The In Crowd

Directed by Mary Lambert
Starring: Lori Heuring, Susan Ward, Matthew Settle, Ethan Erickson, Nathan Bexton, Kim Murphy, Laurie Fortier, Daniel Hugh Kelly.
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for violence, sexuality, language and drug content.

Review by Matt Heffernan <matt@filmhead.com>
July 20, 2000

Fifteen years ago, The In Crowd would have been rated R, most certainly. It would also be much better (for a film of its genre) because they could lose the coy approach to sex and violence. These days, however, a film has to be rated PG-13 to be successful, and you just can't kill these kids off good and proper with that level of censorship.

This film "stars" Lori Heuring as Adrien, a troubled girl who is finally getting out of the psychiatric hospital (apparently the same one where Girl, Interrupted took place, all full of hot, crazy chicks). Dr. Henry Thompson (Daniel Hugh Kelly) gets her a job at Cliffmont Country Club, on the condition that she stay away from alcohol and drugs, which can make her even more crazy. Her job entails waiting on the rich kids who spend their summers there.

The head of the country club brats is Brittany Foster (Susan Ward), either because she has the most money or the largest breasts (I'm still not sure which). It seems that Adrien resembles Brittany's sister, Sandra, who allegedly took off with her trust fund two years ago, and hasn't been seen since. Brittany lets Adrien into the group, at the dismay of rich bitch Kelly (Laurie Fortier) and discarded co-worker Joanne (Kim Murphy), who could never hang out with the rich kids because she has the world's ugliest haircut. They both try to warn Adrien about Brittany, who probably has some devious scheme up her sleeve.

At least, that's what you're thinking for the uneventful first hour of this film. The trailers show all sorts of thrashing about, but it takes nearly an eternity of "character development" to get to it. Doesn't anybody know how to make a good teen exploitation film anymore? You can't put a bunch of no-name, little-talent kids on the screen and slog through a bunch of boring dialogue with nothing happening. Get into the kitchen, take a few knives, and let's make rich-kid salad!

Of course, you can't do that today. It's very important that the kids can come see this without dragging their parents to the theatre. Filmmakers have to create actual plots, themes, and suspense without any actual talent to do so. Plus, you can't get too intelligent, or you'll lose the audience. Now you're forcing people of mediocre intelligence and talent to dumb down their work. That's how a travesty like The In Crowd can be made. All you get is the silhouette of a breast, a few drops of blood, and endless chattering.

By the end of watching this tripe, I started thinking about Brittany's motivations. It was like a puzzle, really. I can't help over-analyzing the films I see, even ones like this. It proved to be a distraction while waiting for the film to end, which was similar to the end of The X-Men: nice and open for a sequel. I'm sure that The In Crowd 2 will have an auspicious debut on video. Now if you want to see how that film should be made, rent Sorority House Massacre 2 instead. Those were the good old days, when films were made for a purpose.


For more information, go to the Internet Movie Database:
The In Crowd (2000)

Here's some merchandise for sale at Amazon.com
The In Crowd (2000) -- DVD


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Review © 2000 Matt Heffernan