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Tamara
2006 - R - 98 Mins.
Director: Jeremy Haft
Producer: Matt Milich
Written By: Jeffrey Reddick
Starring: Jenna Dewan, Matthew Marsden, Chad Faust, Gil Hacohen, Katie Stuart
Review by: Joe Rickey
Official Site: www.tamaramovie.com/
   
A socially-awkward girl accidentally killed during a prank returns as a femme fatale looking for revenge in Jeremy Haft's fantastical horror film written by Jeffrey Reddick of 'Final Destination' fame.

Tamara Riley (Jenna Dewan) has a miserable time just getting through the day. Her father (Chris Sigurdson) is a pedophile and an alcoholic who spies on her while she takes a shower and she is consistently picked on at school by brain-dead jocks with nothing better to do. Of course, her interest in witchcraft doesn't help matters.

The situation is made worse when her English teacher Mr. Natolly (Matthew Marsden) submits her revealing article about rampant steroid use on the football team to the school newspaper. It ends up as the frontpage story and the ridicule worsens and threatens to become physical. The aforementioned jocks plan a prank involving a hotel room, a camera, and what Tamara hopes will be a romantic tryst with her English teacher. Instead, she is humiliated as the jocks (along with the requisite A/V club member needed to provide the video camera) jump out and surprise her. She does the same to them when she goes berserk and begins attacking them. In the scuffle, she falls and hits her head on the sharp corner of a table and dies almost instantly. Predictably, the teens fear prison and decide the best idea is to bury her in the woods. Like the pets in 'Pet Semetary,' Tamara won't stay dead and comes back as one evil bitch with a score to settle. Can a film with such a generic premise still be successful in spite of itself? Yes they can but not in this case.

Given the title and premise, you might get the impression that the filmmakers are fans of Brian DePalma's 1976 classic 'Carrie' and I'm guessing you'd be right. Either that or Reddick wrote the screenplay a long time ago as a more overtly supernaturally-endowed homage and only now that he has achieved success with horror screenplays is it produced. All involved would have been better off had the script, like the title character, stayed buried.

Haft's film is tiresome at every turn. The film mixes supernatural witchcraftery akin to the stuff Piper Laurie obsessed over as the mother of Sissy Spacek in 'Carrie' with your typical stalk and slash plotting utilized by countless horror films. The witchcraft portion never works because it is so half-heartedly developed. Haft and Reddick seem to think it inherently cheesy so to mask that they basically avoid discussing it for more than a few moments at a time, if that. Instead, they leave most of it unexplained and give the viewer the responsibility of filling in the copious blanks such as how it works, why it only works sometimes, etc.

As for the "slasher" material, the film's idea of ingenuity is having two killers stalk a victim at the same time. These scenes do fair better than the others though because in them director Haft finally brings some life to the proceedings. An added plus is that we no longer have to listen to Reddick's mostly insipid dialogue.

In the end, it really doesn't matter what material they used because all of it is handled so poorly it wouldn't have mattered ; kind of like the film itself.
 
Movie Guru Rating
Bland, boring, inept. Forgettable. Bland, boring, inept. Forgettable.
  1.5 out of 5 stars

 
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