Nightmares on Netflix: Tamara

“Sorry, Mrs. Natolly. Tamara wants you dead.” ~Patrick

What do you get when you mix a unattractive high school student, witchcraft and a terrible prank gone wrong? Well, I’ll tell you: a really mediocre (if not awful) mix of both Carrie and I Know What You Did Last Summer. Tamara was released in 2005 and was written by Jeffrey Reddick, who is credited as being the creator of The Final Destination film series.

I have to give a shout out to Chris and Laura for watching the movie with me, though now I feel bad for even suggesting it.

Movie Poster

Synposis:

Tamara Riley (Jenna Dewan) is the awkward girl in class. Either she would be the one you couldn’t remember or the one you constantly teased. Not only is her high school life filled with harassment, but at home things aren’t a lot better. Her mother is dead and her father is an alcoholic who is beginning to become a little too interested in his only daughter. Apparently, her mother dabbled in witchcraft and so to try and change her life around, Tamara turns to the supernatural for help. Did I mention that she’s in love with her English teacher? It’s kind of not surprising that she’d crush on the only person who’s nice to her, but when word gets around that she’s hot for teacher – that’s when things go bad.

It starts with an article written about the star athletes of the school using performance enhancing drugs. This leads to her rushing to Mister Notally (Matthew Marsden), the English teacher, for comfort. When he offers the young woman a sympathetic ear, she makes a move on him. Rejected, she rushes home and decides that casting a spell on him to make him fall in love with her is the best way to go about things. What’s worse? Kisha, The girlfriend of one of the athletes overhears Tamara and Mister Notally in their near intimate moment.

How could I love you? You're unattractive!

Enter the prank. Kisha, along with the athletes and a small group of other students set up a camera in a hotel room and invite Tamara (posing as the teacher) to begin their life together. Thinking the spell actually worked, she shows up only to be embarrassed when the joke is revealed to her and she’s been recorded near naked on film. A scuffle starts and accidentally Tamara ends up dead. Like all horror films, the group of teens decide that it’s best NOT to tell the police and bury her in the park.

You see where this is going? She rises from the dead, looking super smoking hot and vows revenge. Violence, bloodshed and gore ensues.

Zombies Never Looked So Good

Thoughts:

It’s so hard to take a film that is a practically a photocopy of a film that I really enjoyed. Stephen King’s Carrie actually explored what it was like to be the social outcast, whereas Tamara almost pokes fun at it. Like all of those teen movies about the ugly duckling becoming the swan with a short skirt and removal of glasses, this movie decided that to become powerful – to be able to get revenge on the people who killed her, she needed to become some sexualized siren? It’s never explained why and maybe that’s why it bothered me so much. She doesn’t use her sexuality to lure her victims, it’s magic that does the damage.

The acting is terrible. The entire cast is compiled of the obvious stereotypes. The lead was successful in playing the timid and shy nerd, but the moment she became the undead and sexy version, she totally lost me.

Love Me Now?

Her attempts of being seductive and persuasive rarely went beyond her swaying her hips or the actress making her voice seem a little more breathy. The script is predictable and dull. I could almost recite the response before the dialogue was even spoken.

Did I like anything? Some of the make-up and special effects were decent. The scene where the AV guy cuts off his ear, his tongue and then stabs himself in the eye (a see no, hear no, speak no evil sort of deal) was pretty gruesome and as a zombie, Tamara looked grim.

Verdict:

He couldn't stand the cheesy dialogue either

It’s so hard to recommend this movie. So, I won’t. If you want to see a film about teenage angst and a high school joke gone wrong, then I would recommend the films that this movie totally borrowed from: Carrie and I Know What You Did Last Summer (IKWYDLS). Carrie covers the struggling teen coming into womanhood, the sense of isolation in not being the popular girl and instead of making Carrie sexy at the end when she comes into her power, she simply goes insane and murders everyone. It’s more a more believable and thoughtful film. IKWYDLS, while it is all about the social stereotypes of teenage life, the acting is well above average (in thanks to actors like Sarah Michelle Gellar and Ryan Phillippe) and the script has some wit and playfulness about it.

Netflix Rating: ***
My Rating: *

3 stars? Really? When I log into my Netflix account, this film sits at a * 1/2 rating – but to think that people think that this is better than average proves that the horror genre is doomed.

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