Sunday, August 31, 2008

Cinema of the Absurd: I Know Who Killed Me

Newer readers of Stale Popcorn may not be aware that I used to have a very irregular series called "Cinema of the Absurd", which celebrated the absurd and bizarre that cinema offered. Titles like Glitter, How to Deal and Friday the 13th: Part 3D were lovingly torn to shreds. Having today watched the truly terrible I Know Who Killed Me I thought it was as nice a time as any to resurrect the ol' bastard and give it another spin.


I KNOW WHO KILLED ME (2008, dir. Chris Sivertson)

Okay, so I Know Who Killed Me is the now infamous horror/thriller/creature from the black lagoon that Lindsay Lohan starred in while she was high on coke (it's probably the only production note of worth). Figures, really. I couldn't help but get the impression that she just did not give a damn. Surely an actress of any reputable quality should have somebody behind the scenes telling them what would make a good movie and what would not (if they cannot do so themselves, natch), but it appears Dina "Mother of the Year!" Lohan read the script for this movie and thought "I know I would like to see my daughter's flesh pulled off by a sick madman, so why wouldn't everyone else?" Alas, the final product was I Know Who Killed Me, one of the most atrociously titled (amongst so much more that could be labeled "atrocious") movies of the last few years.

That Lohan plays a girl called "Aubrey" who is abducted, tortured, nearly killed and then shows up on the side of the road claiming to be "Dakota" is perhaps besides the point entirely because, clearly, the film - like Lohan - does not care. The director didn't care except to throw as many fancy tricks that he learned at film school and by watching too much MTV. Lohan didn't care as long as she got paid enough to supplant her drug habit and her mother's latest boob job. In fact the only cast member who seems to treat the material with any seriousness is Julia Ormond who mustn't have made a movie in a long while and had since forgotten what one is, let alone what makes them "bad", "good" or in between.

Naturally, however, I Know Who Killed Me (and yes, that line is indeed spoken by Lohan towards the film's end and yes it sounds as silly as you would imagine) has now become a "camp classic". While it certainly doesn't rank anywhere near luminaries in that pile like Showgirls and Glitter, it did have enough to make the 100 baffling minutes that followed seem like not as much of a waste as it may seem. That this movie was made a good 25 years too late is where it went wrong. I imagine this would've been kind of actually sort of good if it were made 1983 by New Line Cinema and featured a new wave soundtrack in between moments of gratuitous nudity, something that I Know Who Killed Me circa 2007 does not have any off.

The only way to truly show you how absurd this movie is is to, well, show you. Aah, the wonders of technology.

Lindsay Lohan's character "Aubrey" - in eerie foreshadowing - pricks her finger on a blue rose (don't ask), but the thing that amused me was that the drop of blood that forms on her finger takes the shape of a love heart. M Night Shyamalan would be pleased.

One of the most humourous aspects of I Know Who Killed Me is the bizarre wanky film school music video effects that director Chris Silvertson throws in for, oh I dunno, shits and giggles I assume. It's hard not to laugh when he does something he probably thinks is "cool" and "edgy", when in actual fact it is nothing more than preposterous wankery.

Firstly, what sort of cinema has an exterior design like that in this day and age, let alone one in the sort of "idyllic small town" that I Know Who Killed Me is set in, let alone a revival house cinema in an idyllic small town, which this cinema appears to be. Do idyllic small towns even have revival houses anymore? There's no "secondly", I just think it's stupid.

I Know Who Killed Me is, apparently, a horror movie. Yet, for me the scariest thing was this horrific cat that this family has. I am totally a cat person. I love cats. But that is not a cat. This is, like, some sort of demon fetus roadkill spawn of Satan. It's the sort of thing you'd see at the Queen Vic Market with a man nearby yelling at you saying they have "exotic demon flesh carcus, five dollar!!" <- Only Melburnians will understand that reference, so don't feel bad.

This is "Fat Teena". Exactly.

I couldn't help but laugh at this moment as "Aubrey's" parents and a doctor stand around her unconscious body wearing surgical masks as if they're going to contract a life-threatening disease, when just moments earlier there were people around her that felt quite at ease without the need to look like a fool.

"This... is... Mister... Jervis..."

