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Movie Review: I Know Who Killed Me

By Matthew Huntley

August 30, 2007

I hate to break this to you. Your career is dead.

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I Know Who Killed Me feels like a deliberate exercise in cinematic ineptitude. When movies are released theatrically, they carry with them an obligation to at least appear professional and possess some kind of virtue to entice the audience. With its amateur presentation, "I Know" is better suited as a direct-to-DVD release, or perhaps as a midnight movie on the USA Network. It shouldn't have been made this way at all. During the screening, a colleague leaned over to me and said pornos have better plots. I don't know about better plots, but perhaps higher standards.

This will inevitably become another flop in Lindsay Lohan's diminishing career. Lucky for her, though, not many people will ever hear of I Know Who Killed Me, let alone see it. The movie's low profile saves her from being chastised, and that's the best she can hope for.

Lohan stars as Aubrey Fleming, a senior high school student with a passion for writing sensational stories. Aubrey has her heart set on college and avoids any outside distractions like playing piano and having sex with her boyfriend Jerrod (Brian Geraghty), though the looks she exchanges with a hunky landscaper suggest she's not as conservative as she appears.

One night, after the big football game, Aubrey is kidnapped. By whom, we do not know, but the scene where her friends and Jerrod deduce she is missing may be one of the most incompetent and poorly acted scenes I've witnessed in a movie. Listen to the way these young actors talk and pretend to be fearful. Director Chris Sivertson shows he has little-to-no grasp on what it takes to generate tension and unease, nor does he demand much from his cast.

Instead of being a movie made with effort and skill, I Know Who Killed Me feels like a half-as*ed assignment from a flippant film student. It's something the cast and crew have thrown together just to get it over with. Throughout the movie, basic techniques like lighting, composition and editing seem grossly amateurish and give off a pungent aroma of inadequacy. To say it resembles a student film is an insult to student filmmakers.

Back to the plot. We see Aubrey tied down and gagged. She's being tortured by a masked figure, who forces pills down her throat and places her hand on a block of dry ice so he (or she) can eventually rip her skin off. Days later, her parents, Daniel and Susan (Neal McDonough and Julia Ormond), get a call letting them know Aubrey is alive and was found on the side of the road. Her right hand and leg have to be amputated.




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When she awakes, the girl in the hospital bed claims she's not Aubrey. She's Dakota Moss, a stripper and self-proclaimed delinquent with a potty mouth who happens to look like Aubrey. Dakota has no recollection of who did this to her. The police feel Aubrey may be imagining herself as one of the characters in her stories and the movie tries to build intrigue by making Aubrey appear delusional. Is Aubrey faking it? If so, what's her motivation? I tried to ponder these questions and give the movie the benefit of the doubt, but it's so poor with its performance that I found it hard to given any part of myself over to it. If I did, I'd feel like I was betraying myself.

I'll not reveal where the plot eventually goes, nor how it involves notions like non-religious stigmata and the idea of when one person is injured, another person with the same DNA suffers the same injuries. No, I will not go into that. Nor will I reveal the dumbed down showdown between Dakota (or is it Aubrey?) with the killer, whose motivation is never explored beyond calling him (or her) insane. And I wouldn't want to tell you how the ending in a basement could have been done better by kids playing haunted house (when a hand reaches out from a door, I literally said, "You've got to be kidding!").

To be fair, the somewhat supernatural elements introduced in Jeff Hammond's screenplay could have worked. As I always say, it's not what a movie is about, but how it's about it. And how I Know Who Killed Me is about its plot is impressively bad. I'm not saying that to be mean, funny or arbitrary. It is sincerely and amazingly bad. Bad, bad, bad.

The movie is shoe-in to sweep the Razzie Awards, though it could be a close battle between it and Perfect Stranger. I give I Know Who Killed Me a couple points for being unintentionally amusing – it contains one of the funniest sex scenes I've seen in a movie. It's not quite up there with Jack
Frost, in which a woman is raped by a snowman, but it still induces laughter.

As for Ms. Lohan, well, she can hopefully take humble pride knowing she accomplished the feat for being one of the worst, most unsexy exotic dancers ever to appear on-screen. She should have taken lessons from her Freaky Friday co-star Jamie Lee Curtis, who was sexy and intentionally funny when she stripped down in True Lies. At this point, if Lohan wants to save her career, she needs to start choosing intelligent roles and make an effort to transform herself into a character that goes beyond her public persona. She really needs to respect herself.

I'm guessing the studio executives at TriStar never bothered to watch I Know Who Killed Me all the way through before deciding to spend millions on prints and advertising. Did anyone, for that matter, believe they were making a cohesive movie that was entertaining or meaningful? If someone had stopped to care about what they were doing, had a vision, and carried it out, money and embarrassment could have been saved. This movie doesn't deserve to be in theaters.


     


 
 

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