Friday, July 28, 2017

I Know Who Killed Me (2007)

Remember when Lindsay Lohan was, perhaps, one of the biggest young, rising stars in Hollywood?  Also, she was really super hot?

Of course you do.  What you probably don't remember all that well, is that her rising star and super hot lady thing lasted an extremely short period in time.  It was like a frozen moment that we all remember being at least a little longer than the one or two years that she possessed those titles.  We look back on that time in which she starred in Mean Girls and had a couple really nice photo spreads in your Maxims, Details, or whatever as if we're looking at a mosquito in amber .

That star fell kinda fast.  Now, I don't know the lady, and I'd probably like to give her the benefit of the doubt, but I think she probably enjoyed her sudden fame a little too much.  Soon, she was seen drinking and doing drugs and things just went downhill.

That period of her skidding from stardom begins right around time she was making this movie.  Ten years ago yesterday, I Know Who Killed Me was released.  Supposedly there were some health issues and rehab problems during the filming of this movie, but still, this seemed to have the hallmarks of something guys would have probably wanted.  This is an R-rated movie that features a young, hot starlet opening the movie as a stripper.  There's a good girl/bad girl element in which you don't know if her character, "Dakota" (a total stripper name, by the way), is this good girl of a family who believes they have recovered their missing daughter or if she is the bad, damaged stripper likely loaded with all sorts of daddy issues.

These are things dudes (at the very least) would be way into.  The general feel of a saucy murder mystery novel could appeal to bored housewives.  So...  Why is this movie the beginning of the end of Lindsay Lohan's fame?

Because it is a little too bonkers for it to truly appeal to anyone.

From the back of the DVD box, the synopsis reads: "Aubrey Fleming (Lohan) was living the small town life, until the day she was abducted by a sadistic killer.  After a frantic search, Aubrey turns up alive, but changed.  She is missing limbs, but has gained a new personality - that of bad girl Dakota Moss.  Her parents and the FBI think she's suffering from delusions, but if 'Dakota' is just a trick of her mind, why do strange wounds keep appearing on her body?  Desperate and alone, Aubrey must now unlock family secrets to unmask a mysterious killer with a deadly obsession."

That's a whole lotta stuff in that synopsis.  Let's dive in and see if we can sort it all out.

So I popped the DVD into the player, got through the crappy previews of movies that preceded the main menu, and I'm taken to a choice.  This is the first sign that Sony, that not-so-lovable loser of a studio, kinda realized this movie might be targeting a fairly low brow audience.  Why?  Because that choice I'm presented with is to view the movie in widescreen or in full screen.  C'mon...  I wanna watch it in widescreen, don't give me this pan-and-scan bullshit!

I mean...  I'm not complaining with these, er, artistic choices.
Anyway, after telling the DVD to shove that full screen business up its ass, the movie starts on an actual high note - Lindsay Lohan, as Dakota, stripping on stage for creepy weirdos.  You'd think this is a marvelous little way to start a movie, yeah?  Well, yes.  This is when it is still a time in her fame that you wouldn't have to defend your opinion that you get a massive boner from her.  Not only that, but as she dances, she leaves blood behind on the pole from her hand.  That's potentially intriguing.

The movie shifts to Lohan's other character, Aubrey, at school reading a short story she wrote about a girl who is a run away and able to change her appearance and lead different lives, etc.  We also see that Aubrey is also a talented pianist - or could be if she didn't fuck up her practice with her teacher when the doofy landscaper dude distracts her and makes her blush.  I guess Aubrey's a smart, artsy fartsy type who likes to write pedantic short stories about runaways who are searching for new lives and can play classical music on the piano.  Dakota, on the other hand, I'm guessing, likes to fuck.  Or cocktease.  Or both.  So there's your dichotomous, and varied, Lindsay Lohan performance.

I'd like to go on record that I think I like Dakota more.  You know...  Because of the fucking.

