Tamara (2005)

Directed By: Jeremy Haft
Written By: Jeffrey Reddick
Starring: Jenna Dewan
  Katie Stuart
  Chad Faust
  Matthew Marsden

Tamara is a lonely, introverted, dowdy high schooler who is regularly picked on and has an unrequited crush on Mr. Natolly, her English teacher. Her drunken Father abuses her and her Mother is dead but before she died, she managed to instil a love of witchcraft in Tamara which she uses to attempt a love spell on her married teacher. When her classmates cruelly call her, pretending to be him, they arrange a tryst between the two in a seedy Motel room, and use the opportunity to bully her further. The teens accidentally end up killing Tamara and they bury her body in the woods, agreeing that none of them will breathe a word of the incident after that night. On Monday morning, thinking that they literally got away with murder, they’re more than a little surprised when Tamara walks into class, looking better than ever and with a newfound confidence. Could her experimentation with dark magic be the key to it all?

Although the script is pretty horrifying and the acting is expectedly bad, this is a straight-to-DVD B-movie after all, there are actually some impressively imaginative ideas in Tamara that save it from being utterly forgettable. When she returns from the dead to wreak her revenge, some of the resulting deaths are gleefully gory and unexpectedly inventive. From the boy who is beguiled into cutting off parts of his own face in front of an aghast audience to the girl who literally pukes up her internal organs to the man hypnotized into chewing on glass bottles until his oesophagus is so torn up he dies from blood loss, there’s a massive array of interesting kills going on. The budget never allows for them to look as good as they should but the clever ideas are definitely present and correct.

As the lead, Jenna Dewan can’t really act for toffee, she manages to look frumpy at the beginning and suitably bewitching after her transformation but that’s where her talents end. She’s still just about able to carry the film although none of her cohorts manage to rival her in the acting stakes.

There are several points in the movie that will no doubt cause any intelligent movie-goer to question the intellect of the films writers. For example, in an abandoned Hospital kitchen, at night, why is the room unlocked, why are there knives hanging from the ceiling and why is the deep fat fryer bubbling over with red-hot oil? Incidences like that one are a little insulting.

Continuity errors and discrepancies in common sense and physics aside, Tamara has a subtle sense of humour and some nice, if insubstantial, ideas at its heart but it suffers from a lazy and anti-climactic conclusion which manages to erase some of the good that came before it. The titular character might be an attractive prospect to some but alas, the movie itself isn’t.

Rating: ★★★★☆☆☆☆☆☆

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