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Lifetime Movie Review: The Haunting of Sorority Row

So I was flipping through my DVR the other night, wondering how to fill the void left by Big Love now that the season has ended, and I stumbled upon the 2007 made for TV release Haunting of Sorority Row (released in the UK as Deadly Pledge). My first thought was "I didn't record this...Qualler?" but I didn't hesitate to hit select on my remote. I put on my jammies, poured myself a glass of wine, and settled in for a pleasant evening.Once the movie began and I saw that it starred a favorite in the Qualler household, Leighton Meester (Gossip Girl’s Blair), I understood why my husband had recorded this (and I could cross sorority girls weird fetish off my list of suspicions). It was weird to see Blair in such a role—without her hair, clothing, makeup, and lighting perfectly done, I kept wondering why Blair wasn’t radiating like she typically does. She even had kind of a bad haircut, and the clothing was all very 2004 for a movie that came out in 2007. The story was one we’ve heard before: sorority sisters hold a terrible secret that new pledges need to uncover at the risk of their own lives. And of course, that secret involves a murder and an attempted cover up.
What was interesting about this film is that it really encompassed several stereotypical plotlines and combined them to make one, new ‘what the eff is going on?’ plotline. First plotline: unpopular girl with nerdy but smart (re: wears glasses) boyfriend go off to college together. Suddenly, girl begins to pledge sorority and hang out with bitchy girls and hot frat boys. Nerdy boyfriend feels threatened. If the movie’s title had not contained the word haunting, then I perhaps would have thought that this would be the central point of conflict. But oh, no! Second plotline: our hero (unpopular turned popular girl) rushes a sorority and rooms with a shy, bookish type who doesn’t seem to have what it takes and is constantly the butt of everyone’s joke. Perhaps the movie will take the “evil girls cause one unpopular girl to flip out/somehow die” route. Third plotline: the sorority sisters are being killed off one by one. There is some sort of terrible secret that must be unearthed and only this new pledge with everything to lose can do it for us.Now, here’s where the movie gets interesting. We find out that the terrible secret was that the pledge from last year who just disappeared had not, indeed, disappeared. While taking her turn to spend a night in a coffin in the attic (all the girls had to do this…sororities, man!), this pledge died of fright. The other sisters (there is a HILARIOUS flashback scene when they all go to let her out of the coffin and present her with her matching shirt just like the one they’re all wearing, BUT SHE’S DEAD) try to cover up the death by burying her themselves. I assumed that this former pledge had indeed been murdered, buried, and was now back to haunt them until they paid for what they had done to her, one by one. What I did not see coming was that this pledge was, in fact, NEVER REALLY DEAD. She had been buried alive, then managed to escape her grave, gain shape shifting and telekinetic powers so that she could murder the girls one by one in a ghost-like way (though she is not, in fact, a ghost). She was among them all along! She was the nervous pledge that didn't quite fit in!! Somehow, that seems less believable than just a regular haunting.

Overall, I would have to give this movie a rating of: Indifferent Kitten. Not as satisfying as Friends Till the End, but not a bad way to spend a weeknight.Lost Update: Shannon’s dead!! I hate Anna Lucia! And what’s with Desmond? Is he ever coming back? Will we see more of him after he ran off into the jungle? And that shot of the others when they walked by Jin and Mr. Eko when they were hiding in the bushes and we just saw their bare feet and one dragging a teddy bear WAS SO FREAKING SCARY WHY ARE THEY TAKING THE CHILDREN?????!!!!

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  1. Anonymous OHD | 9:16 AM |  

    Yup, sounds like my sorority experience to a T.

  2. Blogger chris | 12:09 PM |  

    Wait, how did she get telekinesis and shape-shifting powers? Some kind of curse? Did she die and come back to life? An X-Men zombie of some kind then?

  3. Blogger Brigitte | 12:24 PM |  

    those are good questions chris. i'm not totally clear on how/why she got those powers...but i don't think she ever really died...something about how they thought she was dead but they actually buried her alive, and she escaped, and her rage?? made it so that she had powers and could "haunt" them. I didn't make a lot of sense.

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