A group of sorority sisters are holding a house party to celebrate their imminent senior year, toast each other, then get down to a serious prank they want to pull. They can spy on Megan (Audrina Partridge) via the webcam as she and her boyfriend Garrett (Matt O'Leary) are making out, but there's more to it than that as she starts to choke and Garrett starts to panic. The girls rush through to Megan's room and their leader, Jessica (Leah Pipes), administers mouth to mouth to revive her from the bad effects of the pills she offered Garrett as he rushes out - then they let the others in on the secret...
Yes, the joke is on Garrett, but naturally this being a horror movie it goes further in this, the remake of the largely forgotten but not too bad shocker from the early eighties heyday of the slasher movie. Why bring back a film that most wouldn't even be aware of? Surely there wouldn't be much in the way of name recognition? Well, look to executive producer Mark Rosman, who brought the original to the screen in 1983 from his own script, and evidently thought he could make a profit by cashing in on the twenty-first century craze for horror remakes by reviving what had been your basic stalk and slash effort. The result was no better than its source, but not all that worse either.
This in spite of the fact that it takes almost a third of the film, far longer than in 1983, to set up the premise, something which could have been disposed of in ten to fifteen minutes. This means we have to follow the girls out to an abandoned mineshaft where they bring the supine Megan, tricking the anxious Garrett that she is dead, and all because he cheated on her and the loyal sisters believe he should have a scare as punishment. This loyalty is stronger than in the Mafia, and about as destructive as it turns out, bringing into question exactly how far you should go to stick by your friends when their behaviour isn't all that laudable, but the morality of the script sees them get their comeuppance after a fashion.
Why do they need to get their comeuppance? That's because Garrett decides to let the air out of Megan's lungs so they can dump her in the lake - sure, they weren't really going to do that, and it's hard to accept that even in his state of trauma he would go to these lengths, but she actually does end up dead after getting a tire iron through the chest courtesy of her boyfriend. This not only marks out the origin of the guilt the sisters all share, but also makes it clear that logic is not the film's strong point, which in a way works in its favour as there's a mood of delirium which builds up so by the time the killer has been revealed, and his motive into the bargain, you're thinking, fair enough, it's flimsy and ridiculous but this is the territory.
The actresses acquit themselves well in what are pretty much cliché roles, with Briana Evigan our final girl (although the way these things usually go doesn't quite work out the way you might expect by the finale), Rumer Willis the nervy nerdy girl and most memorably of all, Leah Pipes as Jessica, the Queen Bee of the group. She has a lot of fun with her bitchy lines, and is a lot better as a villain than the character unveiled as the actual baddie, what with Jessica clinging onto her reputation as a possible senator's son's wife with those perfectly manicured fingernails, something a dead body in her past will jeopardise, to put it mildly. The murderer has a gimmicky customised tire iron, fitted with blades, to use as a weapon, and gets plenty of opportunity to use it once the killings start, although the choice of victims is confusing. Sorority Row was efficient at best, but with a few glimmers of inspiration that made it a cut above the overfamiliar remake crowd. Music by Lucian Piane.