Long distance relationships can be hard, there’s no doubt about that. With distance, problems inherently arise, mostly due to lack of good communication, issues of trust and of course the human nature of bodily desire. In “To Jennifer,” a new horror film from cult favorite James Cullen Bressack, these issues and more are given a violent twist in this cross-country buddy adventure gone horribly wrong.
After receiving a suspicious text message from his longtime girlfriend, Jennifer (Jessica Cameron), Joey (Chuck Pappas) suspects her of cheating on him. In an effort to prove her infidelity, Joey and his cousin Steven (Bressack) go on a cross-country trip to find her, armed only with the spirit of revenge and their iPhone 5. In the words of Bressack himself, “‘To Jennifer’ is a realistic depiction of the lengths we go for vindication.” That’s a fair and accurate assessment of a film that’s seriously fresh.
Much like Bressack’s ultraviolent shocker “Hate Crime,” “To Jennifer” is comprised entirely from POV footage, which is always a high risk, high reward endeavor. This film takes it a step further with the fact that it’s shot entirely on the iPhone, which is both an impressive technical achievement and a main plot point in the story. Given the fact that we as an audience are so accustomed to seeing videos shot on cell phones all of the time, is never a distraction and only adds to the eerie, bizarre feeling that this movie leaves in the pit of your stomach. It’s guerrilla filmmaking at it’s finest at times, with some incredibly memorable and honest moments. There’s a cringeworthy scene on an airplane that jumps to mind.
While the technical details of “To Jennifer” are a terrific selling point, the strongest and most intriguing aspect of the film comes from the performers and their ability to engage the audience in a believable way. Pappas is terrific as the heartbroken and spiteful Joey, and Cameron lights it up as the beautiful, scandalous Jennifer. Jody Barton as buddy Martin and Bressack himself deliver one-liners at a ridiculous rate and the group chemistry felt incredibly natural. You really feel like one of the guys on this journey, and while this film is no doubt horrific, it plays more like a seriously dark and demented buddy comedy.
“To Jennifer” isn’t your typical found footage horror film, and that’s just fine. It’s not as brutal as “Hate Crime” but it’s just as enjoyable. The film is being released on DVD and VOD on October 15th, as well as a direct to iPhone app coming soon as well, so you can watch the film exactly how it was meant to be seen, on your phone. Check it out, especially if your boyfriend or girlfriend lives far away. Who knows, it might just inspire you to check up on them…