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Film / Sorority Murder

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Left to right: Carly, Jennifer, Gabrielle

Sorority Murder is a 2015 Lifetime Movie of the Week Thriller, directed by Jesse James Miller and written by Bryan Dick.

Jennifer Taylor (Scarlett Byrne) is a freshman at Whittendale University, eager to study architecture and to escape the stress at home, where her mother Melissa (Sarah-Jane Redmond) struggles with alcoholism. At school, she catches the eye of the members of Beta Sigma Eta, a popular sorority. Beta Sig sister Alex (Nicole Muñoz) befriends Jen and invites her to join. Jen mingles with other sisters like Carly (Melissa Roxburgh), Natalie (Elise Gatien) and Gabrielle (Sarah Dugdale), but is wary of Breanne (Clare Filipow), the overbearing chapter president. After Jen gets in a fight with her at a party, Breanne's body is discovered outside the sorority house, fatally stabbed with one of Jen's X-Acto knives. Jen must now fight off suspicion that she's a murderer, as she also tries to rebuild her relationship with her mother, who's sworn off alcohol.


No relation to Sorority House Massacre, though this movie doesn't exactly slouch on the body count front.

Sorority Murder contains examples of:

  • Alcoholic Parent: Melissa literally misses seeing her daughter off to college because she's passed out drunk. After a few more bad incidents and having a Heel Realization about her bad relationship with Jen, she vows to reform.
  • All Guys Want Sorority Women: The Beta Sig girls party frequently with Whittendale's frats, and are also encouraged to pursue sexual shenanigans with them. This comes in handy for Jen because Darren already has experience sneaking into the house.
  • Almost Dead Guy: The Last Words of Alex, "the basement", give Jen a major clue as she investigates the murders.
  • Alpha Bitch: Breanne plays this role for the whole sorority, subjecting them to nasty verbal abuse.
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  • Asshole Victim: Breanne, as sorority president, is very much The Friend Nobody Likes, and, despite being horrified at a murder taking place at the house, most of the sisters aren't all that shaken up by her loss. At the climax Jen finds a video of Breanne engaging in extreme look-shaming and fat-shaming of the girls, with Carly as her main target, explaining Carly's motive for her murder.
  • Backstabbing the Alpha Bitch: An almost literal case with Breanne getting fatally stabbed.
  • Batman Gambit: Jen has been invited to join Beta Sig because Carly, Alex, Natalie and Gabrielle are going to murder Breanne, and plan to frame Jen. They do this by exploiting the tension between Breanne and Jen, committing several infractions against Jen that Jen thinks are Breanne's fault. After finally coercing Jen to get into a physical altercation with Breanne, they record video of it, then kill Breanne with Jen's knife, setting up physical evidence and an apparent motive that leads police to suspect Jen is the murderer.
  • Beta Bitch: Sorority vice president Carly is one for Breanne (so, Beta's Beta Bitch).
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: While it's not that surprising to Jen that Beta Bitch Carly might be trying to frame her for murder, she's shocked to find out that her friend Alex and the seemingly nice Natalie and Gabrielle were also in on the plot.
  • Clear My Name: Jen is the police's prime suspect from the beginning, and spends the second half of the story trying to prove her innocence.
  • The Dog Bites Back: Breanne is killed by several of her Beta Sig sisters in revenge for her bullying of them. In particular Carly's lack of respect from her despite being sorority vice president kicks the plot into high gear.
  • Eek, a Mouse!!: Jen and Alex find a dead rat under Alex's bed, which Jen immediately suspects was placed there by Breanne.
  • Evil Is Hammy: Alpha Bitch Breanne practically hisses her lines.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: Indeed, the movie centers on a murder (two murders, in fact) that happens in a sorority.
  • Gaslighting: Jen's early attempts to claim innocence are dismissed as attempts to throw her sisters under the bus.
  • Genki Girl: Alex is the most bubbly and friendly of the Beta Sig sisters.
  • How We Got Here: The movie opens with a quick shot in the woods of Jen dangling from a tree in a noose, then goes back two months, before closing back in the woods.
  • Initiation Ceremony: Jen gets one when she becomes a Beta Sig pledge.
  • Large and in Charge: Sorority president and VP Breanne and Carly are noticeably taller than the generally petite Beta Sig sisters.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Late to the stabbing of Breanne, Alex is horrified at the sight of her bloody body, and refuses Carly's invitation to add her own stab wounds to the mix.
  • Naïve Everygirl: Jen, who's reluctant to join a sorority in the first place, only to have Alex strongarm her into it.
  • Never Suicide: The climax has Carly, Gabrielle and Natalie take Jen to the woods and place a noose around her neck, to hang her and make it look like she killed herself to avoid getting arrested.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Breanne seems to have been inspired in part by Rebecca Martinson of Deranged Sorority Girl meme fame, with her verbal abuse of her sisters and berating them for not mingling with frat boys at parties.
  • Playing Drunk: Melissa does this at the climax, barging into the Beta Sig house looking for Jen, seeming to be wasted, to distract the sisters while Jen breaks into the basement to look for evidence.
  • Rear Window Investigation: After learning that she's going to be arrested for the murders, Jen escapes and goes back to the Beta Sig basement to find exculpatory evidence.
  • Rewatch Bonus: A lot of the early scenes make more sense once the murder plot gets explained.
    • At first, when Carly and some other sisters are sizing up the girls who attended Rush Week (and declaring Jen "perfect"), it just looks like they're talking about how well they'd fit in the sorority. Instead they're discussing potential patsies for the murder plot.
    • Also, while Breanne's dislike of Jen is genuine the plotters have been egging on the rivalry to make it appear that Jen would want her dead.
  • Sacrificial Lion: Breanne, after seeming to be set up as Jen's rival, suddenly gets killed. More shocking is Alex getting murdered.
  • Sir Not-Appearing-in-This-Trailer: The official trailer is entirely focused on the Beta Sig murder storyline and completely ignores Melissa, even though she has a huge chunk of screentime in the movie.
  • The One Guy: Jen's love interest Darren and Detective Clark are the only significant male characters.
  • There Is No Kill like Overkill: The Flashback to Breanne's murder shows her getting stabbed repeatedly by Carly, then Natalie, then Gabrielle, with Carly in particular jabbing her as much as possible.
  • Those Two Girls: Natalie and Gabrielle are hardly ever seen apart, leading to their Beta Sig nickname "The Twins".
  • Token Minority: Fiona, the only Black member of the sorority.
  • Tragic Villain: Most definitely the case for Alex, who seems like a genuinely good person who got in over her head as part of the plot against Breanne, and comes to genuinely regret the murder and her role in framing Jen. Carly might also count, after seeing how cruel Breanne was to her even though she was the vice president.
  • Tropaholics Anonymous: Melissa ends up enrolling in a twelve-step program to fight her alcoholism.
  • Two Lines, No Waiting: Jen and her struggles at the sorority are intercut with Melissa's struggles with drinking.
  • Voiceover Letter: We hear Alex's voice as she writes a confessional letter to Jen.
  • Where the Hell Is Springfield?: Whittendale University, frequently mentioned in Lifetime movies, is specifically said to be located in the (fictional) town of Whittendale, Vermont. This contradicts other movies that suggest it's in or near Los Angeles.
  • William Shakespeare: Not overt about it, but the murder of Breanne is staged much like the assassination of Julius Caesar, with several stabbers and the victim lured into a trap.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: When Alex decides to write a letter to Jen confessing that she was setting her up, Gabrielle and Natalie find out about it and kill her.