This Lifetime Movie Is A Big 'Sorority Nightmare'

by Laura Rosenfeld

It's almost time to head back to school, and Lifetime has the perfect movie to get you in the spirit. Or rather, it'll probably make you hope to never step foot on a college campus again. Sorority Nightmare premieres Saturday, Aug. 6 at 8 p.m. ET on Lifetime, and as you can probably gather from the title, you're not going to want to pledge to this sisterhood. But did young women actually do so in real life? I really hope that Sorority Nightmare is not a true story.

Perhaps Sorority Nightmare 's synopsis, as provided by the website of the movie's studio MarVista Entertainment, will provide some clues into the matter:

Following the death of her sister, college freshman Sarah joins her mother’s former sorority—Psi Kappa Omega—in an attempt to cope. Presided over by Daisy, the chapter’s dazzling president, Psi Kap’s are the queens of the campus. Sarah becomes Daisy’s favorite pledge and is taken under her wing, allowing her to see how the sorority is run more like a ruthless business than a sisterhood. The girls maintain saintly appearances while promoting cutthroat seduction and destruction behind the scenes. Everything from the student body through administration is controlled with bribes and blackmail and Sarah can’t help but watch in horror as her world starts to crumble around her. Is she strong enough to take down Daisy and the house she’s built? Or will she come to understand the true meaning of the sorority motto: Psi Kap for life… Psi Kap ‘til death!

Well, there's nothing like "based on a true story" or "based on true events" in the above synopsis, which movies that are often do include. There's nothing else that suggests Sorority Nightmare, which has an alternate title of Twisted Sisters, is rooted in reality. So it seems likely that Sorority Nightmare is a work of fiction.

However, every once in a while, you hear about a sorority doing something scandalous or against the law, so who's to say that the creative team behind Sorority Nightmare didn't pick up some inspiration from real-life events, perhaps even subconsciously?

But if Sorority Nightmare still rings a bell for you, that's probably because it has the vibe of a few TV shows and movies that have come before it. Whether or not the creative team behind Sorority Nightmare was influenced by these works, fans of the film will probably enjoy seeking them out once its end credits roll.

One of those is a movie Lifetime aired just last year, Sorority Murder . Like Sorority Nightmare, this movie also features a combative sorority president. But she doesn't terrorize the members of her sorority for long since she ends up dead at a party. But there's just as much trouble for the bright-eyed and bushy-tailed pledge at the center of this movie as there is in Sorority Nightmare since she is framed for the murder and goes on the run from the police while trying to find who really killed the prez.

As you can see, when a movie involves a sorority, the subject matter often gets real dark, real quick. That's also the case with 1983's The House on Sorority Row and its 2009 remake Sorority Row, which, like Sorority Nightmare, also starts out with a death. This time, a sorority prank goes horribly wrong and ends with someone accidentally kicking the bucket. After the sisters try to cover up the murder, they are then stalked by a mysterious killer. Why do fictional sororities have to be so scary?

I'm still asking that same question with the TV movie Dying to Belong, too. Dying to Belong makes a legacy pledge a big part of the movie, just as Sorority Nightmare does. Something both movies also have in common is the fact that the members are forced to do unimaginably horrible tasks that ultimately culminate in one girl dying. It's the main protagonist's job to find out whodunnit and overcome obstacles everywhere she turns to do so.

Finally, how could I not mention Scream Queens, which set the contemporary standard for the on-screen portrayal of sororities since it premiered on FOX last fall? In this series, the sorority members killed and were killed. The tone of Scream Queens is campier and more lighthearted than Sorority Nightmare, but it's probably just as gruesome to watch.

All in all, here's hoping that as you watch Sorority Nightmare, it doesn't conjure up any memories of your college days.

Images: MarVista Entertainment; Giphy