Tamara was supposed
to be a straight-to-video release, however good word of mouth about the film
and its gorgeous star (former dancer/model Jenna Dewan) on the internet has
created a buzz so Tamara is getting a wide theatrical release.
For the most part, the flick
deserves this opportunity. It tells the story of Tamara, a poor, ugly
tortured high school girl who is dabbling in witchcraft.
While Dewan does a very good
job of acting the role of a mousy loser, it takes more than a bad hairdo
with goofy bangs in her face and conservative schoolgirl clothes to make the audience
believe that anyone would find this gorgeous girl to be an ugly wallflower.
At least they avoided the urge to give her big clunky glasses.
When a prank played on her
by schoolmates goes horrifically wrong, the bullies believe that they have
killed the girl. However, after burying Tamara deep in the woods the
students are shocked when she shows up in class the next day -- with a great
new hairdo, a skin tight top which plays peek-a-boo with her bra, a
micro-mini and fuck-me pumps.
This leads to an interesting
conundrum for the students. What happened? How is she not dead?
Did they bury her alive? And if they did, mustn't she be angry as
In the meantime, Tamara
realizes that she has gotten the gift of mind-control, allowing her to use
people's own insecurities to destroy them, or even to just play with their
minds. Dewan has giddy fun in this, allowing herself to play the
character as giddily fascinated by her newfound powers. This leads to
an elaborate series of "suicides" and "accidents" which stem from the
After an extremely
intriguing first two acts, the movie sadly stumbles at the end into horror
film cliché mode. Suddenly we have lots of people running through
empty corridors, hiding behind things and stabbing each other.
Also, honestly, the end has
not nearly enough of Tamara -- the good and bad thing of her power is that
she doesn't physically commit the violence, which is fascinating in the
early going. However when you have lots of people running around a
strangely deserted hospital with sharp knives, Tamara's just seeming along
for the ride, causing the mayhem but off in the wings. Dewan is the
best selling point this film has and towards the end it seems like she's
like a supporting character in her own story.
This problem could have been
avoided two ways. First, they could have finally allowed Tamara to get
in on the mayhem. Or even better, they could have come up with a more
clever, less-expected climactic sequence that plays by the rules the rest of
the movie has established. It may have taken more work and imagination
on the part of screenwriter Jeffrey Reddick (Final Destination), but
it would have made a good film a potential classic.
Still, even though it ends
with a bit of a whimper (and, predictably, with the hint of a sequel),
Tamara is a surprisingly effective little genre film.
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Posted: February 3, 2006.