Within five minutes, I suspected the movie was a stinker; within 15 minutes, my suspicions were confirmed. Yet I stayed until the end of Sorority Row, a horrid pustule on the hind quarters of horror, filled with self-described bitches, sluts, and hos, and not enough Carrie Fisher with a shotgun. "Admit it, these are horrible people," one character says, describing the sisters of Theta Pi sorority who are the ostensible stars of the movie. And why would you want to hang out with horrible people for any more time than is absolutely necessary? So why didn't I walk out?
I have, in fact, walked out of movies before: at this year's SXSW, for example, I walked out of my third movie of the day within 15 minutes because I wasn't laughing at the comedy and had two more movies to see later that evening. I wasn't assigned to review it, but it sounded interesting; when it fell flat for me, I cut my losses and got some fresh air. I walked out of a shorts program at Fantastic Fest last year because I grew weary of viewing so much blood and too many disgusting images. And I've stomped out of non-fest flicks due to technical problems (i.e. poor projection and/or sound) and demanded my money back.
Somehow, though, the idea that I'd already been dumb enough to pay $9.50 on a Friday night to see the umpteenth flaccid remake of an 80s horror flick made me dig in my heels.
Sorority Row does have a few redeeming virtues, as Jeffrey M. Anderson generously pointed out. Its biggest sin is boredom: the sorority chicks are annoying rather than evil or truly bitchy, the "mystery" about the killer is yawn-inducing, the glimpses of nudity are random and fleeting at best. It was an exhausting, dispiriting experience.
About an hour into the movie, I was given the perfect opportunity to escape. Heavy thunderstorms in the area caused the projector to stop. Instead of the usual outraged cries and moans, the 50 or so people in the theater all yawned collectively. No one bolted, but no one stomped their feet with eagerness to get the movie going again. Probably nearly everyone else was like me, horror fans who wanted to see a horror flick on a Friday night, and wondering whether Halloween 2 could really have been that much worse a choice, as one attendee loudly bemoaned ("Thanks for making me miss Michael!").
Why didn't I walk out then? Simple inertia and stubbornness, I think, and the knowledge that it was raining hard outside and that it would be a tough drive home no matter when I left. And the lack of anything better to do. And, I confess, the thought that I might be able to write about the experience and thus somehow redeem the time and money I'd wasted.
Sorority Row ends as it began: on notes of pure, unadulterated "seen that, been bored way too many times by that, you mean that's all you got?" When faced with a movie like this, have you ever walked out? Are there other reasons that you've walked out of movies? Did you ask for a refund?