I know what you're thinking, and the answer is yes, I Know You Killed Me has a titular line of dialogue. In the fine tradition of exploitation movies, it has to -- the lead character has to turn to someone and say that enticingly ridiculous statement. In that sense, this film delivers.
The aforementioned tradition, though, doesn't say anything about that titular line actually making any sense. I wouldn't want to give away plot details to I Know Who Killed Me that might spoil any plans to Netflix and heckle it with friends (or to stumble across it on cable and heckle it alone), but suffice it to say that this line is delivered with utter seriousness by someone who is in no way dead, even by the movie's own convoluted stretches of imagination (granted, a limited one in this case). Article continues below
I Know Who Killed Me is Lindsay Lohan
's first grown-up thriller, in the sense that only grown-ups can see it unaccompanied; her character is as young as her other recent protagonists, if not younger; her roles in Mean Girls and A Prairie Home Companion
were smarter; and her new vehicle has roughly the same level of believability as Freaky Friday. Lohan is not untalented, but nor is she an acting prodigy; she needs surer material than this to guide her along and, like a lot of young stars, could stand to spend more time in supporting or ensemble parts.
Here, instead, she has a dual role of sorts: She starts the movie as good girl Aubrey, who disappears, seemingly captured by a serial killer who tortures and eventually kills teenage girls of a certain age (watch out, Hilary Duff
!). A few days later, Aubrey turns up in a ditch, missing some body parts but clinging to life. But when her parents meet her at the hospital, she doesn't recognize them; she claims to be Dakota, a hardscrabble exotic dancer with a dead junkie mom.
Wistful peaks into Aubrey's writing reveal feelings of half-emptiness. Is Dakota an illusion, or is Aubrey? Is one of them a dream? Are they split personalities? Director Chris Sivertson
would like the audience to consider these dualities and paradoxes; you know this because he abides by a bludgeoning color scheme. Aubrey's life is blue-hued, and Dakota's is full of fiery reds (though redhead Lohan's hair remains black in both). The blue motif in particular is laid on with such overwhelming thickness in the beginning that it's difficult to keep track of what it's supposed to be symbolizing. If the blues and reds are supposed to be a dual cinematic motif, why is the balance tipped so heavily towards blue? Another fascinating paradox: We see flashbacks of Dakota working at a strip club; she is the only dancer who is somehow allowed to keep a few clothes on, yet the camera ogles her lasciviously.
There are a few characters in the movie not played by Lindsay Lohan, though they tend to pop in and out -- she has a small group of close friends, for example, for exactly one scene. Julia Ormond
heroically volunteers to give a histrionic performance opposite Lohan as her mother, delivering a clear message about what can happen to yesterday's starlet. Of course, in true horror-movie style, Lohan is already in I Know Who Killed Me with her; it may already be too late.
The movie does have some fun with Dakota's "introduction" to Aubrey's sexually frustrated boyfriend Jerrod (Brian Geraghty
). He is as puzzled as anyone by Aubrey/Dakota's strange behavior, but, given her newly short shorts and stripper's lack of inhibitions, is more willing to go along for the ride. He must've been sick of that blue motif, too.
There is also the matter of some serial-killing to be solved. Aubrey/Dakota makes a remarkably passive investigator; her crime-solving techniques include withholding whatever information she already has, and having symbolic dreams and/or visions until she can guess what the movie considers a reasonable solution. This is not the first thriller in which characters make the inexplicable decision to not call the police, but it is the first one where I wondered if the characters were just too lazy to pick up a phone.
So I Know Who Killed Me has its pretensions, its contrivances, and its moments -- right up through the last shot -- that make little sense despite the labor of said pretensions and contrivances. But it is not a dull film; it's too trashy to be a complete bore, though it's also too TV-ish to work as a grand, campy folly. Put another way: It may not be much good, but Lohan has more important things to worry about now.