It's all fun and games until someone gets stabbed with a tire iron. When a pledge week trick goes extremely incorrect and one of their own is eliminated, the popular, hard-partying sisters of Theta Pi vow never ever to speak of the tragedy once more. The past comes back to haunt them in the kind of a bloodthirsty maniac seeking revenge throughout the out-of-control graduation festivities.
"Now let's go clean the blood off in the lake and get back to the party." Ah, the ladies of Theta Pi depend on something naughty once more. And as that most importantly timed line of discussion suggests, Sorority Row takes its resilient horror-movie concept and fine-tunes it with a bit of Diablo Cody-era snark. The rundown of the story is extracted from Mark Rosman's 1983 slashfest The House on Sorority Row: a sophisticated trick goes incredibly incorrect, and the resulting unintentional death activates a whitewash that will have dire repercussions for those involved. This update leaves to a flashy start, with amusing lines and a truly horrifying trick sequence. It's only when the action advances a few months into the future, and the time comes for the sorority sisters to pay the piper, that the motion picture devolves into a disappointingly conventional slasher rhythm. The sisters include in their ranks Briana Evigan, Leah Pipes, and Rumer Willis (child of Bruce and Demi), all whom have actually taken the code of Theta Pi solidarity a little too seriously. Obviously, you have to believe something is tainted when the Theta Pi housemother is played by Carrie Fisher. The grisly deaths, many of which involve a souped-up tire iron, are certainly real to the slasher-movie spirit of the 1980s, even if Sorority Row has snappier discussion than those movies might have imagined. -- Robert Horton