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Masters of Horror - Jenifer

episode 1.4

USA 2005
produced by
Stephen R. Brown (executive), Morris Berger (executive), John W.Hyde (executive), Mick Garris (executive), Keith Addis (executive), Andrew Deane (executive) for IDT Entertainment, Nice Guy Productions, Industry Entertainment/Showtime
directed by Dario Argento
starring Steven Weber, Carrie Fleming, Brenda James, Harris Allan, Beau Starr, Laurie Brunetti, Kevin Crofton, Julia Arkos, Jasmine Chan, Matt Garlick, Mark Acheson, Cynthia Garris, Jeffrey Ballard, Brad Mooney, Riley Ruckman, Jano Frandsen
screenplay by Steven Weber, based on the short story by Bruce Jones, music by Claudio Simonetti

tv-series
Masters of Horror

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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When cop Frank Spivey (Steven Weber) witnesses an obvious madman preparing to kill an all tied-up young woman, he sees no other alternative to shoot the man to prevent him from doing that. When he unties the girl, Jenifer (Carrie Fleming), he finds out she has a totally disfigured and thus ugly face and seems to be retarded ... yet he feels strangely drawn to her.

A few days later at the precinct, he learns that Jenifer has in the meantime been put into an insane asylum, but since he feels both pity and a strange attraction to her, Frank takes Jenifer home with him - much to the dismay of his wife (Brenda James), who is simply freaked out by creepy Jenifer. When he tries to find another home for Jenifer, Frank has no luck at all - which somehow leads to him and Jenifer having sex.

When Frank brings Jenifer home that night, his wife tells him that one of them has to go, she or Jenifer - half an hour later Frank's wife is gone.

A few days later, Frank finds out that Jenifer isn't quite the poor girl he has thought her to be when he finds her eating up the cute neighbour girl (Jasmine Chan). Eventually, Frank decides to have her abducted by a freak show promoter - with the only result that he finds the bodyparts of the dead promoter in the fridge the very next day.

With all these murders, Frank decides it is best to leave town to evade trouble, and settle in a hut in the deep forest where Jnifer can't get into trouble. And to earn a living, Frank takes up a menial job at a local deli, where he soon gets friendly with owner Rose (Cynthia Garris), a single parent who seems to need a man in the house ... however, what Frank doesn't know is that Jenifer is spying on him, and when he comes home one evening, he finds her eating the intestines of not-quite-dead Jack, the son of Rose, whom she has attacked out of jealousy.

Ultimately, Frank realizes there is only one solution to this problem, he has to kill Jenifer, and he goes about it just like the madman at the beginning of the film, he ties her up, drags her out in the open and swings his blade towards her, when he - just like the madman at the beginning of the film - is suddenly shot dead ... and Jenifer immediately finds herself drawn to her saviour, a hunter who just happened to come by ...

 

If you watch this Masters of Horror-episode expecting a masterpiece in the best Dario Argento-tradition, you will probably be mistaken, Jenifer completely lacks the personal style of Argento, and does not tell the type of story Argento tells in almost all of his movies (but with amazing variations).

However, if you can forget that this was done by Argento and take it for what it is - an hour-long episode of a TV-series - you will probably find yourself entertained. Not that the story isn't without its weaknesses, one can easily find several plotholes in this one actually and sometimes the characters actions lack motivation, but in all, Jenifer is an intelligent and well-crafted little shocker, maybe no masterpiece but pretty entertaining.

There is one thing though that really bothered me about Jenifer: If Jenifer is that kind of retarded character with beast-like instincts and behaviour, how come she always has such perfectly manicured fingernails ?

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
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a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner

 

Out now from
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On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD