I Know Who Killed Me

I Know Who Killed Me

Film review by: Witney Seibold


            I saw this film on my birthday, although I refuse to accept that as a symbol of my life’s sorry state.

            A warning, I’m going to give away vital plot details of this one. But don’t think of that as a snotty critic taking sadistic please on stomping on your joyous ideals; think of it as a soldier warning you away from a dangerous minefield.


            “I Know Who Killed Me” stars the unfortunate Lindsay Lohan as a golden girl/piano prodigy Aubrey Fleming. Aubrey is an odd duck. She wants to quit playing piano, flirts with the bad-boy gardener (he has a tattoo on his nipple), and writes disturbing stories about a girl named Dakota Moss. Dakota is a stripper, and, in fantasy sequences, is also played by Lohan. I couldn’t help but think, by playing a stripper, than the poor deteriorating Lohan thought she could kickstart a flagging career (punctuated by the un-ignorable tabloid coverage she’s been getting) by playing daring and edgy. Sadly, the film does not go down the “edgy” path.


            Aubrey is kidnapped by a serial killer. We see a lot of very gruesome scenes of her in the killer’s clutches. He presses dry ice to her fingers and peels off great hunks of skin. The killer’s MO is to remove a limb or two, and then suffocate his victims.


            Then, inexplicably and sans one hand and foot, Aubrey turns up in a ditch. She is revived in the hospital, and cannot remember her real name or her parents (Julia Ormond and Neal McDonough). In fact, now Aubrey is insisting to investigating FBI agent (Garcelle Beauvais-Nilon) and FBI shrink (Gregory Itzin) on calling herself Dakota Moss, and begins acting like the “Star Trek”-parallel-universe-evil version of Aubrey. i.e. she uses the f-word more often, acts a bit rude, and readily bones the first boy to give her flowers (Brian Graghty). In the hospital she is outfitted with a robot hand and foot.


            The hand and foot are not mere prosthetics, but actual grind and have to be plugged in. Although, they look like they cost considerably les than six million dollars.


            Aubrey/Dakota soon begins bleeding from stigmata-like wounds on her stumps. She watches an old “Sightings”-like television clip on the internet and becomes convinced that she is Aubrey’s twin sister – despite mom distinctly remembering giving birth to merely one infant – and they are suffering identical wounds simultaneously, kind of like those twins from the old G.I. Joe cartoon. One gets strangled, but they both clutch their throats in pain. Or in “Twins” where the titular brothers itch in the same places.


            Would that work with other physical sensations as well? If they ate two different meals, would they taste each other’s food? If one was to visit a hot place, could the other cool her down by staying in a freezer? A great prank would be to masturbate while your twin went to a job interview. But now I’m just being dirty.


            Here’s the big twist: Dakota confronts dad about her past. It turns out that Dakota and Aubrey are born of the same mother, and the Fleming child (the one Julia Ormond remembers birthing) died at birth. Dad, unbeknownst to mom, bought one of the Moss twins, and the Flemings have been raising Aubrey as their own. The two twins lived very different lives (one a cute golden girl, the other a chain-smoking underage stripper), but when the serial killer began chopping off Aubrey’s fingers, Dakota began losing them as well. Dakota heads to Aubrey’s hometown thanks to a mysterious envelope, but passes out in a ditch because of her spontaneous wounds. They are mixed up. And so is the audience.


            Dakota then, equipped with her robot limbs, has to track down the killer before Aubrey, still alive, buried in a coffin, suffocates and kills them both. In a way, “I Know Who Killed Me” is a twisted sequel to the remake of “The Parent Trap.”


            The film is a lot more gruesome than it needs to be. Lohan squirms and screams while we watch close-ups of her skin being peeled and her fingers being severed one by one. There’s a scene, straight out of the bad-1980s-horror-symbols textbook, where Dakota slides her hand down a stripper’s pole, leave a long string of gooey blood on it. There’s a very unnecessary scene in which Dakota, thanks to a length of duct tape, some thread, and a curved hook, tries to sow her own gangrenous finger back onto her hand. When the killer is finally identified and confronted by Dakota, she grabs him by the arm with her robot hand, and screams “fuck you!” while sawing frantically at his wrist with a knife.


            Lohan also performs several strip numbers. Well, they’re more burlesque numbers, as there’s no nudity. Though she does seem to delight is wagging her butt at the camera, as probably a full five minutes of screentime are devoted to close-ups of it.


            “I Know Who Killed Me” is preposterous, the acting is bad, and one cannot really look past the tabloid explosion of its young star to really enjoy her performances at all. The director, Chris Sivertson, has worked with Lucky McKee (“May,” “Sick Girl”) in the past, and I can only imagine what kind of joyous and wicked-fun B-movie sensibility McKee would have brought to this material. Sivertson, though, brings far, far too much mechanical gory darkness into the proceedings, and wrings out a lot of the potential fun. A story about twin teenage girls, simultaneous losing the same limbs while a serial killer only cuts up one of them… that has potential. My friend Marc pointed out how great this kind of film would have been in the hands of Dario Argento in the 1970s. It could have been a genre touchstone.


            “I Know Who Killed Me” opened on very few screens (it came in at #9 at the box office, just above “Who’s Your Caddy?”), and is already destined for obscurity. It may be mentioned in tabloid articles that talk about Lohan’s several drug relapses, and less often in film magazines.

             Will it become camp fun in the future? Possibly, but there are better camp-fun films in the world.

Published in: on August 2, 2007 at 7:36 pm  Leave a Comment  

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