modernly ironic or constrictively old-school.

It’s jumpy, funny and just the right side of teen-rated gory.

Just as Uni life was for the rest of us, Sorority Row revolves around six droolingly attractive girls who all hang out in a non-stop party house. They decide to prank one of their fellow students into thinking he’s accidentally killed ‘the characterless one’ (AKA Megan), and as Uni pranks are want to do, things get taken a bit too far, tears are shed, names are called and innocent participants are excruciatingly, accidentally murdered.

Eight months on, as the girls are preparing to graduate, a murder-weapon wielding shadowy presence is stalking the grounds and picking the girls off one by one wielding a pimped up version of the very murder weapon used to bump off Megan in the first place.

So while the plot is admittedly about as original as the obligatory topless shower scene, it’s the witty, self-knowing script and polished performances from the girls themselves that elevate this above your traditional teen-horror fare.

Queen bee-atch Jessica (Leah Pipes) is a masterclass in finger-snapping, Tyra-on-crack putdowns that are as funny as they are spiteful, while Cassidy (Briana Evigan) is the cheer-worthy moral lead but surprisingly kick-ass and spunkily spirited with it. The other girls and supporting/suffering boyfriends may be about as exciting as cardboard bread, but even they’re granted at least one great one-liner each.

Fundamentally, the deaths may not be as OTT as The Final Destination or as memorably gimmicky as Urban Legend, but given the time to actually develop, the cast (and subsequently plot) is a character-driven affair, meaning you leave the cinema actually able to not only remember the cannon fodders’ names, but hoping you’ll see more of them in subsequent outings.

Director Stewart Hendler has referred to Sorority Row as Mean Girls meets Scream and it almost hits those heady, genre-topping heights. The only thing its missing is watching ol’ Munch-Mask going to town on Lindsay Lohan with a spare tire iron.

Matt Risley

For more comedy horror shenanigans you have to read our Zombieland review (which has been awarded OTB’s first ever 6 out of 5), or you could always read up on our review of South Park’s controversial ‘Dead Celebrities’ episode (too soon?)….

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  1. Not necessarily bad, just horribly unbelievable. That’s my feeling on this film. I didn’t hate it, but I couldn’t take a bit of it seriously. Not that this is always a bad thing if you want to turn you brain off for a couple of hours (which I was forced into doing), but I think it could have been a better (and scarier) film if it had been written with more seriousness.

    I mean, the one-liners were clever and all, but come on. When characters are responding to corpses with phrases such as “Megan!? She looks awful!” and “That tire iron looks, like, all pimped out”, you can’t help but roll your eyes.

    The original 1983 film was more ominous and more creepy.