|REVIEW:"TO JENNIFER" is the latest genre offering from filmmaker James Cullen Bressack. Who also helmed "My Pure Joy", a slasherfest...and "Hate Crime". A more serious-toned, psychological home-invasion thriller/horror/drama. Now comes, ''TO JENNIFER". A movie which is a brave attempt at making what's already 'effed up'...'more effed up'. The story begins as youngster Joey (Pappas), believes his girlfriend Jennifer (Cameron) is cheating on him. To further test this theory, he summons his Cousin Steven (Cullen Bressack), and another friend named Martin (Barton)...to document his journey to see her. Steven's job? Make a video diary of the event as it unfolds.
While Martin is there to supply the props (party guests, girls, etc). This all starts as Joey trying to decide if Jennifer is screwing around on him or not. And escalates into Joey deciding he "is" gonna make the long trip to where she lives, and confront her about her cheating ways. This seems like it will end in heartbreak and disaster, most of these types of situations usually do. But are bloodshed? Even...MURDER? On tap as well? In "TO JENNIFER"...it seems that James Cullen Bressack wanted to blend all of his favorite genres together - ALONG WITH a horror movie. This pic has elements of road tripping, partying, guy-support-system....etc. Hell, a pair of prostitutes (one of which has a slight indentity crisis)...even make an appearance. All of the things you'd usually see in big-budget Hollywood comedy movies.
|Except, it's very obvious that "TO JENNIFER" is a small budget, indie effort. Which was the purpose all along. As the movie was originally filmed for the iPhone platform. So it truly was constructed, to be, and feel like a movie you can travel with, and take with you. I dug how that holw "vibe", was integrated into the movie. From the scene where Joey and his Cousin arrive in town via airplane. And await Martin to pick them up in his car. To a scene much later, involving the very same car which is used by Joey to finally make the drive to Jennifer's place. The film in that respect, feels like a road movie.|
|And er go, since it's meant to be watched on the iPhone platform, you can literally check this piece out while you're en route to wherever it is you are headed to. And whatever method of travel you're using. It's a smart, new way of creating a universe around an indie picture. The film itself does not start out, or possess strong elements of horror early on. In fact, this is the type of movie you see unfolding two ways. If you looked at the poster beforehand. But as the movie goes on, it seems like Joey is headed for a head-on collision with Jennifer.|
|His "heartbreak" is constantly documented by his cousin, and then Martin has a "small gathering" of people over to boost Joey's confidence prior to his trip to see Jennifer. And of course Steven documents all of this, egging the gathering attendees on to tell Jennifer how much she "sucks" for cheating on Joey. This movie smartly invokes the typical "male viewer" emotion towards a scenario like this. Especially because Joey comes off as a decent guy. But deep down, you know "something" bad...is gonna happen. And as the film progresses, and enters its third act. This is when you expect all sorts of things to happen. Like a mad, masked killer to show up.|
Or an angry neighbor to show up, and start picking people off because they weren't "keeping the noise down". Or perhaps "someone unseen" had been follwowing Joey and Steven all film long. And is waiting for the right time to strike? Well...something is amidst, but it never rears its ugly, psychotic, crazy head...until the very moment when it's "time to go see Jennifer". And when that moment arrives, the film teases its first reveal at what's really happening. Yet from there, the surprises KEEP COMING. Instead of tapering off, and leaving the viewer disappointed, dejected, and bored. The collection of clever-reveals, boosts the movies final act tremendously.
Not just because they really are shocking, but they're smartly done as well. And make you rethink EVERYTHING you thought or were thinking just 20 minutes earlier. Cullen Bressack then seals the viewers fate by taking the final act-conclusion...to a very, dark, and disturbing place. Which is where we finally get to see the often-mentioned JENNIFER (Cameron). In an ending which some will see as unfair and too ambiguous. But I saw as very twisted and nasty. "TO JENNIFER" is worth your time, just to see a film that delivers something fresh and different to a plot that could've taken any myriad of predictable exits to conclude its story. But instead, chose a much braver, and "effed up" direction.
|THE GOOD:This is not a "scary movie" in the normal vein. It's more a smart thriller with strong horror elements in its final act. But as for the twists and turns it takes to get there, you will be pleasantly surprised.
THE BAD:The "party" scene is pretty bad in the quality of women Martin manages to 'scrape together'. And there was also no music. An inside joke within the film perhaps?
OVERALL:Three and a half stars out of four.