July 23, 2011

Tamara (2005)

"Tamara, an unattractive girl, who is picked on by her peers returns after her death as a sexy seductress to exact revenge."

Years before "Jennifer's Body" came out (although I didn't even know of its existence until the same time), "Tamara" was a mainly Canadian production with a somewhat similar story and setting. The tagline, "Revenge has a killer body", on the Lionsgate DVD gives away the re-marketing of this film.

Once again a "teenage" girl is killed and comes back with supernatural powers to get revenge on her High School peers. There's nothing original about the story but it's done really well and the lead, Jenna Dewan, is almost as beautiful as Megan Fox except when she tries not to be.

A great source of amusement for me is that all of the teenagers are really in their twenties with Jenna Dewan and my lookalike Chad Faust being the oldest at twenty-five. Yes, I have a "celebrity lookalike" who resembles me when I was that age. Poor guy.

Chad Faust, no stranger to various Sci-Fi TV series, is also in another film where his character meets with a horrific fate, "Descent" (2007). Don't confuse it with "The Descent" (2005) about a bunch of butch women who encounter CHUDs as it's actually rather good. I'm not going to tell you anything about it as it's not a horror film per se but the ending is every heterosexual man's worst nightmare.

Anyway, there isn't much to "Tamara" other than the obvious set-ups to gain sympathy for the titular character at the start and the various set pieces of revenge later. If you've already seen "Carrie" (1976), "The Initiation of Sarah" (1978) and "Prom Night II" (1987), expect more of the same. The plot is also similar to "The House on Sorority Row" (1983) and "I Know What You Did Last Summer" (1997) in places. As you can tell from this list, nearly everything is cribbed from other genre movies. Even "Salem's Lot" (1979) gets an homage at one point.

Although "Tamara" is the epitome of derivative, the performances are pretty good and it doesn't feel like a knock-off of any other movies at all. One seemingly original scene involving two guys has been done before but I can't remember the name of the film that I saw it in. Suffice it to say that I watched part of a German film on "Kabel Eins" many years ago where a prostitute turned the tables on two of her clients in a similar manner. I've also read (yes, read!) that same scene again in Sergei Lukyanenko's (and Vladimir Vasilyev's) "Day Watch" novel. In the book, Alisa Donnikova, a witch, does the same thing as Tamara from this film who is, of course, also a witch. Given the date of the novel, it's just a coincidence but an interesting one nonetheless.

I've probably given away a few spoilers but since "Tamara" is five years old now and you can even buy it as part a four movie compilation from Wal-Mart for $5, I'm sure you've seen it by now anyway. If you watch the trailer above, you can say that you've seen most of it.

Just one piece of trivia before I wrap this up. Matthew Marsden who plays Tamara's crush, Bill Natolly, is actually a British actor most famous for starring in soaps such as "Emmerdale" and "Coronation Street" which are both set in the North of England. Seeing him in an American/Canadian horror movie years later is wonderfully surreal.

"Tamara" has a few gory moments and some of them are quite realistic but, like so many horror films in the last ten years, nothing here is going to shock or scare you in any way. For that final reason alone, I'm rating "Tamara" as slightly below average even though it's a very entertaining film which horror aficionados should watch just to spot all the copycat scenes.

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