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PopEntertainment.com > Reviews > Movie Reviews > Tamara

MOVIE REVIEWS

TAMARA (2006)

Starring Jenna Dewan, Matthew Marsden, Chad Faust, Gil Hacohen, Claudette Mink, Melissa Elias, Katie Stuart and Chris Sigurdson.

Screenplay by Jeffrey Reddick.

Directed by Jeremy Haft.

Distributed by City Lights Entertainment and Lion's Gate Films.  91 minutes.  Rated R.

Tamara

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 hell?

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 people's weaknesses.

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.  (2/06)

Jay S. Jacobs

Copyright ©2006   PopEntertainment.com.  All rights reserved.  Posted: February 3, 2006.

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Copyright ©2006   PopEntertainment.com.  All rights reserved.  Posted: February 3, 2006.