The most shocking thing about this ludicrous serial-killer shocker, released the week troubled 21-year-old former child star Lindsay Lohan was arrested on DUI and cocaine-possession charges, is that it's the kind of film actresses generally make when their careers are well and truly on the skids.
Smart, multitalented college student Aubrey Fleming (Lohan) has lived something close to a perfect life in upscale New Salem, adored by her parents, Susan and Daniel (Julia Ormond, Neal McDonough), respected by her peers, and loved by gentle jock Jerrod (Brian Geraghty). A gifted pianist, Aubrey prefers to channel her talents into writing, turning out creepy stories about a lost girl haunted by the feeling that she's only "half a person." So when Aubrey vanishes on the way to a movie date with Jerrod and two girlfriends, the town police not only jump all over the case but welcome FBI intervention — having recently unearthed the tortured corpse of another local golden girl named Jennifer Toland, they're terrified that they may have a sadistic serial killer on their hands. Weeks pass and there's no sign of Aubrey, until a motorist finds a young woman half dead by the roadside, her right forearm and leg grotesquely amputated. Aubrey's loved ones breathe a sigh of relief until the young woman demands, "Who is Aubrey?" She swears her name is Dakota Moss, and claims she's the stripper daughter of a dead crack whore. Further investigation reveals that her birthday is the same as Aubrey's and she's a DNA ringer for the missing coed. But she holds fast to her story: She's not Aubrey, and she can't tell anyone anything about the torturer/killer because she never saw him.
Alert genre fans — especially those who've seen the direct-to-DVD Thora Birch vehicle DARK CORNERS (2006) — will figure out the twist a good half hour before screenwriter Jeffrey Hammond and director Chris Sivertson see fit to 'fess up; others may well have abandoned hope before then. But that's the least of what's wrong with this absurd crime picture, which is simultaneously nasty and painfully dull. Vague echoes of Lohan's dual role in THE PARENT TRAP (1998) only serve to spotlight her lackluster work in this formulaic thriller, which with any other star would have gone direct to video and vanished without a trace. leave a comment --Maitland McDonagh