Aubrey is being coached to compete in some sort of "Young Artist Competition" by her piano teacher - which might be for piano players, might be for kids who are really good at kazoo, or could be kids in those Frenchy berets who want to paint pretentious paintings.  I really couldn't tell you.  I can say, she's not feeling it and tells her teacher she wants to quit so she can focus all her artistic abilities on writing.  He leaves and we hear a cat come downstairs.  She, and the audience, acknowled....

WHAT THE HOLY FUCK IS THIS MONSTER???  What is that sticking out under its tail?  Jesus fucking Christ, man!!!

As Aubrey goes on with her life working on her writing, and getting felt up by her boyfriend in biology class.  A classmate of hers who has been missing has been found dead.  Not just dead, but mutilated with limbs missing.  Immediately after a scene showing the girl being ID'd by her distraught parents, and the coroner filling out his report, we see Aubrey come home to basically watch the doughy, nipple-tattoo'd landscape bro take off her shirt.  She basically creams her jeans watching this, and decides to give him a full look at her tight body and fairly massive boobs.  As she walks away, I kind of feel like Lindsay Lohan broke character and reminded us that none of what we're seeing or experiencing is going to be satisfying for anyone...

What's going here?  Is Aubrey a virgin slut type of chick?  Is she actually down to fuck?  Is she a tease?  Or is she just a bitch?

Also, how old is she supposed to be?  I mean, yeah, it would be great if I'm not being aroused by a girl who is supposed to be under 18.  Really...  That would be great.  Yet, it seems like she's in high school.  Like, it seems like she is seen going to a high school football game where her boyfriend is playing.  But the classes she's been shown to be in seems a bit more advanced for high school.  If I read a story I wrote about a runaway who could make people think they are someone different and being placed in something of a more mature situation, I'd be in trouble.  And I went to high school in the early 90s when it was way cooler than 2007.  When we dissected things in biology class, were weren't looking for the reproductive parts.  In college, yes, but not in high school as she and her boyfriend are asked to do.  She also tells her friends, one of which looks like she's legit 14 years old, that she's done sleeping with guys she's not in love with.  How many people have you fucked?  How are you not labeled as a slut if you've had enough sex to make that declaration while still in high school?

These are real problems that probably feeds into the why this movie failed.  There are real tonal issues here that also makes it difficult to truly explain who the intended audience is.

When Aubrey doesn't show up to meet her friends and boyfriend, they realized she's been kidnapped.  Aubrey wakes up in a dungeon like setting where she is gagged and bound.  She sees fake legs and arms hanging from the ceiling.  She's forced by her captor to swallow a pill and he seemingly tortures her with dry ice.  That's well done.  That would be goddamn horrible pain and barely something I could stomach watching.  That is especially fucking gross when the dude peels the dry ice off her hand.

And if you're curious if they actually show her getting her hand sawed off by jagged glass?  They do.  It's a pretty gross scene and almost made me throw up that entire bag of Airhead Bites I ate.

Again, I have to ask who this movie was made for.  Most of the bored housewives would not be into the whole mutilation thing.  The guys that would be into that, probably wouldn't necessarily be into the rest of the mystery thing and would just want to see the torture porn - particularly with this hot version of Lindsay Lohan involved.

Trust me - there are some real creepy weirdos who would be into seeing a hot young actress being tortured.

By random happenstance, a lady who skids to a halt after nearly hitting a wolf or fox or something darting across the road finds who appears to be Aubrey mutilated in a ditch.  The cops working to try to find her call her parents, played by Neal McDonough and Julia Ormond, to tell them they found her, but she's not entirely "okay".  In the hospital, "Aubrey" (who, spoilers, is actually Dakota) wakes up freaking out about her missing chunks of her limbs.

Oh, good.  Patch Adams is here to help with Dakota's recovery.
Aubrey's parents come to see her in the hospital, and she claims she doesn't know them or who "Aubrey" is.  A psychiatrist visits Dakota and she tells him of her upbringing by a crack addict who overdosed.  Dakota says her birthday is the same as Aubrey's, but that she has no social security number.  The psychiatrist tells Dakota that her wounds are identical to Aubrey's classmate's whose body was found just before Aubrey was taken.  Dakota is given the morgue photos to prove it.  I'm not exactly sure that she would have been given those photos considering everyone thinks she's got some sort of broken brain because she claims she's some ho named Dakota.  Aubrey's mom even tries to bring in some of her daughter's things to try to force some memories to come back or snap her back into reality.

