Monday, October 14, 2013

DVD Review: TO JENNIFER (2013)


Label: Psykik Junky Pictures
Region Code: 1 NTSC 

MPAA Rating: Unrated 
Duration: 76 Minutes 
Audio: English Dolby Digital 2.0
Director: James Cullen Bressack
Cast: Chuck Pappas, Jody Barton, James Cullen Bressack, Jessica Cameron, Maria Olsen, Tristan Risk

James Cullen Bressack the director of My Pure Joy (2011) returns with To Jennifer (2013), a new thriller shot on the iPhone 5, which is pretty awesome when you think about it, especially considering the quality of the end product in context of the narrative.

It's a rather simple idea, we have the rather sad, sort of pathetic, young man named Joey (Chick Pappas) who suspects his long distance girlfriend of two years, Jennifer, may be cheating on him. While most normal guys would just end the relationship Joey seems to wanna wallow in the sadness of it. To that end he enlists the help of his cousin Steven (Bressack) to film a video diary of sorts while he pursues the truth of her possible infidelity. Soon after they hop a plane and head towards wherever it is Jennifer lives. No sooner are the duo airborne when Joey's fear of flying causes a panic attack which gets them slapped onto the no-fly list, they're grounded. It's a fun scene, Steven just loves pushing Joey's buttons to illicit a reaction, his friend is already a bundle of nerves about the cheating girlfriend, Steven's a bit of jackass.

Grounded and without a car of their own they enlist the help of their dopes smoking friend Martin (Jody Barton) who has a car to drive them to Jennifer's. As things progress Steve and Matt come to the conclusion that Joey just needs to get laid, and they're probably right, but when his friends try to delay his sad pursuit he gets rather angry, you see him steadily lose his temper. At the start of the film he's a heart-broken sad sack, as his plan starts to waiver a bit he becomes super-annoyed and then you start to realize there's more to the story than just this girl cheating on him, perhaps he's not as sympathetic a character as you might have thought,  slowly you start to see the darkness creeping in and you just know something weird is about to happen.

The three make for believable friends, pretty sure these guys are buds outside of the film so it makes sense. Joey's pals in an attempt to get him laid stop off at a fleabag motel en route to Jennifer's, Martin leaves and returns with two whores, one of them packing a johnson underneath her skirt, this is when poor Joey completely loses his shit and snaps, resulting in Matt dropping out of sight. Driving Matt's car Joey eventually does make Jennifer's in person to confront her about hear cheating ways and unable to contain himself Joey does the unthinkable. 

To Jennifer (2013) was shot on no-budget on an iPhone 5 with a small cast of friends and what was probably a pretty thin script with a lot of ad-lib dialogue, and I gotta say it's pretty successful. The friendships feel authentic, as does the annoyance you feel towards friends, particularly with the obsessed Joey, whose determination to confront Jennifer troubles Martin and Steven but they just keep going with it for their friend. Pappas range as Joey who goes from sad to manic completely sells it. His pal Steven played by director Bressac is the comic relief offering a running commentary on the events as they unfold. As a character Matt the drug buddy is perhaps less successful in his role but he wins my heart for bringing a tranny whore to the party, gotta love it.

It's a bit of a slow-burn and seems padded for running time with stretches of not much happening but the fun dialogue exchanges, a tranny whore and jackassery keep things pushing forward until the duo reach Jennifer's, once there things go wrong pretty quick, I just think it stumbles a bit finding it's way towards that satisfying finale. Watching this I was reminded of the documentary Catfish (2010) and this sorta of goes where I thought that film would end, a fun ride that's part road trip, part mind trip. 3 Outta 5

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