I Know Who Killed Me (2007) (part 1 of 8)
There’s an old saying in Hollywood: You’re only as good as your last movie. Unfortunately for Lindsay Lohan, as of this writing, this is her last movie. If it’s any consolation to her, it’s all her fault. Oh, she can’t be blamed for everything that went wrong with this movie. But a sturdy argument can be made that the primary reason it was inflicted on an unsuspecting public is because she agreed to star in it.
For better or for worse, Lindsay Lohan is a Hollywood “it” girl. Whatever “it” is. I Know Who Killed Me is the kind of project that would have languished in Development Hell for years, before all involved forgot about it and moved on to new projects. But once she signed on, things began to happen. Checks were written. Money was spent. Film rolled and a movie was made.
Not that director Chris Sivertson, or screenwriter Jeff Hammond should get off scot free. Hammond’s screenplay tries to disguise a piss-poor narrative with plot developments that can be described, at best, as bat-shit insanity. And as a director, Sivertson should have spent time fixing the weaknesses in the script and improving Lohan’s performance, but he seemed more interested in channeling the spirit of David Lynch. This proved difficult, as Lynch is still alive. And Sivertson is to Lynch as a five year old playing dress-up (complete with lipstick smeared from ear to ear) is to a supermodel. Look at me, mommy. I’m all growed up. Don’t I look beautiful?
The movie opens on red and blue lights rippling in a puddle near a sleazy strip bar. The marquee advertises “Girls”, “Girls”, and… I can’t quite make out the rest. Oh well. A neon representation of a nude woman flickers like a fluorescent bulb about to die. This is foreshadowing, you see, because it’s the right hand and the right leg that flicker. So, we already know we’re dealing with a director with ham for hands. Thirty seconds haven’t even ticked by, and we’re already in student film country.
Fade to black, and ”Step On Inside” by VietNam plays on the soundtrack. It’s a song filled with dark, majestic southern blues, as greasy as fried chicken. Inside the strip bar, curtains part, and out she comes: Lindsay Lohan, looking higher than Christopher Lambert when he agreed to appear in a fourth Highlander movie. She staggers to the stage, gripping the pole for support. She’s decked out in a cocktail dress with elbow-length gloves, and she starts dawdling around the pole, tossing her hair in a manner not unlike a horsetail swatting flies.
I can almost hear the conversation on the set that day:
Lohan: What? How did you know?
Sivertson: [pause] No. I mean your character is coked off her ass.
Lohan: What? Oh! Oh! Right, right, right.
A fat, bald biker with a six-inch long goatee sits next to a topless woman, and yet he’s giving all his attention to Lindsay. Doesn’t he know that the most perfect breasts are the ones within reach?
Lindsay bobbles around some more before taking off her dress, revealing a corset, panties, and a garter belt, which somehow manage to show even less skin than the cocktail dress. She goes over to another pole with the same lack of purpose. She leans back, and the music suddenly changes to something that calls to mind the sound of a barn swallow being sucked into a jet engine. Her hand slides down the pole, leaving a trail of blood. And then additional “blood” somehow runs down the pole after she takes her hand away. I’m just assuming it’s blood, by the way. It actually looks blue.
Right about here is where the movie really breaks my heart. If this were a kick-ass movie, this image would really stick in the mind. It could have become an iconic image, not unlike the lonely, distant peeling of the buoy bell after the initial attack in Jaws. Unfortunately, this is not a kick-ass movie. They were all out of kick, so they had to settle for just ass.
So that’s our first taste of what director Sivertson has in store for us, and it’s not good. He uses an awful lot of red in this scene. Her dress is red. Her gloves are red. The lights are red, which causes everything to look red, making the red costuming and props completely unnecessary. I suppose on a purely aesthetic level, this is striking. The red light and regular white light gleaming off a disco ball above the stage, it’s verging on beautiful photography, at least until things move. And by things, I mostly mean Lindsay Lohan.
And this is also our first taste of Lohan’s performance. Adjectives spring to mind like dandelions in spring: “Stiff”, “mechanical”, “uninspired”, “uninspiring”, “lackadaisical”. These are not very kind words, but they’re apt. She’s really phoning it in here.
And that’s particularly low praise, considering she worked really hard on this movie. She took stripping lessons to prepare for this role, and the experience even prompted her to say such lovely things like, “They’re all whores, they’re all whores,” and “Strippers, dude, I tell you, I really respect the cunts now.” Yeah, dude. I see what you, like, mean.
It seems uncalled for, especially from Lindsay. If even half of the rumors about her off-screen shenanigans are true, she has no place to talk.