Additionally, Dakota doesn't remember how anything of her injuries happened.  She recaps the last couple weeks for the FBI agents trying to find the killer.  She explains she got a "hostess job" at a "gentlemen's club".  This means we get to watch her dance some more and that's appreciated.  She says it turns out that there was no hostess job, just jobs for dancers.  Apparently she's a natural at this because, she does the following on her very first night:

  1. Dance kinda well as if she's been doing this a lot.
  2. Doesn't seem to care at all that she's hired for a position that doesn't actually exist.
  3. Sticks a creep's cigarette into her pussy and give it back to him to sniff.

She's also not at all shy about writhing all over everything.  I guess she truly is just a natural born stripper.

In her story to the feds, she talks about seeing a guy at the club and at the bus stop and that there wasn't much about him to remember except for how "intense" he seemed and how it creeped her out.  That's when this FBI agent cunt demands that she stop playing games with them and tell them what they want to know.  That seems like an unlikely thing for a federal agent to say to a girl who may have a psychotic break, definitely missing limbs, and fairly traumatized.  I'm gonna guess that the writer of this movie, Jeff Hammond, hasn't worked in law enforcement before.

Not only do the FBI not believe anything Dakota is saying, but there's more than just the FBI being problematic in this story.  Dakota is also suffering from stigmata-like injuries whenever she dreams of the torture Aubrey "underwent".  That's not explained.  I bring it up because it happened to put Dakota into this situation she's in, but it's not well explained whatsoever.  There is also another element to that point I just made that is VERY problematic and I'll get to that when it is revealed in the actual plot.

Yet another problem here that isn't so much a plot or character problem, but actually a leap that the movie takes that fires this movie right into the stratosphere of insanity.  That's when Crabman from My Name Is Earl comes into Dakota's room and delivers her "state-of-the-art robotic arm".  Goddamn...  Lindsay Lohan with an Iron Man arm could probably rule this world.  That was diabolical, Crabman.  You have unleashed this onto our world.
What do you have to say for yourself, sir?
Oh and she also gets a robot leg.

Because why not, Aubrey's parents take Dakota home from the hospital.  They let her roam about in Aubrey's room.  I do not think this would happen, but what do I know?  I just watch these fucking movies.  I don't write them.  Later, Jerrod, Aubrey's boyfriend, shows up to see her.  I kinda feel bad for ol' Jerrod.  First of all, he's kind of got a dopey Ethan Embry thing going on and that has to be rough in high school.  Then, she gets pretty sexy to see him with some short shorts and cleavage busting out of her top and what have you... but her robot leg is upstairs getting a charge so he has to like see that nub thing.  It's like he's starting at the top of her head and thinking, "Yes, I like that."  Then he moves down to her face and thinks, "Yup, this is late 2006/early 2007 Lindsay Lohan, so this is a yes as well."  Then sees dem titties, and probably instantly pops a bone.  Realizing she's got short shorts on, he's probably into that too (I would be), but... Oh no...  That stubby bit.  Yoinks.  That probably made him go a least a little soft.

When she tries to tell him she's really not Aubrey, he tries to kiss her memories back.  Like he's the opposite of Superman.  She INSTANTLY decides to take him upstairs to fuck.  She freaking manhandles him.  That's not something I feel sorry for him about.

Later, Dakota is explaining to Jerrod about her injuries and she remembers a time she was showering and watched her finger essentially decompose and fall off.  It looks like it did when Aubrey had the dry ice on it.  That ties back to the opening when she was dancing and bleeding on the pole.  Jerrod buys the story, mostly because there is no longer any offsetting sperm filling up his balls and, therefore, his brain to make him question what this crazy broad is saying.

