Admit it: you laugh a little when the horror movie killer turns out to be a girl. You think it's funny. Ha ha! The BIG twist…it's a chick! Doesn't really matter which chick it is, or why a 100-pound brunette with Hawaiian Tropic skin and an altered proboscis chose to become a homicidal maniac-it's funny. Gives a film immediate camp status. You know it's true. You raging neosexist pig. Just kidding- I laugh too. Plus I'm a lousy feminist who's pro-Brazilians and anal scenes, so who am I to judge.
Some spoilers ahead!
Girl killers are less of a joke in foreign films, like High Tension (where you're too busy chugging Klonopin and hiding under the seat to laugh):
Or Audition (you're checking yourself into a mental health clinic).
But in American horror, when it's a lady under the scary black hood, you know it's all meant in camp. Take Urban Legend-naked threesome videos notwithstanding, come on. We're supposed to believe Rebecca Gayheart butchered some dude and hung his body from a tree? Please.
The thing is, women do kill people. Sometimes in violent, messy ways. We gots anger. We get pissed. Got ovaries? Not feeling pissed? Look around-there's plenty to be pissed about. Like the fact that if you're a woman and you write for a living, you could top Tolstoy and it wouldn't matter, if you have a seriously crooked nose and big thighs. And the fact that if some dude in Dockers calls you a "sloppy cunt" and he's just being a "cool guy" (or a bestselling writer), you're a humorless bitch if you don't think it's funny. And the biggest clusterfuck of all: We're not "allowed" to get angry-it's not "feminine." (Apparently neither is cussing, according to some dude who asked me to drinks a few months ago-"You swear more than a woman should," he told me. Motherfucker, I said, I don't know what the fuck you're talking about.)
But mainstream horror is and always has been afraid of female rage. Films like the first Friday the 13th, and the original House on Sorority Row (which Sorority Row is based on) touched on the wrath of She-by making the killer a crazy old lady (plus in the latter film, she wasn't even the real killer-yes, I just spoiled the ending. Deal with it).
So given all this, Sorority Row had such a fantastic, singular opportunity. Here we have a house full of aggressive, pissed-off, bitchy women who'd love nothing more than to slide an ice pick into each other's craniums (or their boyfriends'). The killer SHOULD be one of these women. They should be UNLEASHED, preferably with chainsaws and nail guns. It would be AWESOME.
But instead, they blow it. Same old formula, same tired shit: Homicidal (male) maniac on the loose, who fooled everyone into thinking he was a normal guy (don't they all). Kills a bunch of screaming women who are usually in some state of undress. And a few guys too. BORING.
Though I will say Rumer Willis did wield that shotgun quite well at the end. Par for the course when your father is John McClane, I suppose.
Melissa Lafsky really likes horror movies.