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part of a small rebellion | by maryann johanson

I Know Who Killed Me (review)

Bad is easy: this level of awful approaches the genius. Lindsay Lohan (Georgia Rule) is a badass, tough-sexy stripper named Dakota — no, wait, she’s a talented artist/writer/musician/golden girl named Aubrey. One or the other of them — or maybe both — have been kidnapped and tortured by a generic crazy-mad serial killer. One or the other of them escapes, or is dumped by her captor, and refuses to help the FBI agents investigating the crime. Could be Dakota is merely a figment of Aubrey’s imagination, a way to cope with her trauma; could be the audience is merely a figment of director Chris Sivertson’s imagination, a sham justification for him to collect an undeserved paycheck and production credit. Meanwhile, first-time screenwriter Jeff Hammond is demonstrating his utter lack of appreciation for the minds of young women, a complete ignorance of the way law enforcement works, and indeed a total unawareness all concepts of pacing, drama, and what makes a compelling movie. To call this a disjointed mess is to suggest that someone attempted to impose some orderliness to it and failed; to call Lohan’s appearance here sad and salacious is to suggest that she’s been anything other of late, either onscreen or off. Oh, it’s all extremely laughable, but only in a small, depressing kind of way, the kind of way that makes you marvel that movies like this actually make it past the drunken-scribbles-on-a-cocktail-napkin stage.

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MPAA: rated R for grisly violence including torture and disturbing gory images, and for sexuality, nudity and language

viewed at a private screening with an audience of critics

official site | IMDb
  • Grant

    Hey, MaryAnn?
    I notice you gone to a format where you have long for reviews (like for Talk to Me) and short form reviews (like for this). But you also have a number of movies on the light bar that never get reviews posted. I know you’re swamped, but any chance of bringing back the Shortcuts posts to catch those?

    I know, bitch bitch bitch, it’s all we readers ever do.
    But it’d be great to get a couple lines on these other flicks. =)

  • MaryAnn

    The short form reviews are what used to be called Shortcuts. I thought that was obvious.

  • MaryAnn

    Also, some films in the “recent screenings and hot movies” listing haven’t opened yet. So I’ll review some of those — in either long or short form — when they open.

  • steph

    Great review! So would you classify this as a “so bad it’s entertaining, in a way” or is it just irredeemable?

  • MaryAnn

    No, it’s not entertaining at all. Avoid, avoid, avoid.

  • breanna

    I loved this movie! Absolutely entertaining, it has you in your seats about ready to jump because your so scared.. I reckon everyone go see this!

  • Dan Combs

    People that don’t understand the movie “I know who killed me” here *spoliers* I’ll explain it to you.

    CobaltDuck explains – The Movie is not about a Twin finding her sister like some psychological mystery crime drama. ITs not really torture porn. Its a Psychological thriller. The movie a about Aubrey using her imagination to try to solve the mystery of who is killing her. Aubrey doesn’t make it. Aubrey is killed. Aubrey is captured, tortured, buried alive, and the mysterious killer gets away with it. Aubrey doesn’t know who is killing her, so she retreats to her mind and to avoid the pain and try to make sense out of why this is happening to her. That part where Dakota lays down next to Aubrey isn’t a tired Dakota taking a quick nap its Aubrey finally dieing.

    The MOvie on the very first viewing is suppose to confuse you…it leads you in many directions and possibilities.. Does Aubrey has multiple personality disorder, or maybe she is an engineered twin for an experiment (take note of the similar faces of the 2 previous girls maybe they were both engineered twins and killed as well), or Dakota really is a twin… These are just decoy plots. Every time Dakota feels pain..thats not Dakota thats Aubrey feeling it. Every vision Dakota has is not a vision .thats Aubrey seeing the situation. The movie’s first viewings purpose is to make you think the story is going in a different direction. Only at the very end does it become clear and the movie comes into focus. It should hit you in the gut that Aubrey didn’t make it. Its sad. It should make you angry because Aubrey is strong and not weak but she never had a chance to fight back.

    The 2nd viewing you have the time to look at all the clues, because maybe the Piano teacher wasn’t the one that killed her maybe thats just Aubrey’s best guess before she died, its probabley the gardener. Maybe it was the strange man on the bus. Maybe its the psychiatrist. Maybe the killer is hidden in her mind. Maybe no clue in her mind will help her solve the mystery. Even Aubrey herself doesn’t understand why she is doing this. I like to think Aubrey got it right and figured it out and gave her self some comfort for solving the mystery.

