Friday, May 22, 2009

I Know Who Killed Me (2007)

With the meteoric rise of Lindsay Lohan's career, bloggers and gossip columnists took pleasure in watching her squeaky clean image transform into a rebellious streak of smoking, alcohol abuse, and lesbianism.

By the time Lohan starred in the grim R-rated thriller I Know Who Killed Me, critics sharpened their sabers, eager to tear it to ribbons. They did not disappoint. Michael Rechtshaffen of the Hollywood Reporter called it "a fresh candidate in the running for worst movie of 2007." An ambitious claim, considering 2007 also saw the release of Revolver, The Number 23, Delta Farce, Norbit, and Epic Movie. A more accurate statement would have been "a fresh candidate in the running for worst movie I was assigned to review this year."

Which is not to say I Know Who Killed Me is a good movie. It isn't. High school student and aspiring writer Aubrey Fleming (Lohan) is kidnapped by a serial killer and repeatedly tortured and dismembered. A few weeks later, she is discovered alive in a field, missing various limbs. Her parents are horrified but relieved. But their horror returns when Aubrey asserts that she is not Aubrey at all, but a stripper crack baby street tough from the other side of the tracks named Dakota Moss.
Moss seems determined to convince everyone of her street cred. She is more convincing as a hardnosed 1940s noir PI than a modern day 19 year old girl. She unironically calls the police "fuzz," and repeatedly refers to her difficult upbringing as a badge of honor.

The police, convinced this is Aubrey playing games, respond by badgering her repeatedly. Surrounded by two investigators and her conspicuously silent psychologist, the police attempt to break the facade by yelling at her into submission. Keep in mind she has an amputated arm and leg, was tortured for weeks, and is (as far as they know) suffering severe brain damage, schizophrenia, and amnesia.

Luckily, the police completely disappear by the third act, and Dakota assumes the role of chief investigator. The film introduces a flimsy array of suspects: father, boyfriend, piano teacher, and strangely flirtatious gardener (a.k.a. "Scorpion Nipple.")
To avoid spoilers, I'll stop discussing the plot here. I will say that any conclusion you could possibly glean for this movie is much more logical than what screenwriter Jeff Hammond ultimately chooses. With the connection between Aubrey and the previous victim, it should have been glaringly apparent who the killer is.

Despite its atrocious script, I Know Who Killed Me is well-shot. The film is appropriately dark and brooding. Aubrey's bedroom is almost pitch black, no matter what time of day, and in spite of no less than 10 assorted accent lamps. There is an obvious color motif throughout the film. See if you can figure it out.
The elements of Aubrey's button-downed life are expressed with deep blues (her car, outfits, a blue rose) while danger and intrigue are expressed in red (Dakota's outfits, blood, the gardener's handkerchief). It is used in various other ways, but its omnipresence makes any deep analysis pointless. Blue = convention. Red = danger. That's all you need to know.

The director, Chris Sivertson, is clearly influenced by Fincher and Lynch. The film features the dark, limiting light spectrum of Alien 3, Seven, and Fight Club, combined with Lynchian dream sequences and small-town intrigue. The premise itself is incredibly reminiscent of Twin Peaks (high school girl killed, supernatural elements, twins). These references are less homage and more a halfhearted attempt to achieve indie cred.

I Know Who Killed Me is not a good movie. Yet in spite of that, it's not egregiously terrible either. Like most big studio horror films, it falls into the category of muddled and forgettable. Had this not starred Lohan, I suspect it wouldn't have been trashed so heartily. No less than 3 separate critics call it "torture-porn." Aside from some amputations and a brief torture scene, it isn't particularly explicit or gory.

Critics relish calling this a nadir of Lindsay Lohan's career, as if The Parent Trap were a veritable tour-de-force of cinematic achievement. Rather, critics enjoyed bandwagon-bashing a mediocre film which happens to star someone with a well-documented and dramatic personal life.

What to drink:

Overpriced stripclub Jack and Coke.

Quotable quotes:
Football Announcer: As we all know, Jennifer Toland's body was found this week, and we'd like to take a moment of silence... Now let's get out there and win this for JENNIFER TOLAND!

Agent Lazarus: Jesus. I really hope our little investigation doesn't interfere with bingo night.

Dakota: Hospitals are for rich people.

Unexplained Man on Bus: People get cut. That's life.
Arbitrary ranking system:

Nadir of director Chris Siverston's (All Cheerleader's Die) career.


  1. Why are we reviewing such forgettable mediocrity now? Tune in next time when I review Burn After Reading. Spoiler alert: it's great!

  2. We review bad movies and movies which have the REPUTATION of being bad. A lot of people don't know the difference.

    Also check out this review. Someone devoted 15,000 WORDS to this movie. Who needs a shot-for-shot retelling? Just go see it!