I prefer Burger King to McDonalds, but I don't think I could subsist on nothing but BK. I do, however, think I could live on nothing but Pizza Hut. SORORITY ROW is Pizza Hut.
Unfortunately, it soon turns out that this is a Pizza Hut that only sells Margherita pizzas, which are nice for a change and when you don't want anything too fancy, but soon gets boring.
The starter menu isn't too fussy, presenting as it does an extended set-up to events: a group of sorority sisters play an exceptionally mean-spirited prank on their friend's cheating boyfriend, which ends up inadvertently costing the girl her life. After A LOT of standing around and arguing, they dump the body down a mineshaft and try to get on with their lives.
It takes far too long for the main course to arrive: it's almost 40 minutes from the start of the film before the killer actually appears and starts whittling down the cast. Is it worth the wait? Yes and no. The kills range from the boring (being stabbed) to the unpleasant (a girl gets a bottle rammed down her throat) with none of the playfulness of earlier slasher films such as Friday The 13th's sleeping bag kills or the tension of Michael Myers' relentless stalking. This killer wears a black cloak and gown (obvious/not scary) and kills using a modified tire iron (as this was used to kill the girl at the start). They also have unerring aim when throwing something that evidently carries a bit of weight. Perhaps there's a Slasher Olympics? That might be worth making into a film.
And then it's onto the dessert. I felt like I'd ordered a chocolate fudge cake and got one of those steam-in-the-microwave chocolate puddings instead. There are the usual array of red herring suspects (the dead girl's boyfriend? her sister? one of the main girls?) but it turns out to be someone utterly ridiculous, and feels like a "Haha! You didn't see that one coming!" No we didn't, because it doesn't make a whole lot of sense. Sure, the killer explains their "motive" (and I use that term vveerryyy loosely) but it's balls, frankly. I haven't felt so disappointed in a killer's reveal since I endured Valentine.
Sorority Row has very little wit, features largely unlikeable and contradictory characters (whose personalities turn on a dime if the plot requires it) and far too much standing/sitting around arguing about things and being bitchy to each other. I suppose in that respect the filmmakers have perfectly captured the spirit of a girls' sorority, but when it pads out the runtime of a horror film, it's not much fun. Yes, there're tits on display, but it feels like a necessary evil, rather than the joyful boobnanza of 1980's horror films (where they tend to pop out at any given time). And Carrie Fisher gets in effect an extended cameo, for no real reason other than to be a bit of a 'badass' housemother with a shotgun.
So if this is Pizza Hut with incompetent staff and a bare bones menu, I think I'd rather live off the cinematic equivalent of Pizza Express, where a sorority plays an integral part but there's also genuine charm and imagination on display. Yes, I'm talking about my favourite film ever, Night of the Creeps. I'd never get sick of eating at THAT restaurant!