Thursday, January 10, 2008
Film Review: I Know Who Killed Me

Okay kids, brace yourselves. This one is ugly. Full spoilers ahead, so don't keep reading if you want to experience the magic and wonder of this film for yourself. And by "magic and wonder" of course I mean "utter crap with a hefty dose of unintentional comedy."

Normally when I watch terrible films with the intent to review them, I take copious notes so that I can better provide You The Reader with an accurate play-by-play of all the action. I Know Who Killed Me, however, was so convoluted that after only fifteen minutes I already had a page full of ideas connected to other ideas with arrows and question marks. When I realized that next to every comment I had written "WTF?" I decided to forego the note-taking and do this on the fly. It's probable that I will miss or skip over lots of things, but I believe I can recall enough to provide y'all with some decent snark. Here goes.

Aubrey Fleming (Lindsay Lohan) is a spoiled rich teenager. She lives in a big fancy house and drives a fancy blue car. This film's director seems to have some idea about using the color blue in arty, symbolic ways. Result: the viewer notices that there's a hell of a lot of blue everywhere.

Aubrey wants to be a creative writer. She sucks at it. You see her reading a story to her class about a girl who feels as if she only has half a soul. Half of her is missing! Oh noes. The film has only just started and already I've had enough of her emo bullshit. Aubrey is a very good pianist. Her piano teacher thinks she has a real shot at winning a competition for young pianists. She tells him that she's just not feeling the piano, y'know? It's just not what she wants to do with her life. She wants to be a creative writer, that's where her heart is. I think the viewer is supposed to understand that she needs to follow her heart, blah blah blah, but personally I think she should stick with the piano. It's less emo.

So she's at school in science class and everyone has on blue rubber gloves. Her cheesy jock boyfriend is trying to feel her up, and she's all "Is that all I am to you, Jarrod? Just a sex object?" Um, yes. He's 16. He doesn't care about your emo short stories, he cares about your boobs. Then out of nowhere they get told that one of their classmates has been found dead. Presumably she's been missing for a while. Her body has been mutilated.

Interspersed in here are a few scenes of LiLo doing some terrible stripping. She's maybe a worse stripper than she is a creative writer. She kind of rolls around lazily on the floor and spreads her legs. Note: she is possibly the only stripper in the world who never actually gets her kit off. Can this even be considered stripping?

Flash Forward. LiLo's cheesy boyfriend gives her a blue rose. She goes to watch him play football. Their team's uniforms are blue. After the game, the streets are all crowded with people celebrating. She tells her friends she's going to look for Cheesy Boyfriend and will meet them in front of the cinema at 11:45. She never shows. Oh noes!

So it looks like there's a serial killer at work here. We see LiLo's point of view. She is strapped to a table with a blue gag in her mouth. The killer has on blue gloves and some blue stockings over his face. There are prosthetic limbs hanging from the ceiling. He has a tray of custom-made glass knives. This seems kind of elaborate for the average serial killer. He uses a vise-grip thingy to wedge her hand between two blocks of dry ice until her fingers peel off. This is actually kind of gruesome, and I have a high threshold for gruesome.

Time passes. Eventually a woman is driving home at night and finds LiLo in a ditch. She's alive! She wakes up in a hospital with her right arm and leg amputated. Everyone is all "Oh Aubrey! We're so glad you're okay!" LiLo is all "Who the hell is Aubrey?"

She starts telling some story about how she's a stripper named Dakota Moss. Everyone thinks that she's had a psychological break or something, and has invented an alter-ego to help deal with what's happened to her. She is unable to answer any police questions helpfully. Eventually she goes home with Aubrey's parents. She has dirty sex with Aubrey's cheesy boyfriend. She persists with the whole "I'm Dakota the skanky stripper" thing, and decides to find out what happened to Aubrey herself.