But her comments really smack of someone who sees no value in an activity, and thus assumes it must be easy. But when that person actually tries to do it themselves, they find out how hard it is. (Kind of like recapping bad movies, actually.) Unfortunately, Lohan’s contempt for strippers still shines through, and as a result, she’s hopelessly lousy at portraying one.
Fade to a bright white hallway that looks like a hospital, but it’s supposed to be a school. Aubrey Fleming (also Lohan) is wearing dark-framed glasses she must’ve picked up at former VJ Kennedy’s garage sale. She’s reading a story she wrote to the class. It’s horrible, but everyone appears enraptured. Either they’re just being polite, or these people have never heard of writing before, and are simply amazed at her ability to translate funny marks on paper into words. And she made it all up herself, too. Wow!
In case you care, the story is about a girl who “knew how to turn her life into a movie, and watch things happen. Not to her, but to a girl who looked just like her.” It’s about a runaway, who doesn’t get picked up by a passing truck, and… end story. This is also ham-handed foreshadowing, by the way. You might want to get used to this type of stuff.
Later at a suburban home, a piano tinkles unimpressively on the soundtrack. A gardener who bears a striking resemblance to a young Bill Paxton trims the hedges. It turns out to be Aubrey playing the piano, and her tutor with dark Lennon specs looks on, arms folded. Bill Paxton looks in the window and waves at Aubrey. This distracts her, and she flubs it. She apologizes to her teacher, who gets phenomenally bitchy about it. He reminds her that the next “Young Artist Competition” is less than a month away.
Looking at this set, I hope to god that the tutor turns out to be the killer, and that this is his house. Otherwise, Aubrey’s parents have exceedingly bad taste in home decor. Aside from the ugly op-art lamps made of chocolate bubble, with matching cabinets, there’s a bronze statue of a preschooler on his knees. I am reminded of Jan de Bont’s Haunting remake, which had children’s heads carved into the woodwork, looking disturbingly like hunting trophies.
The tutor sits next to her and tells her to watch as he plays. And here we learn the teacher must have been one of the first EMT responders on the scene when Liberace died, because he has a huge, gaudy, blue ring that he must have stolen from the guy. It’s kind of distracting to look at, and therefore, yet another ham-handed clue.
Aubrey tells him she wants to quit playing the piano, and focus on her writing. Yeah, because that’s where your real talent lies, eh, Aubrey? He’s upset, and insistently calls her an artist and talented and so forth, and please tell me he’s just trying to get into her pants.
It’s interesting that this is the second talent attributed to Aubrey—third, if you count the “stripping”—in the space of five minutes without any supporting evidence whatsoever. She’s coming off as quite the Mary Sue, isn’t she?
The teacher leaves, so I guess this is her parents’ house, and she’s probably the killer, driven insane by their horrid taste in furniture. Her cat comes running downstairs. To my disgust, it’s a hairless cat. A male, unneutered, hairless cat. How I wish I was making this up.
That evening, Aubrey is in her cavernous “bedroom”, working on her MacBook, because in movies, Apple always has 98% of the desktop market share. She’s using the wall near her desk as a writing tool, because it’s divided into three sections, labeled Acts 1 through 3, with Post-It notes stuck haphazardly in the general areas. She makes thoughtful gestures, reminiscent of a chimp pondering the best method of opening a stubborn coconut, and yanks off one of the notes.
It’s a quick movement, but thanks to the magic of the pause button, the Post-It appears to be out of Act 3, and it says, “how to find them?” I guess she’s expanding “Little Bo Peep” to novel length.
In voiceover, we’re forced to listen to what she’s writing, and it’s still terrible. She describes her character as having half her soul missing, or something. It doesn’t make much sense, but it’s meant to be more foreshadowing. Hey, I told you to get used to this kind of stuff.
Speaking of which, as she types, the camera slowly pans down behind her head, before going to black. This might seem like a pointless camera movement to note, but unfortunately, it’s not. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
Later, Aubrey is on a bench on school grounds, doodling in a sketch pad. A guy gives her a rose of a shocking blue color. (It’s obviously a dye job, just like Lindsay.) She pricks her finger on a thorn, and there’s the expected shot of blood trickling out. Don’t most competent florists cut the thorns off roses before selling them? If not, they really should, because that’s a lawsuit waiting to happen.
Also, I’m sure the fact that she pricked her middle finger on her right hand won’t mean anything. Nothing at all. Pan over to a bulletin board, where there are a few fliers for missing girls, and the music turns all dark and ominous. Uh-oh. All is not well in this idyllic suburb. But hey, look, we can still get piano lessons. Sweet!