In the early '90s, Showtime, in conjunction with Miramax's Dimension division and Lou Arkoff, the son of American International Pictures president Sam Arkoff, invited a handful of filmmakers to make low-budget films based on AIP's catalog of Eisenhower-era B-movies. The result was the Rebel Highway series, which Dimension has been slowly releasing on video ever since. The series opened with Robert Rodriguez's terrific Roadracers, which was followed by John McNaughton's disappointingly dreary Girls In Prison and now German director Uli Edel's Confessions Of A Sorority Girl. Loosely inspired by Roger Corman's 1957 film Sorority Girl, Girls stars Melrose Place veteran Jamie Luner as a privileged '50s-era sociopath who enrolls in a new college and immediately sets about destroying the lives of everyone around her, paying special attention to squeaky-clean, overachieving roommate Alyssa Milano. The film gets off to a rip-roaring start, with Edel (The Little Vampire, Body Of Evidence) and screenwriters Debra Hill (Halloween I, II, and VIII) and Gigi Vorgan taking wicked glee in orchestrating Luner's enjoyably mean-spirited antics. But the film goes quickly downhill from there, as Luner's behavior progresses from deliciously bitchy to merely mean and calculating. By the time Luner resorts to seducing Milano's boyfriend and a leering professor, Girls has lost its way, resembling less a campy, '50s-style B-movie than a Poison Ivy-style sleazefest dressed in period drag. Edel is largely to blame for the film's lifelessness, thanks both to his leaden touch and his static visual style. Equally damaging is the inclusion of a handful of dead-serious topics (rape, abortion), a move that feels creepy and incongruous in a film this inconsequential. Various extraneous subplots further slow Girls' pace to a funereal crawl, a fatal flaw for a film that promises B-movie thrills it never delivers.

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