Some cries for help are hard to hear. Hijacking someone else's SUV for a quick bout of road rage while loaded, with a bump of blow in your pocket for good luck is a fairly obvious way of saying, "Mommy and Daddy, I need you to love me."
Agreeing to appear in a quickie horror flick called I Know Who Killed Me is another, altogether subtler way of calling for your own intervention. If she hadn't already pounded the final nail in the coffin of her career earlier in the week by drunkenly terrorizing a former assistant and anyone else unfortunate enough to be using the Pacific Coast Highway, America's reigning Little Miss Fuck-Up, Lindsay Lohan, would've sealed the deal quite nicely with this chestnut.
When you're releasing a movie this bad, anything you do to divert attention away from it could only be considered a good thing. Rare is the film that so beautifully dovetails with its star's personal life Louise Brooks did it with Pandora's Box, but then, so did Mariah Carey in Glitter and pop-culture ironists will have a field day with this one for years. From the moment blood starts dripping down the stripper's pole in the opening sequence, you get the feeling we've come full-circle: I Know is basically The Parent Trap '07, but with amputated twin whores, amphetamines and serial torture replacing all the sweetness and light. In fact, watching this inept, dull, thoroughly un-scary film is itself a sort of serial torture; just like the police-appointed shrink who treats her character in the movie, after a while, you want to take Lindsay aside and scrawl your diagnosis "DELUSIONAL" across her smiling mug shot.
Disposable teen horror the likes of which we haven't seen since 1998, I Know allows Lindsay the opportunity to do her patented good-girl-bad-girl routine, a feat that might be mildly impressive if the angel with the alcohol-monitoring anklet were at all distinguishable from the vacuum-nosed succubus anymore. Kidnapped, held captive and sliced to unrecognizable bits by a wayward member of the Blue Man Group, Lindsay's honor student Aubrey is left for dead by the side of the road, only to wake up in the hospital claiming to be Dakota Moss, the world's only steadily employed topless dancer who refuses to take off her bra. (One suspects that the fictional burgh of New Salem is actually located in British Columbia, where the disability exceptions are much more exacting.)
"When you're raised by a crack addict, the less people know about you, the better," Lohan's character scolds; fair enough, but how do you explain the doting mom (Julia Ormond) who shows up in your hospital room brandishing a teddy bear and muttering "It's Mr. Gervis!" And how do you make sense of all the flashbacks, flash-forwards, stories within stories, the pointless fades to blue, the Red Shoe Diaries sex scene with the school stud and the helpful Internet tutorial on sibling stigmata (hosted by a Leonard Nimoy look-alike) that takes up about 10 minutes of screen time? How, indeed? Forget the homage of Grindhouse: Drive-in exploitation is alive and well. I Know feels like it was scrawled on the back of a notebook during fifth-period detention, a quality also shared by the riotously bad, essentially similar Butterfly Effect. The difference is that director Chris Sivertson obviously thinks he's the Saw generation's answer to Hitchcock, David Lynch and Brian DePalma, a delusion of grandeur that makes the movie even more delectable to fans of camp cinema, Mystery Science Theater or just synergistic train-wrecks in general.
As for his star, pity can only take her so far. How much good will can an actor engender on the basis of one decent teen movie and a few endearingly vulnerable supporting parts? For someone so talented to be so downwardly mobile to aspire to the viral-celebutante ranks of Paris and Britney instead of trophy-hoarders like Meryl and Jodie might seem tragic at first, but much like her recent movies, it just gets wearying after a while. Liz Taylor, another beautiful disaster, at least had the good sense to date Hollywood power players while she self-destructed off-screen; when she flopped in front of an audience, she did so spectacularly, taking entire studios down with her. I Know Who Killed Me, on the other hand, feels more like the product of a poorly funded public-access cable station than a publicly traded corporation. The most charitable thing you can say about the film is that its howlingly bad dialogue seems, at least some of the time, to be intentionally so. To quote Lindsay's fictional parents: "We've done everything we can to keep this out of the press, but it's got to come out sooner or later!"
Michael Hastings writes about film for Metro Times. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.