Tamara (2005)

Tamara Riley (Jenna Dewan-Tatum) is the unpopular girl at school.  Frumpy and obsessed with witchcraft, she has also caused her school's sports team quite a bit of hassle after writing an article for the local paper about steroid use.  Her only allies are her English teacher Bill Natoly (Matthew Marsden), on whom she harbors quite a crush, and a female acquaintance named Chloe (Katie Stuart).  To top it off her home life largely involves avoiding the insults and occasional roaming hands of her alcoholic father (Chris Sigurdson).

Bill tries to do what he can to encourage and protect Tamara from jocks Shawn (Bryan Clarke) and Patrick (Gil Hacohen) and Shawn's girlfriend Kisha (Melissa Marie Elias), but decides to back off after Tamara mistakes his words of encouragement and tries to kiss him.  Kisha observes this, and with the help of AV club president Roger (Marc Devigne), the boys decide to throw a party as a thin disguise for luring Tamara to a hotel with the promise that Bill is going to leave his wife Alison (Claudette Mink) for her.  Of course, things go wrong once the truth is known, and Tamara ends up getting killed by accident during a struggle.  The group assembled for the party, including Chloe and her boyfriend Jesse (Chad Faust), decide against calling the cops and go for the "bury her in the woods" option.

Unknown to them, however, Tamara had previously cast a love spell to help her win Bill's affections.  When she bleeds after being killed, the spell is consummated and Tamara arrives at school the next day, in full mid-'00s slut gear, slinking around Bill and scaring the bejesus out of everyone else involved.  Then, as usual, the killing begins.

I see from the advertising that some of the creators of Final Destination were involved with this.  Strange, since this almost feels like a rough cut of a film.  The editing is harsh as well as the sound.  Many of the performances are deadpan, or lines delivered just wrong.  Add to that a mishmash of Carrie, I Know What You Did Last Summer and various teenage witch movies along with the fact that Tamara herself falls into the "Hollywood ugly" category, and the first half hour of this is teeters between face palming and a laugh riot.  Strangely, however, after Tamara's death the film suddenly picks up momentum.  It's like most of the first part was tacked on just to get it to current feature length.

Although it does have a number of digital effects (which more often than not are halfway convincing given the clunkiness of the rest of the film), the best gore scenes are good old practical effects - especially the death of roger, as he removes various parts of his body while the rest of the school watches dumbfounded.  There is a fair amount of tension, although the actors' performances don't necessarily get any better.  Unfortunately, the ending is predictable and not too satisfying.

Overall, a better script and a better director would have been beneficial, as this does have enough that if executed properly it could have been head and shoulders above most of the current horror crop.  As it is, it's not bad, but barely rises above mediocrity.

Tamara (2003)
Time: 98 minutes
Starring: Jenna Dewan-Tatum, Matthew Marsden, Katie Stuart, Melissa Marie Elias
Director: Jeremy Haft


Popular posts from this blog

Halloween Kills (2021)

Knives Out (2019)

Avatar (2009)