After police officer Frank Spivey saves a disfigured young woman named Jenifer from being killed, he takes her into his home and begins a dangerous love affair with her. (Okay, so I know this has been reviewed a million times over, but I will address issues not previously covered by others.) When Frank later returns home after killing a man and saving Jenifer, he is seduced by his wife. At first, her advances turn him off, but then he is plagued with flashbacks of the dying man and a helpless tied up Jenifer. This makes Frank become sexually charged and aggressive towards his wife. In an ambiguous move on the director's part, it appears as though he rapes his own wife. Later, you will find him sinking to new lows with devastating consequences.
I could not help but notice the many similarities to David Cronenberg's Crash. There is an emphasis on the weird attraction we may feel towards some things that should repulse us. The nude & sex scenes show a heavy contrast between what is beautiful and what is disgusting and as it turns out, there is a thin line between the two.
I have read some other reviewer's opinions and they seem to state that their interpretation of Jenifer is as a monster or severely disfigured woman. Some even called her an "alien". My personal opinion is that she is none of the above. I think that would be missing the point of the film. I believe that Jenifer is not a human, but rather a manifestation of man's desire. Inevitably, all the men lose their wives, children, jobs, freedom, and eventually their lives. It is a cautionary tale to all stupid men, uh, well, I guess all men. The good news is that Frank pays for his stupidity in the end. Actually, things come around full circle. And I have to admit, I laughed.
Like a typical Argento film, he covers much ground here. Besides the obvious comparison to ugly and beauty, he takes a look at a corrupt police force. When the man that attempted to kill Jenifer has his nice clothes searched, but found missing an ID, he is written off as a homeless person. It later turns out that he was wealthy. When Jenifer is rescued, she is considered retarded and admitted to a mental institution because "that's the system".
While the story itself is great and tackles bizarre subject matter, my biggest complaint is that the nudity goes way overboard. I got the point about 5 nude scenes in. I don't need a paint by numbers cheap porno where the partners switch positions repeatedly. Top, bottom, side, car, bed, cabin, etc. It got very boring, very quickly. Plus half the time the nudity made no sense at all. For instance, if Jenifer is showering in an institute, Why is a male orderly and a male stranger allowed in there to gawk at her? Why is Jenifer walking around naked at Frank's house in front of his wife and young son and no one bothers to cover her? Another thing that didn't make a lot of sense was when Frank quits his job to live in the woods with Jenifer. Why not just hide her there and visit? Okay, to keep an eye on her and bone repeatedly. Fine. But wouldn't his wife and son report him missing? Um, there is such a thing as child support. He cannot just run off with another broad and not expect people to come for him.
Clocking in at a full 58 minutes, the film features great SFX (and in case you missed it, nekkid people). Claudio from Goblin supplies the soundtrack.
Weird Fact: This was the only Season 1 episode to require cuts. 2 shots were removed involving graphic depictions of oral sex. The first one occurred during the awkward sex scene in the car and the second occurred at the end of the film. The deleted scenes are edited into the 'So Hideous My Love' documentary on the DVD, which somehow I completely missed. Uhh, I guess I don't know oral sex when I see it. Or maybe I accidentally skipped over this. Or I got tired of watching this and did something else.
Favorite Quote: Police Chief, "If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it's a duck with a meat cleaver." DVD Extras: Interview with Director & Cast, Commentary, Stills, Bios, Trailers, and the Screenplay on DVD-ROM.
Bottom Line: An honest look at disturbing subject matter. Incredibly sexual, while lacking in extreme gore and devoid of any scares.
by Molly Celaschi