I Know Who Killed Me (2007) / Thriller
MPAA Rated: R for grisly violence, torture, gore, sexuality, nudity, and language
Running time: 105 min.
Cast: Lindsay Lohan, Julia Ormond, Neal McDonough, Brian Geraghty, Spencer Garrett, Garcelle Beauvais-Nilon
Director: Chris Sivertson
Screenplay: Jeff Hammond
Review published August 1, 2007
Star Lindsay Lohan (Georgia Rule, Chapter 27) spends the bulk of this movie trying to get revenge on the mysterious person who has "killed" her, although the person she really needs to exact justice on is the person who cast her. Falling under the category of so-bad-it's-almost-enjoyable, I Know Who Killed Me is the kind of sensational trash that only someone skilled enough at virtuoso direction amid sleaze could have pulled off, a la Paul Verhoeven, David Lynch or Brian De Palma at their creative peaks. Cheapie horror director Chris Sivertson (The Lost, All Cheerleaders Die) is not such a director, and his most flagrant foul among many is in taking the ambitiously schlocky script by first-timer Jeffrey Hammond at face value, not once camping it up for maximum enjoyment to let us know it's all meant to be an enjoyably trippy, nonsensical lark.
Lohan stars as small town girl-next-door Aubrey Fleming, a well-adjusted college student, a talented pianist and burgeoning writer, who ends up becoming the next intended victim of a sadistic serial killer. By a miracle, her body is found, and she is able to recover in a nearby hospital, although part of one of her arms and one of her legs has been amputated. Most troubling is the fact that Aubrey, upon awakening, believes herself to be an entirely different person named Dakota Moss, a stripper come to town that has a connection with Aubrey that cant readily be explained except for the fact that she is most likely crazy from the trauma. The killer is still out there, and must be stopped, but with Aubrey -- I mean, Dakota -- not able to remember any details of what happened, not only of the ordeal, but also her life in general, it's going to take a great deal of sleuthing to get to the bottom of things.
I Know Who Killed Me might have had a chance at success, even with the addled script, if it could have played a bit more tongue-in-cheek as a knowing exploitation flick. Unfortunately, Sivertson doesn't know how to properly titillate us, as the moments of torture-porn are too grisly to not find repugnant, and the scenes of sexuality curiously languishing in the realm of mild PG-13 caliber cheesecake. It's too dark and murky, with lighting issues that, even if intentional, don't exactly make this film appealing to watch just from an aesthetics standpoint. Siverston also lingers too long in nearly every scene, especially employing some painstakingly slow shots of Lohan pole dancing in her life as a sultry stripper named Dakota. The script teases between having us believe that Dakota is one of two things: an alter ego concocted by Aubrey during her latest writing, or, as she believes, the long-lost twin sister she was separated at birth from.
I Know Who Killed Me doesn't deserve the cast it has, as Lohan, despite her off-screen shenanigans threatening to implode her entire career, has all of the tools and talent to be a fine actress if she could stick to roles that benefit her (a little more Prairie Home and a little less Herbie would do her some good). Sadly, this film marks the nadir of an already spotty career that is almost becoming as much of a disaster as her personal life. Julia Ormond (Sabrina, First Knight), a terrific actress who hasn't starred in a high profile movie in over 10 years, actually does a fine job in her role, despite being underwritten. If she is to get her career back on the track of the initial promise she showed in the 1990s, it's not going to be through trashy thrillers like this.
And yes, the film is so obviously trash that a real opportunity was missed here to craft something akin to a third feature of Grindhouse with just a smidge more ingenuity in its sleaze and a director who wasn't so earnest in not playing things remotely funny. Even the film's ironic ending, which should have been delivered with a much more flair for the fantastic, lays stolid until the end credits roll and we wonder why we didn't resist our first impulses long before to stop watching altogether.
I Know Who Killed Me plays much like the fate of Aubrey herself, and perhaps of Lohan's career, showing some inner talent early on, followed by self-indulgent events that are detrimental to everything built up, finally culminating in scenarios that only grow ever more ridiculous with each passing moment. I realize that critics tend to pile on the insults of celebrities in constant media spotlight, but in the case of Lohan, how can we not discuss the train wreck happening before our very eyes? If Lohan ever needed a wake-up call to stop getting sloshed and sky high, it's in seeing the kinds of roles she readily signs on to when so many better offers must be surely coming her way.
©2007 Vince Leo