This Weekend’s Movies: “I Know Who Killed Me”

July 29, 2007

If trying to run down her personal assistant’s mother with an SUV wasn’t enough of a cry for help from actress/singer/pop-culture joke Lindsay Lohan, then appearing in this movie should constitute a big red flare. As a matter of fact everyone involved in I Know Who Killed Me should be considered in desperate need of support and imediately tended to by a loving and compassionate caregiver (I volunteer to take Garcelle Beauvais), except for director Chris Sivertson, who should be thrown off a bridge.

I Know Who Killed Me has pretensions of being an artistic, erotic, psychological thriller, but in the hands of aforementioned gorehound/hack Siverston is more like an especially gruesome X-Files episode (one of the late-season ones; when Mulder left and the guy from Terminator took over). As far as career moves go, this would be an atrocious one for Lohan even if she wasn’t already fast on her way to becoming persona non grata in Hollywood. As a thriller it’s exceptionally dull. It collapses under any serious–or casual or comatose—scrutiny. And if you had told me a week ago that watching Lohan pole-dance in a strip club would so boring that I’d actually leave during the scene to re-butter my popcorn I’d’ve told you to put down the crack pipe. Alas, I know better now.

Okay, the plot (and pay attention here, because I’m only going to go over this once) follows the disappearance of picture-perfect suburban high-school student Aubrey Fleming. Aubrey is one of those contemporary over-programmed, over-achieving teens who competes in classical music competitions, writes “brilliant” fiction (I put that modifier in quotes because the sample we get sounds about as hackneyed as the rest of the screenplay, go figure), wears serious-girl glasses, and refuses to put out for her doofy boyfriend. When she vanishes, her parents (Neil McDonough and Julia Ormond) fear the worst—that she has been kidnapped by a serial killer (sigh) who has already captured and dismembered one girl from the community. Aubrey turns up a few days later in a ditch, missing her hand and part of her leg. When she regains consciousness in the hospital, she claims to have no memory of the attack. Stranger still, she claims that she is not Aubrey Fleming, but in fact a woman names Dakota Moss who has a life story that JT LeRoy would steal if he/she/it were real and an argot stolen from Frank Serpico (she straightfacedly refers to the police as “the fuzz.”)

So far, so…well “good” is a bit strong, but we have a coherent narrative at least. Two FBI agents (Spenser Garret and Beauvais) interview Aubrey/Dakota in what must be the most inept investigation since the Barker/Karpis days and conclude that she’s lying, but can’t figure out why. They pretty much give up after that. Aubrey/Dakota, meanwhile, is fitted with some nifty cyborg limbs and goes home with the ‘rents who choose to play along with her Dakota persona until she comes to her senses. My parents would have told me to stop screwing around and mow the lawn, but they’re from a different parenting era. After moving home, Aubrey/Dakota starts playing Nancy Drew in an attempt to figure out who, uh, kidnapped and maimed her.

Meanwhile, for every coherent scene, there is a hyper-stylized nonsensical scene of Aubrey/Dakota’s fingers being necrotized with dry ice and cut off, Aubrey/Dakota stripping in slow-mo, blood flowing down a stripping pole, Dakota’s life as the daughter of a crack whore, blue rose petals floating through a mirror, owls, and assorted other crap. The scenes of Aubrey being tortured and disfigured are genuinely disgusting and horrifying—this is the movie Captivity desperately wanted to be—and serve to jar the audience out of the narrative. The scenes of skankball-Lohan are devoid of any sense of eroticism, as the director has chosen to surround his sex object with fat, sweaty, leering truck-stop habitués. Good thinking, Chris. Maybe in your next movie you can set the big shootout in a nursing home.

The movie’s big revelation comes from an internet search (thrilling, I know) which turns up a helpful streaming video clip of conspiracy nutjob Art Bell explaining precisely the paranormal explanation that makes everything make…well, “sense” is a bit strong. Dakota, it turns out, is really Dakota. She and Aubrey were twins separated at birth when crack-whore mom sold Aubrey to the Flemings. On top of that, they share a secular stigmata syndrome. So while Aubrey was being tortured by the serial killer, Dakota was experiencing the physical effects as well. Believe it or not, it’s even less credible on screen.

Okay, so let’s ignore the whole twin/stigmata thing—I think the sheer idiocy of that concept speaks for itself. Instead let’s ponder how many ways the “twins separated at birth” plot device collapses and disintegrates when even a synaptic click is applied to it. Identical twins are not fucking clones! They’re generally fairly easy to tell apart of you have any familiarity with them. On top of that, this doesn’t explain why both of these twins have the same hairstyle, body type, voice, and copious freckle pattern. Oh, and did I mention dental care? What are the odds stripper/prostitute Dakota would have the same set of perfect choppers that comfy-upper-middle-class-suburbia Aubrey would have?

So we’ve got a thriller that’s not thrilling. A showcase for a more sexualized Lohan that’s not sexy. A mystery that’s nonsensical. A movie that wants to be smart, but makes Mr. Brooks look like Zodiac. A lot of good talent wasted (wasn’t Julie Ormand supposed to be the next big thing?) It’s a grim, depressing little affair all around. About the best thing I can say about the movie is that the serial killer was an actual killer, and not a giant crocodile.

ADDITIONAL NOTE: This movie ran 105 mind-numbing minutes. You owe me. You owe me big.


  1. For a completely unknown reason, I conflate Julia Ormond and Swiss actress Irene Jacob. So every time I see Julia in a movie, I find myself inordinately impressed by her English language acting skills. Then I remember who she really is, and she becomes just another pretty English actress.

    So, predictably, when I read your review, I thought, “Oh, horror! What has happened to Julia Ormond’s career? From Krzysztof Kieslowski muse to Lindsay Lohan’s mom? Hasn’t she learned from the embarrassing experiences of her peers that Gallic actors should run far away when Hollywood producers call them?”

    And then I corrected myself, and things made slightly more sense.

    Somehow, I find my own dumb tale of mistaken identity more compelling than the idea of ever seeing I Know Who Killed Me.

  2. I always confuse her with Juliet Binoche. I had the same reaction upon seeing her show up in the movie, “Wow! Hardly a trace of accent! Wait…oh, different actress. Goddamn it, Lohan’s stripping again. This popcorn needs more butter in this strata…”

  3. Julia Ormond –>Juliette Binoche–>Julia Roberts.

    All on the same continuum of brunette horsiness.

  4. Oh, and I know this was a review of a Lindsey Lohan movie, and not commentary on her life, per se, but I really keep hoping that John Travolta or someone would convert her to Scientology. It can only be an improvement for her.

  5. Yes, and in another 8 years or so, or right before that 10 year itch that happens in CA celebrity marriages, maybe Tom Cruise will finally free poor Katie Holmes and marry Lohan.

  6. Free her, divorce her, sacrifice her to Xenu the All Powerful…whatever the case, it won’t go a full decade.

  7. […] Career Self-Destruction: Lindsay Lohan. I Know Who Killed Me. Georgia Rules. Yep, that oughtta do […]

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