Row, The Murder Mystery A Predictable Storyline
Row, The. Film Details
Director: Matty Beckerman
Writer: Sarah Scougal
Release Date: 27 July 2018 (USA)
Release Format: VOD
MPAA Rating: R
Running Time: 1 h 25min
A college freshman trying to get into a sorority discovers a dark secret about the house she’s pledging for after a series of murders terrorize the campus.
The Row, the latest release from Lionsgate encapsulates a murder mystery many horror enthusiasts will find familiar. The whodunit element presented in Sarah Scougal’s screenplay unfolds on a college campus and involves a sorority and a deep dark secret. The course of events parallels the approach given in the 2015 comedy, Horror series from creators Ian Brennan, Brad Falchuk, Ryan Murphy.
Yet, despite the familiar plotlines, Scougal takes a different tone and with the aid of Director Matty Beckerman, The Row has a strength of differentiating itself from the standard storytelling.
As an avid MMA enthusiast, it was exciting to hear former UFC world heavyweight, light heavyweight and now Hall of Famer Randy Couture was a part of the cast for The Row. Yet, there was apprehension most professional wrestlers and/or former MMA fighters don’t transition well into acting. Stale line deliveries and poor acting was a concern but that was not the case while watching The Row.
Couture presents a solid and convincing portrayal of Detective Cole, a man divided as a tough detective and a loving father. Actress Lala Kent also conveys a strong role as Cole’s daughter. The remarkable chemistry these main characters present trickles down to the supporting cast.
One downfall will have to be with the dialogue and its delivery of campy B-Movie lines that would make viewers cringe. They toss realism or a hint on actual breaching tactics used by law enforcement out the door. It is clear production did not introduce intricacies of securing targets and crime scenes for the performers.
The Row has a typical plot that entertains but astute viewers will figure out how ACT III will pan out. There are errors with the storyline and/or the development thereof. The unfortunate actions added to Detective Cole’s backstory felt random in contrast with the main focal point. Also, the mystery surrounding the murders had a weak foundation to stand on. There was much to expect from The Row, perhaps a darker tonality to separate this film from its related predecessors. Nevertheless, The Row attracts the viewer with its principal sub-plot, the one which unfolds in the final ACT.
Beckerman delivers well-choreographed camera shots with Jamie Barber contributing with a stylistic approach in cinematography. The scenes flow well and film editor Ethan Maniquis is to commend for piecing together a cohesive visual story. Practical effects are minimal yet compliment the tone of the film. With this production aspect, set designs and the kill scenes had a professional style in its craftsmanship.
The Row has strong points and few low points. While Matty Beckerman’s directorial work and Sarah Scougal’s story may not be a strong innovator, the overall product they deliver is commendable. The cast conveys adequate expression yet the dialogue in several scenes bears no sense of realistic tone. Couture and Kent take the spotlight in this film for their acting contribution. Viewers will not experience a psychological Thriller but The Row entertains the notion.