Friday, August 25, 2017

#FromJennifer Shoots for Internet Fame and Finds Only Self-destruction: A Film Review

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*full disclosure: a screener of this film was provided by Sector 5 Films.

Director: Frank Merle.

Writers: James Cullen Bressack and Frank Merle.

Cast: Tony Todd, Derek Mears, Aaron Abrams, Meghan Deanna Smith and Danielle Taddei.

#FromJennifer is the third film in the series. This second sequel was preceded by To Jennifer (2013) and 2 Jennifer (2016). This latest production is from director Frank Merle and writer James Cullen Bressack. And, the series comes to a close with a tale of revenge and internet fame. Mostly comedic, a couple of horror veterans, Tony Todd (Candyman, 1992) and Derek Mears (Hatchet III, 2013) anchor the film. But, there are few scary moments here and more laughs. Meanwhile, Jennifer is her own hero and villain, sabotaging her path to success. The third act goes off the deep end. Still, #FromJennifer is an entertaining time, that goes by quite fast, even considering its short seventy-five minute runtime.

The story begins with our damaged hero. Played by Danielle Taddei, Jennifer has lost another role in a forgettable indie film. Meanwhile, her frenemy Stephanie is becoming successful, via a video stream. Stephanie (Meghan Deanna Smith) streams her entire, dull life onto the internet. Jennifer senses that this must be her own solution, especially after she has become famous, for all the wrong reasons. Her sex tape is all over the internet, after all. So, Jennifer turns towards a path of destruction, in order to find revenge. Any man who gets in her way soon finds himself deconstructed, in gruesome ways (mostly involving a hatchet). Jennifer never has any self-realization of her own self-defeating behaviours.

#FromJennifer is mostly a comedy. There is very little horror here, until the final act. Through Acts I & II, Jennifer is becoming triggered when she is called Jenny and not Jennifer. Jenny is a female donkey, dontcha know? Other comedic bits involve a strange interviewing process. Jennifer is hiring a bodyguard, to help her rob Stephanie. All sorts of weirdos show up. One guy even finds time to pleasure himself during the interview. Jennifer is undeterred. She is on a mission! Other comedic scenes involve online dating, a bit of GHB and a struggle out of a local bar. No one comes out the winner onscreen. Though, viewers will find a laugh or two, in this indie outing.

Jennifer is both the protagonist and antagonist, in the film. Basically, she is her own worst enemy. Instead of learning from her rejections and failures, she doubles-down on more poor decisions. Who lets their boyfriend or girlfriend film them during an intimate encounter, anyways? One bad choice could lead to an eternity of internet infamy. But, Jennifer is not done there. She continues to sabotage herself by robbing her friend, hiring a social anxious goon (Mears), lying to a police detective (Trae Ireland), murdering a few strangers and filming all of her own misdeeds. Jennifer wants to be stopped; it is just a matter of when her defeatist ways come to an end, probably by her own hand.

This viewer just had a few critiques for the film. #FromJennifer is quite short at seventy-five minutes and third act takes the film off the rails. In the film's defence, this title does go by at a quick pace. After watching #FromJennifer a couple of times, this title clips along, at pace. There is always something happening onscreen. Still, this title is over, before you know it. Also, Act III takes a strange turn. Jennifer turns into a bit of a feminist, in the final few moments. Outraged at her previous boyfriend's betrayal, she takes out her anger on a few, lonely strangers. She has met them through the interwebs. But, they will not leave the film alive. Would it not have been more efficient to have targeted her evil boyfriend, from the get-go? Still, there is a castration scene to get through as Jennifer prattles on, about men and mens' magazines. Meanwhile hardly a male character survives the film. Jennifer could have used a bit more self-reflection to understand that the problem is not men, but her.

Sector 5 will release #FromJennifer this September 26th, through Video-on-demand. Uninitiated with the first two films, this critic enjoyed this third film in the series. There is a laugh to be had here and there. Also, it was entertaining to see Mears in a lumberjack outfit, awkwardly hacking away at characters. Tony Todd puts in a great performance here, as well as a corrupt casting manager. The character Jennifer struggle to find her purpose, though. In the end, #FromJennifer develops the story quickly and ends quickly too. Focusing on comedic elements, #FromJennifer will entertain most indie horror and comedic fans. Just don't expect Jennifer to turn around from her path of destruction and definitely do not call her Jenny!

Overall: 6.75 out of 10.

The first film, To Jennifer, at Amazon - via VOD:

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