    People that criticise the movie, including newspaper critics, just don’t get the point of the movie. It goes right over their head. They can’t see it even though its right in front of their eyes. One could start to suspect where the movie was heading when the “strange” explanation for Dakota losing body parts was explained by “Twin stigmata”. This is a fantasy, they could of equally used Voodoo or witchcraft or alien invaders as fantasy substitutes. Then when Dakota decided to drive with her father to the piano teachers house (with out back up or calling the police i might add) the direction of the story should of become suspect. When Dakota said “I think i know who killed me” the audience should of started figured it out, because why would Dakota say “I think i Know who killed me” it doesn’t make sense, Dakota was never touched by the Piano teacher, nor was she being killed, she said it because she was Aubrey and Aubrey was close to death and wanted to figure it out. Then Dakota finds Aubrey… it should become obvious that all of this is in Aubreys head. Dakota joins Aubrey because Aubrey is in her last breath. The movie ends and goes no further because Aubrey is dead. If it wasn’t in Aubreys head then the next scene would show the next day at her dads funeral with both sisters on crutches. But, Aubrey is dead.

    The movie isn’t suppose to make you feel good. It should make you feel sad/angry/depressed/uncomfortable. It is not a normal happy Holloywood movie. But its tragedy will keep you thinking about it for a long time. the stripper scenes make you feel like the movie you see is real. If the ending was a happy ending the effect would not be the same. Aubrey dies… and its really sad and such a waste.

    I know who killed me is a good movie.


    Dan Combs

  • MaryAnn

    It should make you feel sad/angry/depressed/uncomfortable. It is not a normal happy Holloywood movie. But its tragedy will keep you thinking about it for a long time.

    Ironically enough, CobaltDuck is right here, though not in the way he thinks.

  • John

    There’s no question that I Know Who Killed Me was an unusual movie by typical standards, but I liked it. I’m sick of the typical crap that I thought this movie was gonna be. What I take exception to is reviewers who say, “Avoid, avoid, avoid.”. One person’s trash is another’s treasure.
    This movie is about a talented young writer with an enormous imagination and a bright future. It contains a story within a story from the point of view of this strong and (literally) tortured teenager (as previously posted by someone else) and it’s up to the audience to figure this out.
    I can’t wait to poke around the DVD provided there are extended scenes, or commentary.

  • John

    To insult this movie is disrespectful in the sense that this is Aubrey’s final story…her last words and thoughts.

  • MaryAnn

    This movie doesn’t deserve my respect. If you want to throw yours away on it, John, that’s your business. :-> But I’ll keep being insulting.

  • I think Breanna can be forgiven. She’s probably a twelve year old Lindsay Lohan fan, and people have very weak crap detectors at a young age (some never grow out of it, true, but the simplicity of the comment makes me think she’s fairly young).

    John, are you telling me that this is a true story? I don’t think it is, so how is it “disrespectful” to criticize it? And even if it were, one can insult a poor movie adaptation without meaning any disrespect to the source material (I doubt MAJ feels any animosity towards Pearl Harbor vets, for example). But MAJ was giving her advice that this is a movie to be avoided to someone who asked for it. One of the primary jobs (traditionally, the only job) of a reviewer is to advise people on what’s worthwhile and what should be avoided, IN THEIR OPINIONS. Of course someone else might enjoy it- it’s up to you to decide if you trust a reviewer’s advice.

    And Cobalt Duck… damn, man. Okay, I haven’t seen this movie, so I’m sort of winging it, but your comment is truly bizarre. Basically, you’re saying that the only reason almost everyone (5% on Rotten Tomatoes) disliked this movie is that they didn’t understand it, and that if only they’d thought about it more they would have loved it. That’s a poor argument generally, because a movie should be engaging throughout even if a viewer doesn’t understand it. I knew I didn’t understand all of Vanilla Sky the first time I saw it (particularly the last sentence), but I still thought it was an entertaining movie while watching it. I thought An American Haunting had a nice twist ending, but that couldn’t make up for the preceding hour and a half of unoriginal scare tactics. M. Night Shyamalan is well-known for twist endings, but his best movies are those that would still be pretty good even without the twist. So, saying “you just don’t understand it” is rarely, if ever, a good defense to a critical panning.

