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This year has brought us a “new look” Lindsay Lohan. Gone are the starring roles in Disney vehicles, gone is the seemingly bright future of a potentially good actress. In their place we have Lindsay trying to escape the Disney girl of her past and introduce herself to a more adult audience. Well, either that or she’s out partying it up like there’s no tomorrow.

Whatever the case, she has starred in two genre mash-ups this year. One was actually halfway decent, and the other is just a mess. First was the conservative exploitation flick Georgia Rule; that was decent movie, but nothing spectacular. Now we get Lohan in a genre bender that seeks to bring the torture porn horror sub-genre into closer contact with the serial killer thriller by way of this graphic psychological thriller. That actually makes it sound pretty good. It’s too bad that isn’t the case. I Know Who Killed Me is an amateurish mash that makes little sense, all while trying to make it seem deep and intelligent.

Lindsay Lohan stars as Aubrey Fleming – or is it Dakota Moss? – or perhaps it is both. Well, young Aubrey is a piano prodigy, a talented writer, and the apple of her parents’ eye (Neal McDonough and Julia Ormond). She is introduced reading a story she’s written to her high school English class. The story is about a troubled youth, and it sounds as if she has a strong connection to the character that might be based in real life.

During class we get the news that a missing classmate has been found dead. Apparently, she was tortured, with her hand and leg removed, and then left for dead. Then we are in the midst of a football game, then the game is over, Aubrey runs off and fails to meet up with her friends. Time passes (well, not really, but we are told that is is 18 days later), a girl is found on the side of the road. It is the bloodied and beaten body of Aubrey, or rather Dakota.

Who is this Aubrey of which you speak? Strewn throughout is the faceless kidnapper torturing Aubrey/Dakota in gruesome Saw-esque manner. Dakota looks like Aubrey, but does not act anything like her. Is this her channeling her written creation from the opening scene as a way of dealing with the ordeal, or is this, in fact a different person? Everything seems to point to her being Aubrey, except for who she says she is.

Lost yet? Director Chris Sivertson does not offer much direction. The scenes seem to be haphazardly spliced together in the general pattern of the plot, but nothing ties together all too solidly to form an actual movie. Sure, there are some shots that look really nice, but they are the exception rather than the rule, and again, those shots have little to do with the story and more to do with a nice composition. Credit to John Leonetti for these pretty interludes.

The screenplay from Jeff Hammond tries to play itself off as being tricky, but it is rather straightforward and kind of bland. It offers up the possibility of Dakota being a character created in Aubrey’s head in response to the torture, but the hints and clues that are offered to suggest this are little more than red herrings. None of the plot elements are back up by anything else in the film. It is not like, say, the reveal at the end of The Sixth Sense, which had us going back to see if we were cheated. Now this is not the same type of trick, but those of you who have seen the movie will know what I am saying. It has all the hints, but it doesn’t pay off — it doesn’t inspire the desire to go back and watch again for the clues.

Something that particularly bothered me was the reason for the abductions and torture is insubstantial and never really comes into play. Yes, there is an explanation offered, but it struck me as an afterthought; the focus is on Lindsay Lohan, her pole dancing, and her identity. The torturer is a plot device rather than another viable character. No, I do not require everything be explained, but when a central part of the tale is torture, I think some more thought should have gone into the killer, either bring in more information about him, or take away all detail. They tried to play it both ways and it failed.

Bottom line. This is just a poor movie. It’s pieced together in a maddening fashion, the acting is sub par, the screenplay doesn’t click, and in the end you are left wondering “why?” I still think Lohan may have some talent, she has hinted at it in past roles, but I am still waiting for it to be realized. As for this genre-bender, you would better be served waiting for the next Saw outing.

Grade: D


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