If I described your next movie experience like this -- Lindsay Lohan stars as a goody-goody high school student who gets abducted by a maniac, has one arm and one leg removed before making an escape, only to wake up in a hospital convinced she's a grungy stripper who soon receives a bionic hand and a battery-powered foot so she can get back to a normal life and track down the guy who did the limb-slicing -- you'd probably think you were in for a button-pushing black comedy not unlike Peter Berg's "Very Bad Things." Alas, no. Instead Chris Sivertson's ridiculously titled "I Know Who Killed Me" is a straight-faced dramatic thriller ... and one of the most ridiculous films of its sort since the arrival of the equally ridiculous "Boxing Helena." (Yeah, it's that kind of bad.)
When the movie's not offering up a pair of outrageously unconvincing performances from Lohan and boring us to sleep with a bunch of moodily-lit police procedural nonsense, it's a garish and seedy affair that's steeped in broadsymbolism, telegraphed plot twists, desperately wannabe Lynch-ism, dead-eyed and vacant performances, and a pacing best described as "Dude, get on with it already." And to those who might line up just hoping to catch a glimpse of some Lohan skin, no dice. It certainly wouldn't have made the movie any better, but I found it amusing to see how far Sivertson and Lohan would go with the leg-spready stripper stuff -- without actually having the sex-pot young actress lose some freakin' threads. Blue lights and vague flashbacks we get in abundance; logic and sense are in extremely short supply. (And just wait till you get a hold of the arcane Act III revelations; you'll be amazed what passes for a professional screenplay these days.)
Just like the recent (and equally worthless) "Captivity," the flick feels like it was originally mounted as a straight psycho-thriller (albeit a truly ridiculous one) but the producers opted to add a few nasty gore scenes because, hey, those "Saw" movies sure made a killing on graphic gore, didn't they? The crutch (as usual) doesn't work. The movie never comes close to being scary or disturbing; the "whodunnit" aspect is handled dryly and with extra lethargy; and as a showcase for Ms. Lohan's "grown up" talents, "I Know Who Killed Me" may just stand as the movie that killed her career. It's not just that the movie's so endlessly and ploddingly uneventful and ridiculous; it's that Ms. Lohan is proving herself to be quite the inept little actress. Her every line is delivered in a breathy monotone that (I suppose) is meant to exude a haggard and world-weary perspective. Instead she just comes off like a snotty mall girl who just smoked a few too many cigarettes.
It'd be nice to report that reliable actors like Neal McDonough and Julia Ormond elevate the material (or at least their scenes) to something approximating a good time, but that'd be straight charity on my part. The movie's an aimless, redundant, and pretentious little mess, sorry to say, and no amount of artsy blue lighting can camouflage the thing's shortcomings. Jeez, we're talking about a movie in which a computer video of ART BELL is projected on to the screen so we can get a lengthy bout of exposition that's as ill-fitting as it is unintentionally hilarious. Anyway, it's exceedingly easy to see why Sony is dumping the flick into a crowded summer marketplace with next to nothing in the way of press screenings, promotion, or excitement. And it's not Ms. Lohan's constant trouble with the law that's got the distributor skittish. It's the movie itself.