  • Stephanie P

    In response to Cobalt Duck’s synopsis…I’ve got to give him credit, he makes the movie sound more interesting than the previews do. I might actually rent it. It sounds like Lynch’s Lost Highway, which wasn’t a fantastic film based on the fact that one character retreats into his imagination halfway into the film, and nobody bothers to tell the audience. Plots like that have been handled more deftly: Brazil, Open Your Eyes, Vanilla Sky, Science of Sleep. But they’re tricky, and the director/writers need to actually know what they’re doing to pull them off and so as not to leave audiences scratching their heads.

  • CobaltDuck

    Yes Im saying the only reason the movie got 5% on rotten tomatoes is because the critics didn’t understand what teh movie was about. I should know I emailed a dozen of them and the critics are idiots. Here is a expample of their juvinile responces. “Mr. Combs;
    You seem to be personally insulted that I found the movie to be vapid,
    inane, supercilious, unprofessional and just plain boring.
    Stop and think. A critic is simply a qualified person with an opinion.
    We live in America, where everyone is entitled to their own opinion. I
    have my opinions published and read by thousands because I know what
    I’m writing about.
    The only thing you have enlightened me on is that you know nothing
    about screen writing or the film making process and that you are a
    horrible speller who doesn’t understand the value of Spell Check.
    I suppose I’m not the first to suggest that you get a life.
    Taylor Pero”

    Pretty Juvinile, and attacking my character like he is a superior being, or something.
    And Other Critics probabley didn’t even see the movie. An the ones that did thought the movie was about a “twin” named Dakota. Its not. Thats just the Decoy Plot.
    Critics just had it out for Lindsay, like she was an over exposed princess they wanted to bash her for the fun of it.
    The Critics totally bothced the review of this movie. This is a good movie.
    And unlike “lost highway” which has a disconnected feel to it. What happens in Aubreys mind is VERY relavent because Aubrey has the clues to who is killing her in her mind. She picked the piano teacher but she might of been wrong, it could be that the gardener killed her.
    I Know who killed me is a great movie.

  • Who the hell is Taylor Pero, and why does he represent all movie critics in America?

  • MaryAnn

    And Other Critics probabley didn’t even see the movie.

    Are you suggesting, CobaltDuck, that there are critics who “review” films without having seen them?

    I also think, CD, that you need to reevaluate your understanding of “juvenile.” There is nothingt “juvenile” about Pero’s response, nor does he attack your “character.”

    Insulting — and insulting without warrant — those who disagree with you is no way to convince us that this is a “great movie.”

  • stephane

    Well, unlike the people who are inexplicably weighing in on Dan’s assessment even when they personally have not seen the movie, I DID see the movie, and guess what? I came to the same conclusion, and my moment of stunned silence at the end of the movie gave way to a flash of insight and I just knew, that there was no twin and that Aubrey was very and positively dead. And then the ENTIRE movie, the cheap horror, the shit acting, the overuse of color effect, everything, makes perfect sense. The why would so many decent actors involve themselves with such an apparently shit movie is answered easily: it’s because they wouldn’t, and didn’t. They were given the story and they got it.

    So I came online, and couldn’t believe my eyes that not one ‘official critic’ got it. Did they watch the whole movie?

    Then, I found Dan’s assessment, which he articulates better than me. Then I watched it again, because I couldn’t believe that such a small number of people got it, it seems improbable. But even on second viewing the real plot stands the test, whereas the stigmata twin plot just keeps getting stupider and stupider.

    And you know what? Just because a handful of people DID get it, that doesn’t mean the critics are right, it just shows how easily that director manipulated their extremely limited intelligence, clearly.

    And the response from Taylor Pero? CLASSIC. Neatly sidesteps the crux of the matter and doesn’t even attempt to demolish one, just one, of Dan’s points. Instead, he takes the character assasination route and retreats to his laurels and why he should be listened to as The Big Critic Who Millions Will LIsten To. It’s atrocious, the response.

    Way to go Dan, it’s good to know that there is at least some life on earth and analytical thinking left.

    My big question was whether or not the director could have predicted the incredibly stupid response of every single last movie critic in North America? It’s really an intriguing phenomenon, if you ask me.
    If I was leading a film class I’d say this would be good material in terms of the broader picture here of just how much society lets negative media shape opinion and thought even when it’s right there in front of you..

  • MaryAnn

    It’s interesting that the defenders of the film don’t understand that it’s possible to appreciate the “it’s all a dream” explanation and still think the execution of that concept is awful. Which it is.

  • me

    Maryann, if you think that what Taylor wrote back to Dan was in any way professional, or even barely civil, it causes me to wonder what your affiliation is or if you have a personal bias.

