In a word: “Wow!” The new Lindsay Lohan vehicle (I think it’s a hearse) I Know Who Killed Me is quite possibly the single most demented and incoherent movie of the year. As an expression of bad cinema, it’s an accomplishment of some note. And, oh yes, it’s bad. It’s very bad. It’s so bad it almost comes out the other side of badness to become good. Well, that’s an overstatement, but it’s at least so incredibly wrongheaded and laugh-out-loud funny that it earns enshrinement in the pantheon of cinematic two-headed cows. (At the same time, I’d be willing to bet that if the movie were in Italian and signed by Dario Argento, there’d be a horde of Euro-horror fans proclaiming it as a masterpiece and dismissing its complete lack of coherence as “dream logic.” Perspective accounts for much.)
I don’t think I understood just how singularly whacked out this movie was while I was watching it. I knew it was, well, peculiar, but it was only later when I was describing it to someone that I truly grasped the enormity of its cosmic weirdness. Now, if you insist on seeing this thing and want to preserve its marginal mystery value, read no further.
As you may know from the trailer, Lindsay Lohan, the once-promising actress now known as just so much tabloid fodder, stars as Aubrey Fleming, a hotshot high-school student with the requisite coterie of friends and the hunky jock boyfriend, Jerrod (played by 33-year-old Brian Geraghty, We Are Marshall). Aubrey’s kidnapped by a movie-style unknown madman, who takes her to what appears to be an autopsy table in a dank basement where he applies dry ice to her to induce frostbite in extremities various and sundry, and then amputates (sans anesthetic, of course) the damaged body parts with a—wait for it—special array of blue-glass surgical tools. Then one day Aubrey is found lying by the roadside minus her right hand and the bottom half of her right leg. Ah, but is it Aubrey?
When Aubrey regains consciousness she claims to be Dakota Moss, an itinerant pole dancer of easy virtue who appears incapable of constructing a sentence without some permutation of the f-word. She is not, she says, the upper-middle-class daughter of Daniel (Neal McDonough, The Hitcher) and Susan Fleming (Julia Ormond, Inland Empire), but rather the spawn of a dead crackhead (played as a decomposing corpse by Tracey Evans, who perhaps finds this a step up from previous roles as “Woman No. 1” and “Restaurant Customer” in movies I’ve never heard of). To support this revelation, we are given glimpses of Dakota’s life as a pole-dance specialist—all of which take place in a kind of bargain-basement, David Lynch world—throughout the film.
But Dakota’s DNA matches Aubrey’s, and more, Aubrey had written a story about the exact character of Dakota Moss, so obviously Aubrey is merely delusional. Or is she? Did her middle finger really turn black and split open in the shower as she insists (we see it), and did it indeed fall off in the middle of a pole dance (we see that, too), and did she laboriously sew the blackened digit back on in her dressing room (yes, we see it happen)? Believe it or not, seeing is believing.
How is this possible? Well, Aubrey and Dakota are “stigmatic twins.” Internet research (you gotta love it) leads to a video link to a lecture by no less an authority than Art Bell (yes, the Art Bell) that reveals that “stigmatic twins” suffer whatever evil befalls the other. Therefore, Aubrey must still be at the mercy of the crazed killer or else Dakota would be dead, too. Now, how is any of this possible? Well, seems that at the same time that Aubrey’s mom had a stillborn child, the junkie down the hall gave birth to twins and good old dad bought one of them (Aubrey) and pulled the old Omen switcheroo on his wife. (Presumably screenwriter Jeffrey Hammond thought that having the birth mother turn out to be a jackal would have made the whole thing unbelievable.) The question then becomes whether or not dad and Dakota can get to Aubrey in time. That part, I’ll leave unresolved, except to note that the robotic Darth Vader hand that the hospital fixed Dakota up with earlier comes in mighty useful.
As screwy as all this is, it compounds its sins by never even making marginal sense. Characters appear and disappear at will. What becomes of the boyfriend after he helps Dakota sneak out to visit the bereaved parents of another victim? Where is mom during the climactic scenes? Just who is the madman? It appears that he’s (maybe) Aubrey’s music teacher, but he also seems to be a glass blower, glass sculptor, stained-glass artisan and collector of prosthetic legs, but who is he really and why is he doing this? Even assuming we buy into the idea that Dakota sewed her finger back on, are we also supposed to believe she sewed up her wrist after the hand dropped off? And what about the leg? Can you wonder that I said “Wow!” about all of this?
If anyone still cares, Lohan is credible enough as Aubrey, but her foul-mouthed Dakota is just silly. Every time she spouts the f-word, it’s hard not to imagine Beavis and Butthead chortling and remarking, “She said f**k.” As concerns her pole dancing, it’s simply embarrassing, and her coy sex scene is no better. (Was Lindsay’s mom on the set screaming, “Keep that bra on!” and “Pull that sheet up!”?) That Lohan was arrested for her real-life antics just prior to the film’s release and therefore unable to appear on TV to plug it, may well have been a blessing in disguise. Rated R for grisly violence, including torture and disturbing gory images, and for sexuality, nudity and language.