The ladies of Sorority Row

The ladies of Sorority Row









How do you make the leap from pop culture persona to credible actress? Rumer Willis, daughter of Bruce Willis and Demi Moore, and Audrina Patridge, low-key heroine of The Hills, are taking the horror movie route. It didn’t work for Paris Hilton in House of Wax, but they’re hoping they can scare and thrill audiences into forgetting their “real” identities and seeing only a couple of sorority sisters who come to regret a prank gone wrong in Sorority Row.

Sorority Row, loosely based on the 1983 semi-classic horror movie The House on Sorority Row, creeps into theatres September 11. Like the recent remakes of Friday the 13th and My Bloody Valentine, it’s an old-school exploitation slasher with plenty of sexy girls and gruesomely inventive deaths. The sexy girls in question are six sorority sisters who play an innocent (if mean-spirited) prank on a friend but panic when the prank goes wrong and someone ends up dead. The girls vow to cover up the death and keep their guilty secret in order to protect their futures. But, one year later, they learn that you can’t ever truly bury the past when a mysterious figure threatens to expose their secret. As the sorority sisters race to figure out who is persecuting them, the threat becomes deadly and they are picked off one by one.

     Sorority Row is a thriller mixed with dark comedy, and doesn’t take itself too seriously. In the tradition of classic ‘80s horror, much of the comedy is derived from the details of the murders: each victim’s death is ironically well-suited to them; punishing them for their character flaws and silly self-obsessions. The girls embody all the campy sorority stereotypes – the bossy princess, the mousy bookworm, the party girl, etcetera. Some of the biggest shocks in the film, in fact, come not from the violence but from the nastiness with which the girls treat one another from the beginning. It’s no surprise that the movie has been likened to Scream crossed with Mean Girls

Willis and Patridge are no strangers to the catty dynamic that comes with associating with ‘mean girls’. Their well-publicized personal lives are populated with the likes of Lindsay Lohan, Paris Hilton and Heidi Montag. Rumer swears all of her friends are supportive but admits some girls can be “cutting or manipulative if they’re in a fight with someone.” But she has a grudging respect for assertive women: “I think there are certain girls out there who are just kind of the leaders, just kind of instinctively. They just kind of rise to the top.”

Audrina has distinctly less admiration for the queen bees in the movie and her life. For her, “they all have big egos and they think they’re that. They’re very high maintenance and they want all the attention. They’re rude, and they don’t care about being nice.”

A lot of the blogosphere buzz on Sorority Row centers on these two novice actresses, and the bloggers definitely don’t care about being nice. Audrina, for one, relished the chance to play a character who is “someone else and not you,” and brushes off the criticism of those who don’t believe a reality star can cross over and demonstrate her acting chops credibly. Of acting, she says, “It’s what I moved to LA to do, and it’s what I want to do.” But she admits, “I just have to gain that respect and work really hard and show everyone that I can do it.”

Rumer shares that philosophy: the life of a tabloid queen can be a hard one when you dream of real stardom as a performer. “Here’s the thing. I mean, if you’re in this business and you want to do it, if you’re in it for the right reasons and you just really want to work and be an actor, it just kind of comes with it, and I think the most important thing is to not let that dictate how you live your life.”


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