    At any rate, I decided to take a look at your other reviews, only to discover you take special glee in ripping films that many thought were great to shreds, in a very vicious and cynical manner. That doesn’t make for good reviewing so much as just trash talking masquerading as informed commentary.

    So I decided to read a review of a movie that you DID like, say, 300, which I personally thought was utter foolishness. Imagine my surprise when you rushed to defend the ludicrously campy and over the top narration on the premise that it was being told by battle-hardened warriors who, naturally in their moment of glory, would retell it in exactly that manner, basically you asserted that would be the expected type of style.

    So I really wonder what sort of coherence, logic, or believability you would expect from an aspiring fantasy writer as she lives out her last brutal days in a trauma-induced hallucination, flashing in and out of conciousness as she is tortured?

    Do you see where I’m going here? Ironic, huh?

    Or maybe you’re just pissy because you initially missed the real plot. I’d like to to honestly tell us that if one of your favorite actresses had starred in this that you would have panned it as cruelly. Well you can deny that all you want but I think you would have given it a much better chance, and kept your mind far more open to the possibility that maybe Hammond is just a bit more intelligent than you thought……

  • me

    Just noticed your comment. How can you call us defenders of the movie? Thats creating an unnecessary take-sides environment. As a reviewer, I think you should be more capable of separating ‘defense’ of something from a rejection of reviews that clearly show that the reviewer didn’t ‘get it’ in the first place.

    I don’t think everything in the movie was perfectly done – but to be fair, there are VERY few movies where everything is perfectly done. That’s not the point, noone is defending the movie per se or even the hard to like Lohan, we’re pointing out that yes it is possible for the critics to be wrong. All of you did the same thing, once you had written off the storyline as preposterous you only saw all the characteristics of the movie thru that lens. But seen thru the lens of a dying delusional teenaged fantasy writer with an alter-ego she clearly has a place inside herself somewhere for, MUCH of it makes complete sense, and IS fairly well done

  • MaryAnn

    Maryann, if you think that what Taylor wrote back to Dan was in any way professional, or even barely civil, it causes me to wonder what your affiliation is or if you have a personal bias.

    I fail to see what the idiocy of another critic has to do with my opinion of this movie.

    seen thru the lens of a dying delusional teenaged fantasy writer

    The problem is that this movie about a delusional teenaged fantasy writer plays out as if it were written by a delusional teenaged fantasy writer.

  • me

    This is what you said to Dan:

    “I also think, CD, that you need to reevaluate your understanding of “juvenile.” There is nothingt “juvenile” about Pero’s response, nor does he attack your “character.”

    Insulting — and insulting without warrant — those who disagree with you is no way to convince us that this is a “great movie.””

    I don’t think I misinterpreted it at all – you defended Pero’s completely assinine response and accused Dan of insulting him without warrant. Guess what? Arguments stand (and fall) on their own merits.

    RE the following:

    “The problem is that this movie about a delusional teenaged fantasy writer plays out as if it were written by a delusional teenaged fantasy writer.”

    That’s because everything after the first 10 minutes of the movie WAS WRITTEN BY A DELUSIONAL TEENAGED FANTASY WRITER. It was even spoon fed to us right there in the opening part of the movie. Yet the dumbasses decided to allow themselves to be led away from what was so glaringly obvious. Talk about unbelievability – the critics would have the viewer believe that someone could actually try to pass off such craziness off as reality? Look at the stigmata twin video she watched – it’s so deliberately stupid it’s hilarious. IT’S NOT REALITY! If you try to treat it as reality, it’s completely incomprehensible. Aubrey doesn’t even die in a glass-coffin, after having her limbs chopped off by a glass scythe – cmon now! That’s the fodder of a really amateur fantasy writer, WHICH IS EXACTLY WHAT AUBREY WAS!!! In real life, a piano teacher who seeks revenge on an ex-student chop her up but then carefully place her in a glass coffin to preserve her, when his immediate previous victim, who he maimed in entirely the same manner, he just left to bleed to death and tossed into a field somewhere? He liked Aubrey more? Blah, even his involvement is likely just a figment of her imagination. She’s dying and has to resolve her inner conflicts, so she comes up with whatever has been going on with her in her just before she was abducted – her cheesy Dakota character, he run in with the piano teacher, etc…it’s all there.

  • MaryAnn

    – you defended Pero’s completely assinine response

    I said it wasn’t juvenile. Which it wasn’t. It was rude, perhaps, but that’s not the same thing.

    And it still has nothing to do with my opinion of the film, which I stand by.