Oh, before I forget. She's fitted with a prosthetic hand and foot. Her physical therapist is Crab Man from My Name Is Earl. He tells her to be sure to plug her prosthetic foot in at night, because if the battery goes dead it will be heavy, like dragging around a wooden leg. OKAY. Isn't she dragging around a wooden leg anyway? How do batteries make it less heavy? You can just see this becoming a Plot Device. Oh noes! I am in peril and my Leg Batteries have died!

She says that she started losing her fingers a couple of weeks ago. They just started turning black. She cut one of them off herself. Cue more gruesome, I actually had to look away - and I don't often look away. She woke up one night to find severe cuts on her leg. She remembered her mom having mail from the town where Aubrey lives, so she just decides to go there on a whim. With a nearly severed leg. None of this makes any sense to me.

So yeah, she just collapses in this ditch, and then she's found and everyone thinks she's Aubrey. But she says she is not Aubrey. Her story sounds made up, so everyone keeps thinking that Aubrey has made herself a new persona. The police find Aubrey's emo short story about missing halves and realize that it's about a girl named Dakota. So it looks pretty evident that Dakota and Aubrey are the same person.

Let me preface this next bit by saying I have NO IDEA how we arrive at the following conclusion. It's entirely possible that there's an explanation in the film somewhere, but the plot is a complete mess. I was watching pretty intently (not, like, doing my nails or anything) and I don't understand how we get from point A to point B here.

So Dakota and Aubrey have the same birthday. We figured this out back at the hospital. Dakota deduces that her crackwhore mom had twins. The Flemings' daughter was born with some health problems and died at the hospital. SOMEHOW Mr. Fleming hides this fact from his wife and buys one of the crackwhore's twins and passes it off as Aubrey Fleming. OMG! That's why Aubrey is all the time writing crappy emo stories about feeling like half a person! Because she totally IS half a person! Even though twins are TWO WHOLE PEOPLE. But never mind that.

So Dakota reckons she's having some kind of Identical Twin Stigmata thing, where everything that happens to Aubrey also happens to her. So when Psycho Blue Killer started slicing Aubrey up, Dakota's body parts fell off too. I sure am glad I don't have a twin. Dakota confronts Aubrey's Dad and is all "I know what you did! Now you have to help me find the killer while Aubrey is still alive!"

They go to that other dead girl's grave. You know, that other girl from Aubrey's school. They find a blue ribbon on the grave. Well, what do you know. Other Dead Girl won a competition for young pianists. THE KILLER IS THE PIANO TEACHER OMG!

So we have a pianist who makes his own elaborate glass knives (and stained glass, I don't think I mentioned he also makes stained glass) and is obsessed with prosthetic limbs. Dakota and the dad drive out to his house without calling the police or anything.

Meanwhile Crazy Piano Teacher has dressed Aubrey in a wedding gown and is burying her alive in a stained glass coffin. Dakota has trouble breathing, because Aubrey is running out of air.

At the piano teacher's house: peril, chaos. The dad gets killed and bleeds to death. Dakota cuts off piano teacher's hand. Cut to tragic scene of piano teacher trying to play piano with bloody stump. Tears, frustration. Chase scene! Fight! Dakota stabs him multiple times with his own glass knives. I'm still waiting for the batteries in her wooden leg to die, but this never happens. I feel cheated.

Dakota starts hearing Aubrey's voice in her mind. Help me! Oh help! She limps outside with a shovel, finds the grave, and digs her up. Punches through stained glass coffin with bionic hand. Dakota and Aubrey are missing limbs and all, but they're SO HAPPY to finally be a whole person again. The End.

You know, sometimes I see really bad films and I think "this had potential, it was just poorly executed." I Know Who Killed Me might be one of those films. The plot twists were ridiculous, but I don't know if that's because the whole Twins idea is ridiculous, of if the director was too preoccupied with the color blue to flesh out any of the other ideas. I found the film to be entertaining, though certainly not in the way it was intended to be. Recommended, as long as you have low expectations.