Sorority Row

aire (Jamie Chung, "Dragonball Evolution"), the Ethnic Exception; Ellie (Rumer Willis, "The House Bunny"), the Sensitive Smart Girl; and Cassidy (Briana Evigan, "Step Up 2: The Streets"), the Rational, Conscientious Brunette.

The dispensable fifth wheel is Megan (Audrina Patridge, TV's "The Hills"), who is knocked off during an elaborate prank engineered by Jessica to teach Garrett (Matt O'Leary, "Live Free or Die Hard") a lesson about who's in charge of what. If you saw the movie's trailer, you know Megan is stabbed through the chest with a tire iron. Faced with a really dead girl, her crew decides to avoid ruining their own futures by dumping her body in a nearby mine shaft.

Fast-forward eight months and our young ladies are graduating from college, poised to embark on lucrative careers as trophy wives. They have all kept the secret of what happened to Megan. Or have they?

Again, if you saw the trailer, you know someone in a "Scream" robe without the "Scream" mask shows up with a tricked-out tire iron and starts killing off Megan's cabal, beginning with the Slutty Slut, the obvious choice of any distinguishing horror-movie serial killer. Cassidy, in true Conscientious Brunette fashion, sticks to her rational guns until she figures out who's behind it.

It's obvious that director Stewart Hendler ("Whisper") is having fun. Unfortunately, it's more with himself than with the audience. The killings "? which are generally the centerpiece of any slasher-style film "? are uninspired and, for the most part, predictable. The characters are flat, but oddly not flat enough. For example, we start out hating the Blonde Bitchy Bitch, but by the time she buys the proverbial farm, she doesn't seem that bad. We don't like her enough to feel bad about her having her hubcaps popped, but at the same time, the joy that can come with seeing a character you hate get it just isn't there.

This is one of those movies that keeps you guessing about who the killer is but, when you find out, it doesn't make any sense. A good mystery gives clues you don't recognize at the time, but which make sense in retrospect. The "Sorority Row" killer is conjured out of nothing, and his or her motivation has almost nothing to do with even abnormal human psychology. One comes away feeling cheated, but only slightly; the whole thing is so shrug-worthy that it's not worth feeling outraged.

"?Mike Robertson