  • MaryAnn

    That’s because everything after the first 10 minutes of the movie WAS WRITTEN BY A DELUSIONAL TEENAGED FANTASY WRITER.

    No, it wasn’t. It was written by an adult man who is, presumably, sane.

  • macbrooks

    Wow, this is some interesting thread. I’m suspecting that DC has found a spell checker and is posting under a new handle. Or else his/her more literate friend/sibling is.

    I’ve never been to a film school and don’t even watch many movies, but I understand pacing, good acting, riveting dialogue and excellent editing. As most movie critics have done their time both in school and viewing movies, I trust their opinions. Don’t always agree, but I don’t flip out when our opinions diverge.

    MaryAnn’s not afraid to post and defend her critiques (not that she needs defending from me). I think that’s great – she knows her stuff and isn’t afraid to get in your face if you’re unwise enough to cross her without a d*mn good reason.

    I know this post is extremely late but my family rents out horrible movies every New Year’s Eve, gets drunk and tries to make it through them. Look like this one will make the list this year. Happy New Year, everyone!

    mac :]

  • Alicia


    Thank you CobaltDuck for explaining the movie more thoroughly, because it does give me a reason to rate this movie above poor. Since I didn’t understand it, I felt the same way most others do (who give a negative rating) because of what seemed like bad direction, poorly written dialogue, etc. But thinking in terms of the movie from Aubrey’s perspective (after her abduction) puts a spin on everything.

    For example, I remember reading a review where the reviewer stated he/she believed the way the FBI was portrayed was not very accurate. But after reading Colbalt’s explanation, I said to myself, “How would Aubrey see the way the FBI works or anyone else for that matter?” Because everything is in her head, everything is skewed and inaccurate.

    I do think that it’s a turn off to many people because it is difficult to follow, and when it’s a big Hollywood movie, you kind of expect it to be entertaining even if you don’t know what’s going on. (I’m not saying that everyone has to understand a movie in order for it to be good.) But I suggest reevaluating the movie after you know what’s going on in order to get a feel for what the writers and directors were actually trying to get across to the viewers.

    As always, I would say not to rely on everyone elses reviews, but to always see a movie for yourself since everyone’s tastes are different.

  • MaryAnn

    The movie is NOT difficult to follow. It’s simply poorly executed, even if one accepts this “it’s all Aubrey’s invention” explanation.

  • Sondra

    THANK YOU COBALT DUCK!!!! WE watched this movie last night. As someone who is bored by the predictable foreshadowing = ending, typical dialogue, and hollywood protrayals of teens I found this movie intriguing. I am the person who always has to explain the endings to family and friends, who guesses the murderers, and who figures out that the two are long-lost relatives. This movie was sp refreshing because after it was over, I DIDN’T KNOW! I immediately jumped on the computer and thankfully ran across Cobalt’s explanation after reading a series of stupid, pointless crititques. I lay awake last night processing everything and decided that I really appreciated this movie. I was extremely saddenned thinking about Aubrey at the end. I thought about real-life victims and wondered what their last thoughts were, and if any were pushed over the edge into psychic-disrealities. Anyways, as someone who is used to knowing, and clearly didn’t get it for once, I truly appreciated the insight. Thanks Cobalt.

  • Arrrghh, every time I think this thread is dead, someone donuts it back to the top. People are going on like it’s Citizen Kane or something (not so much you, Sondra, but definitely Cobalt Duck).

  • knixphan

    Just rented it, so I wouldn’t feel left out…

    Gonna have to agree with MJ, that even with the VanillaSkyJacobsLadder-esque interpretation, it could have been executed with more… something.

  • I can’t believe you just posted the story like that. Not that I am interested in seeing this movie, but come on. You just spoiled it completely.

  • MaryAnn

    I’ve deleted the complete-spoiler post. This is not the place to post complete plot recaps.

  • Ryan

    I can’t believe some of the people on this thread. Just because you figured out the movie. (NOT difficult) Does not make it good. The acting, pacing, dialog, every part of this movie was terrible…and the twist ending does not solve that. It just makes it terrible, but (slightly) less ludicrous.

  • Bran

    all i have to say is this show was interesting, had me on my feet…first show for the year that i sat and watched entirely…

  • Jurgan

    This is the thread that would not die…

  • Michelle cupp

    Thank you for the info. Can’t count on Maryann she’s a moron in my opinion.

  • Jenifer D

    what are you talking about? Dakota calls herself Aubrey to comfort Daniel. Dakota and Aubrey are not the same person

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