Exactly ten years ago, Lindsay Lohan starred in one of the reasons she ceased to have a movie career. I Know Who Killed Me was painful at the time, but has only grown more baffling and preposterous as the years have passed.
Spoiler alert: I’m about to tell you everything about this movie. I mention this because watching I Know Who Killed Me with zero knowledge of it is such a literally astounding experience, you might want to experience that, spoiler-free, before you read this.
For those of you who wish to proceed, just know that I‘m not going to present the film’s storyline in the twisty-turny order it unfolds in. Instead, I’ll just tell you what you learn by the end, because getting rid of the non-linear structure of this movie really highlights its awfulness.
Ready? (You think you are, but you’re not — you couldn’t possibly be.)
Lindsay Lohan plays twins (like The Parent Trap! Only not at all!) who don’t know that they’re twins. Back in 1988, Daniel and Susan Fleming conceived a child. When their baby died “in the incubator,” Daniel strolled down the hall and decided to purchase a baby girl from a drug addict who’d just birthed twins “because she had one to spare.” (That’s an actual line.) Daniel never tells his wife, and they somehow manage to successfully wander out of the hospital with someone else’s un-treated crack baby without any staff noticing or stopping Susan to tell her that her own baby is dead. (What kind of hospital is this?!)
The Flemings name their new baby Aubrey. Across town, her twin (also presumably surviving without any medical intervention) is named Dakota. All grown up, Aubrey loves to play piano and write, and she won’t have sex with her boyfriend. On the flip side, Dakota is a stripper who curses a lot and smokes cigarettes. Somehow, despite never meeting, both girls have grown their hair into identical styles, down to cut, length and color, and maintained identical complexions and weights, despite their wildly differing lifestyles.
One night, Aubrey is kidnapped by a dude that has a thing for chopping off body parts. Once Aubrey is tied up, dude crushes and freezes Aubrey’s right hand before cutting off her middle finger. Across town, Dakota is working as a stripper. When she gets off stage, she pulls off her long red gloves to find that the middle finger of her right hand has fallen off. (No, really.) Naturally, she responds to this by taking the bus home (“Take an extra towel,” her boss generously offers) and attempting to sew her finger back on.
Later that night in bed, Dakota has bad dreams and wakes up in a pool of her own blood. She suddenly has a hunch she has a twin and decides that, now that she’s bleeding profusely, it’s a perfect time to head out and find her. Later, a random driver finds Dakota passed out in a ditch (we’re never told how she got there), and the cops (and everyone else) presume she is the still-missing Aubrey. After a spell in the hospital — where Darnell from My Name is Earl gives her a robotic hand and leg (YES!) — she goes home with her twin’s family.
Dakota can’t remember exactly what happened to her, but she tells everyone repeatedly that she is not Aubrey. No one believes her — not even the dude who bought a twin baby from a crackhead 19 years earlier! Slowly but surely, Dakota figures everything out by having a variety of psychic visions involving blue roses and ribbons, and going to Ask.com (of all places) to find out about “stigmatic twins.” This all magically gives Dakota the ability to know who Aubrey’s kidnapper is.
After confronting Aubrey’s dad about his baby-buying, the two head to the kidnapper’s house, Dakota manages to cut his hand clean off in, like, 30 seconds, using only a piece of glass, then Aubrey’s dad dies on a table for reasons that are never explained. Dakota kills the kidnapper by stabbing him in the neck.
After all of this, Dakota magically knows that her long lost twin is buried close-by, so she grabs a shovel, picks a spot, digs for a minute — miraculously unencumbered by her brand new bionic limbs — and finds Aubrey, buried under stained glass (fancy!), still alive and flawless despite a bit of a smudge in her freshly applied lipstick. Aubrey says absolutely nothing about the fact that her mirror image is looming over her, and Dakota just lies down next to her.
That — remarkably — is The End.
Please. By all means. Take a minute to digest.
Amazingly, I Know Who Killed Me is actually even worse when viewed in its natural state. The dialogue alone is bewilderingly awkward. Some samples:
One scene consists, in its entirety, of a cop saying: “I hope this investigation doesn’t interfere with bingo night.”
Immediately after having sex with Aubrey’s boyfriend, Dakota says, “My finger got cut off, but nobody did it. Who’s gonna believe that? Look at you — you don’t even believe it.”
Jared: “Yeah, I do.”
Dakota: “It’s because I f–ked you.”
Dakota, also to Jared: “It’s phantom limb pain. Maybe that’s why ghosts are restless. Because there’s nothing left of what they were, except for the pain.” (Dear. God.)
Dakota to the cops, after waking up in the hospital: “Fingers! Leg! Hand! Gone! I practically f–king died!”
When Dakota corners Aubrey’s kidnapper, he says: “Why aren’t you dead? I f–king buried you. Now I have to f–king do the whole thing all over again.”
The thing that really elevates I Know Who Killed Me to possible Worst Movie of All Time status is the fact that there are also weird, awkward elements that don’t contribute anything to the plot. For example, when Dakota and Jared have sex, the scene keeps panning to Aubrey’s mother, who can hear them humping while she’s cleaning the kitchen. Rather than retire to a different room in her massive house, Mrs. Fleming just scrubs the sink extra-frantically.
Then there’s this wholly unnecessary moment. Please note: sexy gardener doesn’t appear before or after this scene at all. This is his entire role, scorpion-tattoo-nipple and all:
None of this is aided by the fact that there isn’t one likable person in the entire movie. Aubrey is arrogant and entitled. Dakota is defensive and rude. Susan is a doormat. Daniel is a creep. The cops are idiots. Jared is in a perpetual state of arousal, but can’t make-out to save his life. There is literally nobody at all to root for in this thing.
I Know Who Killed Me is awful in such a plethora of ways, it should really have been elevated to cult status by now, à la The Room. While Lohan would probably prefer to leave it buried, like the body of Aubrey Fleming, I say we dig this thing up and never let it go.
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