Review: Frank Merle’s #FromJennifer

I don’t think there’s any found footage franchises in horror right now besides this one. If there is, they might not be appealing to me because I can’t think of them. The Jennifer Saga is churning out a new installment every other year and what’s great about the team behind-the-scenes is they always manage to re-invent the central idea and they keep the production completely independent. That is enough for me to keep coming back movie after movie. The latest entry, #FromJennifer, is gearing up for its DVD and VOD release this summer and I’m excited to help get the word out about this title. If you were a fan of the first two flicks, you’re going to enjoy your experience with #FromJennifer as it’s more demented than ever before.

#FromJennifer feels akin to the previous two movies, mostly due to the continued collaboration between writer/director Frank Merle, executive producer James Cullen Bressack and producer Hunter Johnson. Yet this movie deviates from the previous path in terms of mood, which is a good thing. Again, this franchise succeeds based on its ability to adapt. The Jennifer Saga follows women named Jennifer who go crazy or  men who are infatuated with a woman named Jennifer and go insane. In #FromJennifer, an actress (Danielle Taddei) is dropped by her talent agent (Tony Todd – Candyman, Final Destination, Hatchet) and is desperate to get back in the public eye. After meeting with a social media celebrity (Meghan Deanna Smith) and a mentally unstable assistant (Derek Mears – Friday the 13th, The Hills Have Eyes), the actress decides to take a shot at reality television fame by recording her own sick adventures that ultimately end with murder and mayhem. Watch a good girl go bad in a feature film that goes from 0 to crazy in 10 minutes!

Aaron Abrams, Neil W. Garguilo, Trae Ireland, Travis Richardson, Kurt David Maloney, Ryan Marsico and Curtis Kingsley also star in this blood red talent pool. And can I just say that I think it’s amazing that a found footage, independent horror flick has Tony Todd and Derek Mears in it? Both actors are featured in a supporting role, so #FromJennifer isn’t a blink and you’ll miss them experience. Now, everyone knows Mr. Todd is an absolute boss and is an icon of fright, but #FromJennifer is cool because it gives Mr. Mears a spotlight to shine in that we haven’t seen him in yet. I was surprised to see he’s a very capable actor, too, and doesn’t only rely on his huge body structure to nab roles. Also, Danielle Taddei is a quirky little fire-ball and I welcome her to the world of horror! When #FromJennifer is examined from a production standpoint, I get it. It’s not going to appeal to everyone because, yes, it is more on the low budget side. You have to be a fan of good old hard work and ingenuity if you’re going to enjoy #FromJennifer. While it was produced, shot and edited to fit a specific look and fit in a specific budget, I think the story and the acting sells it much more than the quality of film.

#FromJennifer deviated from the other installments in the franchise because it goes in a slightly comedic route and adds themes and metaphors to the overall plot. Themes in scary movies? Unheard of! To start with the comedy aspect, #FromJennifer is as funny and relevant as it is utterly horrifying. There’s a lot of subtle, crude humor here and when things get bizarre, they’re really bizarre! This comes mostly from Danielle Taddei, whose performance of an aspiring actress going off the rails was just… insane. I couldn’t help but laugh out loud at some of the things she says, some of her screwball ideas, and her wacky on camera actions. I’m not sure if #FromJennifer was meant to come off this way, but that’s how I interpreted it. The career path of being pop culture relevant and internet famous is particularly current right now, as it seems every young woman would rather be known for a single explosive event, full frontal nudity or because of a large following of strangers. #FromJennifer explores this idea with the frustrating, all too common occurrence of the rival who gets the advantage over you without working half as hard. It makes Jennifer’s revenge that much sweeter if you’ve been in her place before.

Although I will say the almost-rape subplot was a little much. While the scenes showcased the full potential of crazy in Jennifer and it was carried out in a humorous way, I don’t think there’s ever a way to make that topic more welcoming. This may turn off a couple viewers, so be prepared!

Obsession and revenge never looked so good in Frank Merle’s #FromJennifer. It’s going to be a movie you’ll enjoy if you’re a found footage fan or if movies about a complete mental breakdown are up your alley. Did I mention this one has a pretty decent body count and a lot of gore, too? #FromJennifer ended up being my favorite film out of the three that have been produced so far and that saws a lot about it in general. The shtick’s not stale yet and I’m ready for the forth flick! Final Score: 7.25 out of 10.

Written by Michael Therkelsen

(Senior Editor)