Julia Ormond is a bit of a stark ravin' nutter, isn't she? When she is deep into her 80s and spends time looking out the window remember the good ol' days I imagine this will be the moment that flashes in her mind as being the bottom of the barrel. Oh, Julia. Poor ridiculous Julia. I personally adore Lohan's reaction though. Even through her coke-fueled performance you can tell she's wondering "what the hell am I doing here acting with a silly glove on my hand and fake leg?! And just who is this woman who is talking in my direction. I think I saw her in a dumpster on LaBrea last week on my way home from my dealer."

Just try an imagine how ridiculous this looks. Just for a moment. Done? There. Absurd! This scene is hilarious, however, because the police investigators all but shake and abuse the wheelchair bound "Dakota" because - heaven forbid - she didn't get a look at her attacker. Perhaps it never occurred to these specimens of intelligent design that her attacker wore a mask!!! because that never happens when people are abducted and tortured by a serial killer in a mysterious dungeon. Not ever.

State of the art technologically advanced robotic hand that reacts to brain impulses to create fluid motion (yet, nothing can save it from dodgy CGI effects) yet what does she get to cover it up and make it more palatable for public display?

Why yes, a ridiculous beige glove! And, yes, that man in the silly yellow suit is a doctor. I was surprise, too! As if to prove that this character is indeed a doctor and not a clown who got lost in the wrong ward they make his sprout hilarious dialogue such as this (in relation to the new robotic leg Dakota has received):

Excellent! You'll be back on the dance floor in no time, Dakota! ... Just don't forget to plug it in when you're not wearing it. If the battery runs down it's like draggin' 'round a wooden leg.


Maybe I spoke to soon. This moment is on par as surely the stupidest thing Julia Ormond has ever done. Poor ridiculous delusional Julia. Clearly she's never heard of leaving the house. She scrubs away at that basin with such vigour that I thought she was going to ware away at the enamel. Poor ridiculous delusional stupid Julia.

Amazing. This is from an online video that Dakota watches on the phenomenon that is "twin stigmata" (indeed) and, honestly, I haven't the foggiest what it's all about, but what I am entirely aware of is that it is the funniest thing in the movie. It's definitely the strangest way I've seen the central mystery of a movie revealed (I'm surprised they didn't use flash animation, actually.)

What did I say about the CGI in this film? It's like they spent their entire budget on colouring the roses that appear throughout the entire film.

I have a sinking suspicion that in 1988 (the year Lohan's character/s was/were born/expelled from the depths of hell) sonograms weren't available to take home on DVDs so they could be watched on big screen TVs. Just a hunch, but I think I'm on the right path.

The killer is... a member of Blue Man Group!!! Tobias F√ľnke would be so proud, I'm sure.

In conclusion, absolutely amazing. Also, one of the most inept exercises in film making I've witnessed in quite a while. Truly a terrible film and an embarrassment to everyone involved although I kinda wanna try whatever Julia Ormond was on. On the Scale of Absurdity I'd rate it a solid 4.5/5. The fact that the central mystery actually scarily made some minute sense really held it back.


nick plowman said...

This was the most odd film I have seen in years, awesome post though.

Dame James Henry said...

Love this post. I Know Who Killed Me is a complete pile of shit, but I think it gets points for trying something different. When I read online afterwards what it all meant, it actually made sense somewhat- never mind that it was executed horribly. And those two scenes you mentioned with Julia Ormond- the teddy bear and cleaning the sink while listening to her "daughter" bang her boyfriend- were two of the most Godawful scenes I have ever witnessed. I couldn't believe what was going on in front of my eyes. She definitely deserved her Razzie nomination.

Barry said...

Should I be ashamed to say I found it passable? Merely as a stupid, so extremely bad, it's good movie???

Awesome post =)

Anonymous said...

that "doctor" looks familiar ...

Joel said...

First of all, brilliant post!
I didn't even notice the unintentional tribute to Shyamalan (or would it be the other way around)
I also loved how they blatantly throw the (shirtless) gardener in the film as the obvious choice for the killer, then just ditch him all together...
I really think it sits beside Showgirls, Swept Away and Glitter in the 'so-bad-its-fucking-awesome' genre.
And I believe the doctor is indeed Darnell from My Name Is Earl.

Kamikaze Camel said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kamikaze Camel said...

I hadn't even thought of the gardener thing. I guess by the time the movie ended I had indeed forgotten all about him, much like the film did.

Prospero said...

I love movies - good, bad and awful. I Know Who Killed Me is one of the few I've actullay turned off after the first 20 minutes. Truly wretched

Kamikaze Camel said...

But that means you missed Julia Ormond's weird freakout kitchen scene and crazy teddy bear moment!