The Washington Post finds Lindsay "brilliant," but the thriller's box-office tanks

By Stephen M. Silverman
Updated July 28, 2007 01:05 PM

As the debate continues over what Lindsay Lohan‘s personal woes of the past week will mean to her career, the star’s new movie, I Know Who Killed Me, strongly divided the nation’s movie critics on Saturday – a day after it opened to the public with no advance press screenings by its studio.

While the Boston Globe found it “intensely unpleasant” and The New York Times considered it “pretentious and inane,” the movie received more than passing marks from The Washington Post, which called it “a credible piece of pop entertainment of the hottie-in-distress genre” and says, “Lohan brilliantly brings off her double turn.”

In the R-rated movie, Lohan plays small-town teen Aubrey Fleming, a good student who is kidnapped and tortured by a serial killer before she escapes. She then wakes up in a hospital as Dakota Moss, a stripper, while the real Aubrey still faces danger.

Still, despite The Post‘s approbation, the Associated Press only awarded the movie one star (out of a possible four), the Orlando Sentinel gave it one out of five (and called it “an unintentionally hilarious disaster”) and the New York Post gave it no stars whatsoever.

Just as bad were the Hollywood trade papers.

“Enduring this ponderous, convoluted thriller is pure torture,” summarized the Hollywood Reporter, adding: “You might, however, find yourself asking just what was Lohan – whose promising career already has taken a few hits with such films as Just My Luck and Georgia Rule – thinking when she signed on to this nonsense?”

Equally unmerciful was Variety, which said, “Much like the ongoing real-world meltdown of its troubled star, Lindsay Lohan, I Know Who Killed Me is a disaster that exerts a perverse fascination.”

As for its box-office prospects, the review says the picture “might possibly benefit … from tabloid coverage of Lohan’s ongoing travails. But, then again, probably not.”

Sure enough, from early indications Killing Me is not killing ’em at the movieplex. In its opening day – which was ruled by the new The SImpsons Movie – Lohan’s picture made only $1.3 million, putting it at No. 9 on the box-office chart. Reuters reports it will be lucky to finish the weekend with $5 million.