Gore, Bore, Whore
I Know Who Killed Me / Agent Bedhead
Film Reviews | July 27, 2007 | Comments ()
Sometimes, a film, in unison with its characters, suffers from a case of mistaken identity. I Know Who Killed Me has been billed as a thriller, a suspense, and a drama, but just like its lead actress, it aspires to be many things that it’s not. Lindsay Lohan started her movie career by convincingly playing a set of twins in The Parent Trap. As the toast of Disney, the freckled-faced ingénue followed up with family-friendly fare and a breakthrough role in Mean Girls that put her on the adolescent radar. A mildly successful film about a talking car and several flops later, this tempestuous redhead has been attempting to convince the world that she is a serious actress capable of carrying adult roles as well as those she insists have burdened her lofty talents. Hence Lohan’s willing participation in I Know Who Killed Me, which features her career careening towards a lopsided full circle to play twins maturing into young adulthood. Yet at 21 years of age, Lohan cannot muster up enough fresh-faced youthfulness to play someone in their late teens, and she appears older instead of wiser than her true age suggests.
I Know Who Killed Me was originally based on a story about a teenage girl who gets hooked on pain pills and finds sobriety in a wilderness intervention setting. Presumably, the success of Hostel inspired the newly-hired screenwriter (Jeff Hammond) to fashion the project into some sort of torture porn gone wild. However, whereas Hostel managed to largely separate the early pornesque segments of the film from the latter half’s torture theme, I Know Who Killed Me saucily combines the two into a dreadful and confusing combination of scenes. The resulting mess of a script was spawned from a mixture of Freudian parental issues, Jungian archetypes, and masturbatory adoration of David Lynch. Director Chris Sivertson reckoned that this combination was probably too profound for his target audience of, well, people who want to watch Lindsay Lohan as a stripper, so he puts in some very loud and colorful signals for those unable to focus on anything other than Lohan’s ass. We are thus instructed that red is bad, blue is good, and owls are very wise, so befriend one if at all possible.
Once blood starts running down the stripper pole, the psychedelic nightmare sets in like an acid casualty who never actually took any acid. Between the gut-wrenching gorefests, the suspense sputters into a tedious affair of Aubrey Fleming (the good twin) and Dakota Moss (the bad twin), who are both embodied by Lohan. The presence of the dual personalities functions only as a gimmick and a convenient excuse for flip-flopping between the torture scenes and their sexual counterparts, so the torture scenes are necessarily followed by either a striptease or actual sex. This twisted formula goes something like this: 1. Bad twin stripping scene. 2. Good twin gets strapped to a table and given near-lethal doses of amphetamines to keep her fully conscious during torture. 3. Bad twin lounges onstage, flanked by unsavory men, and on her back while opening and closing her legs. 4. Good twin screams in agony while her fingers are severed. 5. Bad twin happily screws boyfriend of good twin. The audience doesn’t know whether to be turned on or to throw up.
Obviously, the filmmakers attempted to appeal to the audiences who once seemed so loyal to the school of Eli Roth filmmaking. However, the troublesome literal application of the “torture porn” label makes the gore even more offensive because it puts torture and sex on even playing fields. As far as the film’s success in generating fear is concerned, some apprehension does exist because the stripper twin never actually takes her clothes off because, you know, a serious actress is never supposed to fully disrobe. Wardrobe matters notwithstanding, the twins endure the torture and saunter through the sexy parts with blue eyeshadow and red lipstick intact. A twin even ends up in the hospital with most of one leg and part of an arm missing, or maybe it was for exhaustion since one can never tell about these things. Good twin’s parents (Julia Ormond and Neal McDonough) show up and don’t understand why their daughter claims to be someone else. A psychiatrist/FBI agent is called in to diagnose the twin’s alter egos and PTSD, at which point Lohan’s mug shot appears on a computer projector screen while psychiatrist/FBI agent scrawls “DELUSIONAL!” across her smiling face. Unintentional hilarity — it’s a beautiful thing.
The film’s plot makes absolutely no sense, and it’s rather obvious that the screenwriter wrote as if he was cheating his way through a maze by tracing backwards. There are other characters who appear within the film, too, though to label them even two-dimensional would be a stretch of imagination. Jessica Rose (YouTube’s “Lonelygirl15”) appears as one of good twin’s vacuous friends who is totally, like, freaking out. A Christ-like figure appears that offers this nugget of wisdom, “People get cut. That’s life,” before his chest tattoo sprouts wings and tries to fly away. The film’s sound effects are sufficiently spooky, crackling, and well-timed enough to keep people constantly peeking over their shoulders. In fact, I actually heard Lohan’s career suffer some mortal wounds in the left rear corner of the theater. She’ll probably get hired for a few more crap films before she resorts to a six-week farewell tour with the Pussycat Dolls. But, I’m sure she’ll blame it all on someone else as a case of mistaken identity.
Agent Bedhead lives in Tulsa, Oklahoma and tries to avoid Eli Roth at all costs because, hey, she’s just not that into him. She also shows up daily at agentbedhead.com.