Dead on arrival, I Know Who Killed Me is an exploitative torture porn mystery that was panned by critics and sneered at by moviegoers who were fed up with actress Lindsay Lohan's off-time shenanigans. Yeah, I said actress — she is indeed capable, and does her level best with the sensational, super-seedy material.
Which makes the movie that much more enjoyable: like a Showgirls or a Lifetime Movie of the Week for the fright flick set, I Know Who Killed Me will be a guilty pleasure for some. Like me. Not that pleasurable mind you, but hardly excruciating either. If you think you might like the nonsensically lurid color and mood-driven giallo films of the 1970s, mated with the torture genre as presented by Eli Roth or Nick Palumbo, and then crossed in a petri dish with Lohan's own turn in The Parent Trap — you just might be willing to slide onto the stripper pole with Lindsay for a little while.
Lohan plays Dakota Moss, a hardscrabble exotic dancer (whose fully-dressed gyrations are catatonic at best) who finds herself mistaken for possible murder victim, privileged college girl Aubrey Fleming. Aubrey (or is it Dakota?) is somewhat worse for wear, having lost not only a chunk of her memory, but a couple of digits and limbs as well. Flashbacks provide the dismemberment in tawdry detail, but only glimpses of the kidnapper. Dakota insists she is herself, while trying to assume Aubrey's life.
After a lickety-split recovery and the donning of new prosthetics, Dakota enjoys the comforts of the young woman's home — even helping herself to Aubrey's clean-cut boyfriend (Brian Geraghty) — but starts to feel guilty and sets out to see if she can somehow save the mirror image of herself. Aubrey's parents (Julia Ormond, Neal McDonough) throw in a few red herrings, as the dumbest detective duo in cinematic history (Garcelle Beauvais, Spencer Garrett) scramble to gather clues while constantly asking Dakota who kidnapped her.
As the film asks questions — Is Dakota real, or a splinter of a split personality? A lost twin? A dream? A victim of amnesia? The propagator of a great hoax? — we already know the answer. In fact, we know it pretty much from the start, but the script takes so many deadman's curves (many of which can't give change for a dollar because they make no sense whatsoever) that reality is constantly called into question. ..So is all sense and reason, but who cares?
I Know Who Killed Me is entertaining in its smashup of silliness and stylishness. Jeff Hammond's script is unapologetically gruesome and explicit; those elements are complimented by John R. Leonetti's vivid, colorful and creative cinematography; and composer Joel McNeely's score is suitably stormy and punctuating. On the flipside, the direction is clumsy and characters are maddeningly obtuse, spouting dialogue only a non-English speaking dubber could love. It's all very giallo-inspired!
The DVD offers up an alternate opening (which is really just a change of scenery for the opening credits), an alternate ending which leaves the conclusion cloudy, and an extended strip scene in which Lohan still doesn't undress.
= = =Reviewed by Staci Layne Wilson