Despite her tabloid-friendly hijinks, Lindsey Lohan does have the potential to become the next great American sex-kitten/actress; all she really needs to do is learn how to act. Currently, Mrs. Lohan only seems capable of looking amused, disgusted, or, more often than not, bored by it all. Her first film, Disney’s remake of “The Parent Trap”, saw Lohan enthusiastically playing twin girls trying to reunite their divorced parents. Her performance in that film drew critical raves, mainly for her fresh-faced exuberance and an acting prowess well beyond her years. In “I Know Who Killed Me”, Lohan once again plays a dual-role; the privileged college student, Aubrey Fleming, and her doppelganger, the streetwise sexpot, Dakota Moss. The film opens with Dakota stripping in a club, a vacant look in her eyes as she goes through the motions. The problem is, though, it doesn’t feel like Lohan’s acting at all. Whether she’s writhing about on stage as Dakota, or reading one of Aubrey’s creative writing assignments in the classroom, Lohan seems to wish she were somewhere else, and, as a result, so does the viewer.
A serial killer is terrorizing New Salem, one that feeds his victims amphetamines to make sure they’re awake and aware of every ounce of torture he doles out on them, including the removal of their left leg and hand. Aubrey Fleming is abducted by the killer, but, when a girl matching Aubrey’s description is found on the roadside eighteen days later (sans her hand and leg), claiming to be a street urchin named Dakota Moss, Aubrey’s parents and the police are convinced that this is just the imaginative Aubrey’s way of coping with her ordeal, and are hopeful that she’ll eventually come out of it. Dakota, on the other hand, is convinced that Aubrey is still being held captive, and she’s the girl’s only chance for survival.
I Know Who Killed Me offers an intriguing concept, but, rather than explore it to any great degree, the film wastes most of its energy trying to hide the obvious plot twists, and spends far too little time on the few things that actually worked. When the revelation finally hits in the film’s very rushed climax, much of the impact is lost seeing as how most seasoned viewers will have figured it all out by the second act. If the uninspired script, flat direction, silly plot devices (like Dakota’s conveniently lifelike prosthetic hand and leg), and Lifetime movie of the week caliber performances of the supporting cast knocks the legs out from under I Know Who Killed Me, it is Lohan, herself, who deals the film its death blow.
It’s obvious that the actress is trying to prove to the world that she’s no longer the tween goddess she once was, and I respect her for trying to make the jump from kid-friendly fare to mature cinema. However, under director Chris Sivertson, Lohan’s transition to more adult material is as subtle as a dingo in a maternity ward. We are subjected to several long and somewhat clumsily executed strip sequences that come off as more embarrassing than sexy, over-the-top torture sequences involving Aubrey that seem completely out of place, and the sight of Lohan dropping more F-bombs than Lenny Bruce in line at the DMV. Methinks Lindsey is trying too hard, here.
So what does I Know Who Killed Me do right? Not much. Still, it’s not an entire loss. The film moves along at a brisk pace for the first half, Lohan’s easy on the eyes, and, while silly and trite, the story did hold my interest enough to make me want to see it through to the end.
Sony offers I Know Who Killed Me on DVD with the option of both widescreen and full frame transfers, an alternate ending that is literally less than a minute long, an alternate opening sequence, a short blooper reel, and…gasp…an extended strip sequence. It seems that no one involved in this particular film wanted to revisit it for any interview/behind-the-scenes material, and I can’t say I blame them.
While I could think of worse ways to burn off a Sunday afternoon, I Know Who Killed Me isn’t quite competent enough for even a mild recommendation. If you like Lindsey Lohan, and the idea of seeing her gyrate around in her underthings for the better part of ten minutes or so, you’ll love this movie. If, however, you are looking for a well crafted thriller, you may want to look elsewhere.