I Know Who Killed Me tells the story of Aubrey Fleming, a virginal high school senior who is preparing to leave for college in six months. Aubrey is multi-talented and excels at both writing and piano; however, her passion lies in the former rather than the latter. We see Aubrey reading one of her short stories aloud to her writing class. The story is entitled “Dakota” and tells the tale of a young, world-weary stripper who may be Aubrey’s alter-ego.
Life at school has been hectic, as one of the female students has gone missing and hasn’t shown up in weeks. One afternoon, the girl’s body turns up with several limbs missing, and the police immediately begin to investigate. Later that night after a football game, Aubrey leaves her circle of friends and searches for her boyfriend, Jared, through the large crowd. She is ultimately kidnapped by a vicious mad man, who tortures her by freezing her hands, fingers, and legs with a block of dry ice, before slicing them off with a collection of homemade torture devices fashioned out of thick jagged pieces of blue stained glass.
She goes missing for a few days, before a passerby finds her in a ditch on the side of the road, missing her hand and a leg. During her stay at the hospital, she claims that her name is “Dakota Moss” and that she has no idea who Aubrey is. Indeed, her parents are baffled, as Dakota is the polar opposite of their daughter in just about every way except her looks. Dakota tells her parents that she works as an exotic dancer and that her mother is a junkie, who overdosed on drugs. We see fragments of Dakota’s life in flashbacks as her story is revealed. It is unclear whether or not Aubrey is suffering from delusions or whether there is a deeper mystery at the heart of the situation. Soon, the doctors are able to restore her missing limbs by way of a robotic hand and a battery operated leg. With her mobility restored, Dakota sets out to solve this strange mystery by any means necessary.
Yes, the plot is admittedly ridiculous. Yes, Lindsay Lohan plays a one-armed, one-legged stripper. Yes, you may even toss your hands to the heavens in disbelief. I Know Who Killed Me is not a perfect film by any means, but it is consistently entertaining. This beautifully photographed curiosity is an affectionate homage to David Lynch, Brian DePalma, and last but not least, Dario Argento. Like most of Argento’s work, the film is extraordinarily colorful, with an absolutely ludicrous plot and dialogue. I Know Who Killed Me is heavy on mood and atmosphere, drenched in deep blues and reds, and is simply gorgeous – but the dialogue lands with a thud on more than one occasion, and several moments will provoke unintentional laughter. One such moment comes in the form of an incredibly awkward sex scene between Dakota and Jared. It is handled with such carelessness that it seems like it belongs in another film. However, if you can leave your brain at the door and give in to the insanity, I can guarantee that you will enjoy this fascinating film. The performances are hit and miss, although Lohan is quite good. Director Chris Sivertson proves that he is capable of delivering a visually stunning film, one that pays tribute to some of the best directors in the history of cinema. The award-winning score from Joel McNeely is excellent, calling to mind the work of Pino Donaggio.
Basically, if you were to throw Persona, Mulholland Drive, Suspiria, Dressed to Kill, and The Double Life of Veronique in a blender, you would most likely end up with I Know Who Killed Me. I firmly believe that this film deserves a second chance with audiences. It was never meant to be a masterpiece. It is what it is. I encourage you to seek it out for yourself and draw your own conclusions.