Aggressively stupid and unforgivably vapid, The Row is a worthless entry into the sorority slasher subgenre.
Any tension to be found in The Row, Matty Beckerman’s new sorority slasher, comes from fretting that any of these insufferable oxygen thieves might survive until the final credits. Unfortunately, a couple of them do.
That’s in spite of the efforts of a local serial killer who’s chopping up the sisters of Phi Lambda and staging them to look like creepy mannequins. A lot of the characters look a bit like that before they become victims, but I digress.
The star of The Row is Riley Cole (Lala Kent), who arrives on the sun-bleached West Coast chaperoned by her absurdly buttoned-up detective father, played by none other than former two-time, two-division UFC champion, Randy “The Natural” Couture. He’s a natural at Greco-Roman wrestling, but not, apparently, at acting; he’s a slab of wood with stick-on cauliflower ears. (Don’t tell him I said that.)
Riley has a bubbly airhead bestie, Becks (Mia Rose Frampton), whose death I was longing for from the opening minutes. There’s a resident heartthrob, Carter (Dylan Sprayberry), whose objective is to sleep with every female in the state. (Have any of these girls ever seen a slasher movie? Get laid, get slayed, ladies.) Miller (Shea Buckner) is the obligatory handsome good-guy love interest, and Jennifer Titus plays the house mother, Nina, who lets slip that Riley’s mother, whom she knows next to nothing about, was once a member of the same sorority.
What The Row wants you to care about is whether Riley’s father will solve the campus murders before the killer turns on her; what I noticed, mostly, was that Miller’s character, if the script is to be believed, should be pushing forty. You’d think somebody in casting would have picked up on that, but it might be asking a bit much for even a basic level of competence here. And the screenplay – courtesy of Sarah Scougal – doesn’t seem as though it was subject to multiple drafts – or, for that matter, a cursory spellcheck.
Beyond the central whodunit – which anyone with a single solitary brain cell will decipher very early in the 85-minute runtime – all the appeal comes from boozy pool parties and the odd pair of ****. Unfortunately, though, they tend to be attached to morons. It sometimes seems as though The Row might have something moderately interesting to say about the legacy of ritualistic stupidity and hazing rituals, like Netflix’s Burning Sands, but then it doesn’t actually say anything interesting at all.
Jonathon is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has been Senior Editor and Chief Critic of the outlet since 2017.