[Screen It]

(2007) (Lindsay Lohan, Julia Ormond) (R)

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Suspense: Despite all witness and physical evidence to the contrary, a young woman says she isn't a victim who's escaped from a sadistic serial killer.
Aubrey Fleming (LINDSAY LOHAN) is an ordinary student with a regular boyfriend, Jerrod Pointer (BRIAN GERAGHTY), and nondescript parents, Daniel (NEAL McDONOUGH) and Susan (JULIA ORMOND). She's shown promise as a pianist but really wants to be a writer. All of that changes, however, when she's kidnapped by a sadistic killer who dismembered his last victim while she was alive.

Thus, it's shocking to everyone, including FBI agents Julie Bascome (GARCELLE BEAUVAIS-NILON) and Phil Lazarus (SPENCER GARRETT) when Aubrey shows up alive nearly two weeks later, albeit missing much of her right arm and leg. More troubling, however, is that the young woman claims to be stripper Dakota Moss (LINDSAY LOHAN) and not the missing girl.

Her parents and a case psychologist think this is just a byproduct of posttraumatic distress disorder, but the FBI agents are understandably curious, especially since Dakota seems so positive about who she is, although she can't remember how she lost her limbs. From that point on, the young woman tries to figure out what's going on, all as everyone around her worries about whether she'll snap out of this seemingly delusional state.

OUR TAKE: 2 out of 10
Anyone familiar with amputees has heard of the mind-body phenomenon known as phantom limb pain. That's where a person who's lost an arm, leg, or digit seems to feel that missing limb or digit, despite it obviously not being present. There are varying degrees of thought about what causes that, but I can only imagine how frustrating it can be for those suffering from it.

While nowhere to the same degree or extent, moviegoers expecting thrills and chills in the amputee-based, supposed thriller "I Know Who Killed Me" will obviously note their absence. Yet, they'll still feel the pain of an awfully made film that, shock of all shocks, was not shown to critics before it was released.

Of course, some conspiracy minded people might think that has something to do with the recent, recurring run-ins with the law featuring its star, Lindsay Lohan, and how critics and/or viewers might do riffs on the title, such as "I Know Who Killed My Career -- Me!"

If the drunk driving and drug charges don't do it, films like this most certainly will. Yet another example of the torture porn sub-genre that wore out its welcome in the middle of the first ever film to feature it, it doesn't just retread familiar and bloody waters. It also contains probably one of the dumbest, end of the movie explanations you'll see in a while -- regarding everything that preceded it -- and delivers that and everything else in such a slipshod and ham-fisted fashion that you'll wonder what state of mind Lohan must have been in to sign on.

Director Chris Sivertson and first-time writer Jeff Hammond have obviously ignored or never been taught the KISS principal. No, that doesn't have anything to do with a certain chocolate treat, a tongue-lashing by a certain hard rocker, or including a certain song by Tom Jones (or Prince) on the soundtrack. Instead, it's the Keep It Simple, Stupid mantra that all filmmakers should have to write on a blackboard 1,000 times before getting their DGA or WGA member cards.

Instead of doing the standard damsel in distress meets torture porn route, the filmmakers try to get fancy with their story. Lohan plays a young student who's kidnapped and then tortured by a serial killer whose favorite pastime is severing limbs while the victim is still alive. She somehow manages to escape and is found by a passer-by, but when she comes to, she doesn't recognize her parents (Julia Ormond and Neal McDonough) and says she isn't their sweet little girl. Instead, she claims, she's an exotic dancer, born to a crack head mother and obviously raised on the other side of the tracks.

Even so, she can't explain why she looks identical to the previously kidnapped girl, or how she lost much of her right arm and leg, just like a previous victim who wasn't so lucky to have escaped. Okay, so that's a half-way intriguing premise, but the filmmakers pile up so many red herrings (make that red and blue ones due to all of the symbolic use of the latter color from gloves to roses and more) that the offering starts to reek of washed up and decidedly dead fish.

Throw in the ludicrous, revelatory explanation at the end, and things really start to stink. Yet, the way in which the film has been written, shot, and edited together makes it all the worse, what with the rampant incompetence at play. Disjointed from the get-go (which, to its slight defense, is explained by the eventual revelation), the film feels so off from start to finish that viewers won't have any desire to solve the mystery or care about the characters.

That is, unless one's into horror torture, watching Lohan trying to go mature by doing the stripper bit in many sequences (scantly clad, but oddly never nude like the other women), or trying to figure out if or when she's drunk and/or high in any given scene. Of course, all of that could lead to movie-based drinking games (e.g. down a shot whenever any sort of blue symbolism occurs), but that wouldn't really be nice to Lindsay, now would it?

Certain to drive a stake even further into her career that's now seemingly on life support at best, "I Know Who Killed Me" is one of those awful films that should and would have gone straight to video if not for its high profile star. It rates as a 2 out of 10.

Reviewed July 27, 2007 / Posted July 27, 2007

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