Back to School Part II #55: Sorority Nightmare (dir by Devon Downs and Kenny Gage)


(For the past three weeks, Lisa Marie has been in the process of reviewing 56 back to school films!  She’s promised the rest of the TSL staff that this project will finally wrap up by the end of today, so that she can devote her time to helping to prepare the site for its annual October horrorthon!  Will she make it or will she fail, lose her administrator privileges, and end up writing listicles for Buzzfeed?  Keep reading the site to find out!)

sorority-nightmare

When I was going to college, I was actually encouraged by quite a few people to join a sorority but I never did.  What can I say?  I fancied myself as being an artist and an intellectual.  I had no interest in conformity and, to me, that’s what sororities and fraternities represented.  Why would I want to waste my time with that when I could spend my time writing poems about death?  (Add to that, why go through all the trouble of joining a sorority when I knew I could get into all the good parties, regardless of whether I was a member of one or not?)

Seriously!

So, I made my decision to never get involved in any of that and I think I probably made the right choice for me.  But occasionally, I’ll see a film on Lifetime that will make me change my mind.  It seems that every year, there’s a few dozen Lifetime movies that are about something strange happening in a sorority.  In the world of Lifetime, sororities are full of dark secrets, constant melodrama, and, more often than not, a murder or two.   Lifetime makes sorority life look … well, if not exactly fun, at least entertaining!

Consider for instance, the film Sorority Nightmare!  Sorority Nightmare aired on July 21st and, in the best Lifetime tradition, it totally lives up to its name.  All you need to know about Sorority Nightmare is right there in the title.  It deals with a sorority and, oh my God, is this place ever a nightmare!  (According to the imdb, the film’s non-Lifetime title is Twisted Sisters.  That’s a good title because these sorority sisters sure are twisted!)

As the start of the film, first-year college student Sarah (Sierra McCormick) is a lot like me.  She’s an intellectual, a free thinker.  She’s not really interested in being a part of a sorority.  She’d rather hang out with her snarky roommate, Jodi (Sarah Kapner).  Add to that, Sarah still blames herself for the death of her older sister, Jill.  Jill was driving Sarah home after Sarah got too drunk at a party.  When Jill attempted to pose for a selfie while driving, she ended up crashing the car and dying in the process.  Sarah survived but, for obvious reasons, she’s no longer interested in getting drunk at parties.

But, her mother was a member of Psi Kappa and she insists that Sarah actually check the place out.  And since Sarah is a legacy, she’s asked to pledge.  Even though it means losing whatever credibility she may have with Jodi, Sarah decides to join.

It quickly turns out that Psi Kappa is more of a cult than a sorority.  The cult is led by Daisy (Cassidy Gifford), who is friendly, perky, intense, and more than a little frightening.  Daisy not only decides that Sarah is her new best friend but she also suggests that maybe Sarah shouldn’t have any other friends.  When Daisy isn’t trying to control everyone’s lives, she busy popping what she says are breath mints but are actually “diet pills.”

OH MY GOD, DAISY’S A SPEED FREAK!

Anyway, Sorority Nightmare pretty much plays out exactly how you would expect it to but that doesn’t matter.  As played by Cassidy Gifford, Daisy is literally a force of nature.  She’s a nonstop tornado of manipulation and malicousness and it’s a lot of fun to watch.  Sorority Nightmare is one of those wonderfully over the top Lifetime films where it’s obvious that the cast and the crew is in on the joke.  Sit back, don’t worry, and enjoy the melodrama!

Film Review: The Preppie Connection (dir by Joseph Castelo)


The_Preppie_Connection_Poster

The Preppie Connection, which is currently playing On Demand and in limited release, has got a 0% rating at Rotten Tomatoes.  That seems a little bit harsh to me.  I mean, The Preppie Connection isn’t exactly a good movie but it’s still not a disaster.  It’s main sin is that it’s generic and forgettable and squanders a potentially interesting story.  That’s definitely not a good thing but still, The Preppie Connection is still better than some of the other films that currently have a zero score on Rotten Tomatoes.  The Preppie Connection may not be great but it’s still better than Bucky Larson: Born To Be A Star and A Thousand Words.

0%?

Not hardly.

More like 25%.

Anyway, The Preppie Connection is apparently based on a true story.  Tobias Hammel (Thomas Mann) is a poor kid who wins a scholarship to an exclusive private school.  At first, Tobias struggles to fit in.  He doesn’t know how to relate to his wealthy classmates and he’s embarrassed when his friends from the old neighborhood show up on campus.  When he is instructed to sign a 200 year-old book, he accidentally knocks the book to the floor.  As a result, the other students beat him up.

Fortunately, for Tobias, everyone assumes that — since he’s poor — he’ll be able to get them drugs.  At first, everyone is satisfied with weed but, since this movie is taking place in the 80s, everyone soon starts to pressure Tobias to get them cocaine.  Fortunately (and conveniently), Tobias has befriended the son of the Colombian ambassador.  Soon, Tobias is making regular trips to Colombia and returning with bags of cocaine hidden away in his travel bag.

Usually, I love films about wealthy drug addicts.  There’s usually a few good scenes of drug-fueled decadence and, since they’re rich, everyone’s usually dressed nicely.  But no… sorry.  The Preppie Connection just doesn’t work.  Visually, the film is flat and, even worse, it appears that the budget was too low to be able to afford the rights to any period music.  I was hoping to hear at least a few classic 80s songs but instead, the film only offered some generic synthesizer-fueled music.

Speaking of generic, Thomas Mann narrates nearly the entire film and it’s some of the most vapid narration that I’ve ever heard.  I mean, I understand that everyone loves Goodfellas and Casino but that doesn’t mean that every period gangster film has to feature nonstop narration.

Ultimately, The Preppie Connection is such an incredibly forgettable film that I really can’t even come up with more than 400 words to type about it.  That said, Logan Huffman and Lucy Fry both give good performances as two of Tobias’s customers and they’re good enough to bump the film up to at least a score of 25 out of 100.

Take that, Rotten Tomatoes.