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Reviews by Dr. Frank Swietek   

TAMARA 
D- 
Producer  Danny Fisher, Chris Sievernich, Matt Milich and Martin Wiley 
Director  Jeremy Haft 
Writer  Jeffrey Riddick 
Starring Jenna Dewan  Matthew Marsden  Chad Faust  Gil Hacohen  Katie Stuart 
Claudette Mink  Melissa Elias  Chris Sigurdson   
Studio  Lions Gate Films 
Review  A movie made by people who have obviously watched “Carrie” too many times, “Tamara” is about a mousy, put-upon high school student who turns the tables on her victimizers. But she’s not telekinetic; she’s just Tamara the Teen-Age Witch, who--after being accidentally killed and buried by a bunch of her classmates--comes back as a high-heeled hussy and launches vengeful hypnotic spells against not only the killers, but also the wife of the teacher she’s infatuated with. And the brutal parent on the receiving end of her wrath isn’t a Jesus-obsessed mother but an abusive, alcoholic father.

This is a really dumb, derivative rip-off, slovenly constructed and played with the sort of ludicrous earnestness that just misses being bad enough to qualify as high camp. The acting is terrible--especially by Jenna Dewan, as Tamara, whose withdrawn shtick in the first reels is masterful compared to her extravagantly shrill act after the transformation; appropriately, she reaches a level of almost transcendental awfulness near the close, when she’s striding down hospital hallways in a blinding red dress, at one memorable moment taking hold of a hatchet (a picture that rightly adorns the poster). Along the way the corpses pile up, accompanied by an orgy of cheap-jack gore effects (severed ears, punctured necks and eyes). In the most memorable instances a couple of jocks are forced to have sex together (nothing explicit is shown, which is probably a good thing in that the two young actors are so amateurish they’re not even persuasive as jocks and could never manage convincing sex), and another lad almost gets his face pushed into a vat of boiling grease (his attacker doesn’t succeed, perhaps because the makeup department couldn’t afford the budget for disfigurement).

Sometimes movies of this sort can be fun because while they follow formula, they do so with some style and energy. But this one is so clunky that it delivers neither shocks, nor chills, nor affectionate laughs. For the record, it was written by Jeffrey Riddick and directed by Jeremy Haft.

You needn’t remember those names. And as for the movie, you needn’t watch it today or--with deepest apologies for doing this to you--tamara.  

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