It's been a bad week for Lindsay Lohan, but this gothic fever dream of a movie probably won't make it much worse. By the admittedly undaunting standards of slasher-flick chicks past, Lohan's not bad. It's the director here who could probably use some rehab.
Lohan plays a hard-bitten stripper named Dakota. She has an unusual approach to her job: While all around her in the club where she works waitresses and fellow ecdysiasts writhe and totter about toplessly, Dakota never removes any key items of clothing. And since Lohan appears in these scenes to be on the edge of a coma — dull-eyed and lackadaisical — the stripping interludes may be the most un-erotic ever filmed.
The actress also plays a good girl named Aubrey, who has been abducted by a bloodthirsty fiend of the inexplicable variety (he just does what he does, shut up). The movie is much gorier than the widely reviled "Captivity," and possibly even more sadistic, although that's a fine line. We get to watch Aubrey being tortured in extended close-ups: skin ripped off, limbs amputated, that sort of thing. It's pretty vile. But the intended impact of these scenes is considerably dulled by the movie's underlit murkiness and its near-total lack of energy and momentum, and we find our minds wandering from the blood sport onscreen to contemplate the picture's startling technical deficiencies.
The script, by first-timer Jeffrey Hammond, flirts with incoherence and frequently embraces it in a full-body hug. Are Dakota and Aubrey connected in some way? Guess. But are they twins? Their DNA is identical, but Aubrey's mom is pretty sure she gave birth to just one tot. Wouldn't she know? Dakota grabs a Mac and pops onto About.com, where she's directed to "stigmata." Could this be the answer? By the time we're invited to wonder, we've forgotten the question.
The real star of this entirely baffling show is, as I say, the director, Chris Sivertson. I confess a complete lack of familiarity with his previous work, although a little research suggests that it's been concentrated in video. In any case, he's clearly a man of garish and overheated ambition, and the imagery he's concocted here sails so far over the usual gore-movie expectations that it leaves you with a crick in your neck.
There's a heavily-emphasized color motif throughout the film — something aqua-blue seems to turn up in every other scene: blue roses, blue coffins, blue gloves; the killer even does some of his dissecting with what looks like a big blue icicle. There's a guy with a huge wriggling tattoo over his heart and a rip in his skin from which an eyeball peers out. There's an avalanche of flashbacks to various other uninteresting parts of the story, and there are long, puzzling pans through sinister woods and down along gently burbling brooks. And Sivertson gets extra credit for including an amputee sex scene — although it's not as twisted as it sounds, and since Lohan once again remains essentially clothed, it doesn't even qualify as hot.
I won't embarrass the other actors in the movie by naming them. Why Lohan thought it was worth stinting on her rehab schedule last year to make this picture is more mystifying than anything Dakota and Aubrey get up to. Her career could take a hit only if anybody goes to see this thing. For her, that may be the only good news of the week.
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