Horror Remakes That Don’t Suck: “Sorority Row” (2009)

While I have two other remakes that I consider more of my favorites, (Mother’s Day and The Last House on the Left), I wanted to do a review on this underrated gem, my 3rd favorite remake, Sorority Row.

Sorority Row is a remake of the 1983 film The House on Sorority Row. It tells the story of a group of sorority sisters; Cassidy (Briana Evigan), Jessica (Leah Pipes), Ellie (Rumer Willis), Claire (Jamie Chung), Chugs (Margo Harshman), and Megan (Audrina Patridge), who one night at one their parties decide to play a prank on Megan’s cheating boyfriend Garrett (Matt O’Leary), who is also Chugs’ brother. While making out with Garrett as the girls watch via Jessica’s laptop, Megan starts convulsing causing Garrett to freak because of the “roofies” he supposedly gave her. The girls manage to convince Garrett that Megan is dead and they need to hide the body. When they come to an empty mine area, they decide that the air needs to be out of Megan’s lungs to make her body sink in the water. But before the truth about the prank is revealed, Garrett plunges a tire iron through Megan’s chest. This time REALLY killing her. It is then decided that the night’s events shall be kept secret, despite Cassidy’s protests, and Megan’s body is dumped down a mine shaft along with the tire iron. Flash forward to the sisters’ graduation. When preparing for an end of year party, the girls start receiving texts from someone who knows their secret, and it is here that the body count of the sisters begins from someone in a hooded graduation gown and a deadly tire iron in hand. Has Megan returned from the grave, or is someone out to avenge her death? Who will survive the Theta Pi blood bath?

I honestly prefer this remake to its original. The original film is great, don’t get me wrong. But here I felt there was more fun to be had. A great cast of actresses, pretty likeable characters, great one-liners (a lot of dark humor here), and solid kills.

The Cast: Briana Evigan is solid as our heroine of the story, she’s a strong character who is not afraid to stand up against the Queen Bee, Jessica. Jamie Chung does great as Jessica’s side kick Claire. We actually hope she survives because we see that despite being with Jessica, we see that she has a lot of heart and regrets for what happened. Rumer Willis gives us the character Ellie. While I think Rumer did a great job, I basically hated the character of Ellie, all she does is scream and stammer in the whole movie. I was really rooting for her to bite it. Margo Harshman plays the drunk sister, Chugs, who is definitely one of the funnier characters of the film who provides a lot of humor to the film. Finally we come to Jessica played by Leah Pipes. Jessica is hands down my FAVORITE character. She’s the Queen Bee who takes her sense of humor to a huge extent to where she’s considered a bitch. She provides the most dark humor and one-liners in the movie. And in my opinion was the toughest of the girls and always took action. I found myself rooting for her the whole time.

The flaws: While I loved the cast and the very clever and symbolic kills, this remake did have its flaws. One of them being the character of Maggie (played by Caroline D’Amore), who is Megan’s sister. She’s barely in the movie, and yet she gets to be one of the 3 surviving girls. This pissed me off majorly consider we had more major girls to choose from to be the third. Hell I would’ve been satisfied with just the other survivors being the only ones. Maggie is just so damn annoying in it and Caroline’s acting didn’t help anything either. The other flaw is the identity of the killer. Sure we’re given a lot of possibilities and red herrings but instead we get a huge cliché and a terrible motive. Did these two flaws bring down the film for me though? Hell no.

This remake is a lot of fun with great characters, performances, kills, one-liners, a solid soundtrack, and great party sequences. It was a pretty great throwback to 80s horror. I was really disappointed this underperformed at the box office. Such an underrated remake.

–Cody Landman