Director and writer Hunter Johnson deliver a very good, and funny horror sequel to executive producer James Cullen Bressack’s To Jennifer (2013), entitled 2 Jennifer, and just like its predecessor filmed on an iPhone, and the movie a real time found footage production mixed with a narrative storyline. In addition, the conceptual design of documentary style into a reality base, with a mission of understanding of frenetic energy into independent filmmakers and spiraling out of control with a delivery of input blurring lines of fantasy. This film truly captures the attention of a viewer, planting them firmly into their seat, to enjoy this production, released by Sector 5 Films.
The film starts with fan submitted reviews, which featured appearances from many people associated with the indie market, such as Christopher Jimenez from the website Sinful Celluloid, Dawna Lee Heising, including James Cullen Bressack ‘he won’t do a sequel but someone else can take over’. Now this movie does stand independently on its own, and therefore one is not required to see part one, as the film does fill enough of the backstory on the precious production. Hunter stars in the lead role of the production as Spencer, an obsessed fan of the Bressack’s film and the character of Jennifer, providing an interesting insight into the scary subculture of fans. The entire film has a reasonable expectation that it might happen in real life, and hence creating a chilling scenario that many stars deal with in their lives. The audience follows the ambitious director Spencer who informs his friend Mack (David Coupe) that he’s secured the green-light to make the sequel to Bressack’s famous film, and heading out to Los Angeles. Mack a little reluctant, goes on full board with the production, soon enough the story Spencer spins feels a tad off, for example, need to find an actress whose name actually is Jennifer. This leads to a comical standpoint, then to a twitchy exchange but it all feels natural, and until the plan begins unraveling, faster as the film winds down. One, must be careful in explaining, too much of a reveal will ruin the film for those yet to witness an original concept with frightening outcome potential. Mack lends a crutch to the audience, as the safety net for rational thinking, as he constantly questions his friend Spencer’s, exposing quirks and idiosyncrasies. The flick includes appearances from talented Felissa Rose (Sleepaway Camp), Veronica Ricci, Erin Marie Hogan all in the audition process, but Spencer’s Jennifer who wonderfully portrays the aspiring and eager actress Lara Jean Mummert (who later starred in Aaron Mento’s Ugly Sweater Party (2018), along with five co-stars of this movie) wins the role. During the film, Spencer uses the iPhone, to convey the point to document everything, and Mack retorts negatively with comment ‘no one will watch movie made with that device” referencing back to the first flick. Soon Jennifer reveals a great kernel of truth, she knows Jody (Jody Barton) who’s friends with Bressack later alluding to a special party which truly ramps the entire production into another gear and accelerates everyone’s attention, interest and awareness into strangeness and a bizarre avenue of conclusion.
An interesting aspect of the film, perhaps is overlooked by the general viewer, lies in the commitment of filmmakers in the independent market, and herein Hunter develops a well-designed script and though it contains some longer than need sequences, it still has the entire cast dedicating themselves to the project and roles. The character of Spencer, explains that Hollywood lays scatter with traps, dead-ends and graveyards of broken promises and it fits a serial killer paradise to hunt and lure in their prey so very easily with the bait of landing the breakthrough roles.
At times the movie, suffers from the proper editing, and muddies the pacing, but the limitations are recognized early on by the director regarding crew, time, and finances saving it from pushing the boundaries too far. Some have thought the film fails due the cast of young actors however, it captures the life and aspirations of the struggling actors, who all try to balance jobs with cast and crew auditions, calculating risks and rewards. Everyone in the business understands the long-shots and odds stack against themselves, but the reward for the chance at stardom, only the bravest or craziest ever go all-in for the opportunity to reach the ultimate goal, and it is shown herein.
While 2 Jennifer contains a few speed bumps, by overlooking the shortcomings they might enjoy an interesting movie, with a refreshing storytelling, while dealing the real possibilities of celebrity stalking, a fan-films venturing into the next realm of horrors, life intimidating art. Regardless, a third film is rumored in the works, and why not, with the crazy ending to this flick, more indie creations may soon follow horror fans home.
This review was originally published on the now defunct Rogue Cinema website in October 2016 with 1,683 views.
TAGLINE: 2 Violent. 2 Horrifying. 2 Jennifer.
IMDb Rating: 2.7/10
Baron’s Rating: 2.5/10