The mean FBI lady finds a story that Aubrey wrote called "Dakota" about a girl named Dakota Moss (the name Dakota used) who had an identical twin.  Also, Dakota's DNA tests came back identical to Aubrey's.  Meanwhile, Dakota investigates how her stigmatic wounds came to be.  She finds out that there are supposed cases of stigmatic twins throughout history.  She tells Aubrey's mom that she thinks she is Aubrey's twin sister.

She said that to her mom.

"But it is possible for us to be twins, right?"
No.  Literally, no.  Not in the way you suggested .
The mom who would 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000% know if she and Aubrey were twins.  Aubrey's dad lurks in the background when her mom and Dakota talk about the night Aubrey was born and what some of her memories of being pregnant and giving birth were.  After Dakota sees a vision of Aubrey being buried alive, she sees Aubrey's dad in his study.  She confronts him about being twins.  Turns out that Aubrey's parents lost their baby when it didn't survive the incubator after a rough birth.  He then bought one of the twin girls from Dakota's actual birth mother, who was a crack addict.  Aubrey's dad refuses to try to help Dakota figure out who still has Aubrey because he's afraid of losing his wife over his lies about what actually happened to their biological daughter.  

So, after telling him to go fuck himself, Dakota sets out to try to save Aubrey.  When she is led to the grave of Aubrey's classmate who was also a previous winner of the Young Artist's Award thing that Aubrey was going for, Dakota realizes it is the piano teacher who has been kidnapping, torturing, and killing the girls.  

Aubrey's dad finally comes to help and Dakota explains what she's figured out.  They go to the guy's house and separately investigate.  Dakota is able to enact some measure of revenge by sawing off the teacher's hand when he discovers her before she finds his torture room.  Sadly, Aubrey's dad was found and killed by the teacher leaving Dakota to win the movie by herself.

She's initially overpowered when he's recouped his senses and we get the typical thriller/mystery explanation for things - mainly that the mutilation has to do with limbs used in playing the piano and the victims were those who quit their lessons when he felt they had more to give.  The teacher is initially confused by Dakota's appearance at his house because he thought he buried Aubrey.  Dakota kills the teacher, and finds Aubrey where she was buried.  Aubrey is still alive and helps prove that, indeed, Dakota and Aubrey are twins who share their experiences with each other.
Holy shit...  The sequel to The Parent Trap is really dark.
Here's the thing about this movie...  It's not truly "bad" in the typical sense.  I think it probably suffers a little bit from Lindsay Lohan's personal struggles around the time this was made.  Some might look at her performance and wonder if she gave a shit.  Frankly, she seemed to give a shit in those stripper club scenes.  I mean, she seemed pretty into it.

I was into it.

Seriously, though, it's an interesting idea, but misguided.  Stigmatic twins is a fascinating, "real" idea.  Conceivably, it could build a kind of cool, mysterious, or even creepy movie.  But that's not what this movie is.  This movie is seemingly a half-step-because-your-robot-leg-didn't-charge-overnight off from being everything it could be.  There's a decent plot here.  Probably not a good idea to frame it around high school girls when one is a stripper.  Maybe do a little more to sprinkle the stigmatic twins, mystical shit in earlier and not have weird stuff happen only for it to not start paying dividends until nearly the end of the second act.  There were so many misdirects early on with Aubrey's personality traits concerning her sensuality and sexual activity.  In one way it opened the door for Aubrey to moonlight as a dancer, but you never really commit to that possibility.  It's like you purposely threw us off the trail you sat us on.  It's just uneven and incapable to support the weight of its own attempts at being clever.

I Know Who Killed Me might have turned out to be a disappointment and it might have started a spiraling downfall for Lindsay Lohan, but I'd argue it's not that bad, just needing one last rewrite to tighten up some of the things that fell flat in the end result.

And with that, I bury this week's B-Movie Enema feature alive (after cutting off a couple limbs, of course).  Next week, we visit Eternia and check out a seemingly never-ending battle between He-Man and Skeletor as they claim themselves to be Masters of the Universe!

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