December 25, 2011

Tamara (2005)

Directed by Jeremy Haft. Starring Jenna Dewan ("Tamara Riley"), Matthew Marsden ("Bill Natolly"), Chad Faust ("Jesse"), and Claudette Mink ("Alison Natolly"). Rated R.

Source: Region 1 DVD (Lionsgate)
Running time: 01:37:55
Country: USA, Canada

If you're a bully in high school, aside from growing the fuck up, you might wanna make sure the person you're picking on isn't dabbling in the black arts. Unfortunately for the obnoxious jocks in this film, the eponymous Tamara is a practitioner of black magic and full of the pent-up sexual frustration and teen angst that comes with the territory of being at the very bottom of the social pecking order. When an embarrassing prank turns fatal, Tamara somehow comes back from the dead and unleashes a supernatural smackdown on those involved, all while using her new-found confidence to seduce her married teacher, whom she fantasized about prior to her untimely death.

If you go into TAMARA expecting a supernatural high-school horror movie in the vein of CARRIE and the like, that's essentially what you're going to get, but it has enough entertaining moments and creative set-pieces to stand on its own. It's not to say that TAMARA isn't an incredibly cliched film; we get the convention where shit goes wrong for the pranksters and the ensuing moments moments where they stand around in a state of shock and vow to take their dark secret to their graves, as well as slow-motion shots of the "bad girl" walking through the hallways of her school to the sounds of annoying pop music. But, despite its flaws and unoriginality, TAMARA is surprisingly enjoyable.

A couple of noteworthy things that I found interesting about the film are the inclusion of two Final Girls and the methods of which Tamara goes about getting her revenge. Amidst the group of pranksters is the one sympathetic girl who's obviously going to be built up as the Final Girl. However, the incorporation of the aforementioned married teacher's wife into the plot results in a second Final Girl, which is something you don't normally see in horror films. Not only does the double threat of Final Girls work, but so does the extra plot thread involving Tamara and her desire to hook up with her teacher. As far as Tamara's reign of supernatural terror, her methods of payback, which include hypnosis, seduction, and turning the group of pranksters on each other to a certain extent, are extremely cruel and quite entertaining.

The highlight of the film, for me, is actress Jenna Dewan, who plays Tamara. She does a great job throughout and is believable while portraying both sides of her character: the ugly-duckling outcast and the sexy supernatural vixen. While TAMARA isn't bad, it's still one of those "why bother" kinda movies. If you've gone this long without seeing it, you're not missing much, but at the same time you won't be completely disappointed if you do come across it somehow.

Score: 6.5

1 comment:

  1. I really liked the ending of this one as she started rotting away. It was a nice touch.