As I prepared to watch this movie, I just had a feeling that this was going to be something special, something that would really knock me over somehow -- despite the fact it's a direct-to-DVD release from Lions Gate, it didn't sound all that original and would almost certainly be rather predictable, and I had never heard of any of the actors and actresses in the cast. That feeling I had turned out to be right on the money. I would just like to thank the director, the casting director, and whoever else was involved in casting Jenna Dewan as Tamara because this young lady is talented, captivating, and absolutely, positively, drop-dead gorgeous. I thought I had seen sexy women before, but no one can hold a candle to Jenna Dewan. This is the kind of woman who makes you want to quit your job, take off to Hollywood, and spend the rest of your life just trying to get a glimpse of her in the flesh. I am totally smitten, as you can tell. Dewan bears a striking resemblance to Denise Richards -- I swear she could be Denise's younger, even more beautiful sister.
With its I Know What You Did Last Summer meets Devil in the Flesh meets Jawbreaker meets The Craft kind of storyline, Tamara doesn't really break any new ground -- but it does rise above its derivative origins and forge an identity all its own. Screenwriter Jeffrey Reddick maintains a surprisingly tight plot throughout, leaving few questions unanswered, and he even succeeds in giving us a final scene that isn't silly or campy at all. When I start describing the plot points, you'll think you've seen all of them before, and you have, but you probably haven't seen them all brought together in such impressive fashion as this. It all starts with your basic high school outcast.Read more ›
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This movie TAMARA sounds alot like the 80's classic series PROM NIGHT. A chick coming back from the dead to get even on those who played a prank on her. This sounds like PROM NIGHT II HELLO MARY LOU. Where the high school tramp comes back to get even with those who killed her during the Prom. Who knows maybe this one is good. I'll definetely rent this one when it comes out. As for those out their who have seen this flick. Get it. Usually movies that have had a limited run or an extended run and are hated by movie critics always end up being cult classics. If you're a fan of cult classic flicks, then TAMARA is for you.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
41 of 44 people found the following review helpful
Uneven but occasionally promisingApril 22 2006
- Published on Amazon.com
Tamara is an occasionally diverting horror film. The title character (well played by dancer Jenna Dewan) is a shy, nerdy high school student who manages to get on the bad side of the jocks at her school. Natrually, this leads to the jocks pulling a rather cruel prank on Tarma and, of course, this leads to Tamara accidentally getting killed and buried out in the woods. However, like all shy, nerdy girls in these types of films, Tamara was into black magic and, the next day, everyone is quite surprised to see Tamara boldly back from the dead, strutting through the school hallways in a high heels and a red bustier. Not only has returning from the dead given Tamara a new look but it's also left her with a thirst for revenge and the supernatural powers necessary to get it.
The film's plot will be obvious to anyone who has ever seen a horror film and neither director Jeremy Haft or writer Jeffrey Reddick offer up any new twists on a familiar story. However, the film does occasionally feature some memorable moments. Though most of the actors sleepwalk through their roles, three actresses do offer up performances that transcend the limitations of their parts. As Tamara's best friend, Katie Stuart is immensely likeable and believable as a well-meaning teenager who has suddenly found herself in over her head. Claudette Mink, who plays the unfortunate wife of a teacher that Tamara has a crush on, is good in a relatively thankless role and she brings a real sense of fear to the scenes where she's menaced by Tamara's magic. She makes those scenes real and, for a few minutes at least, helps the picture rise above the limitations of its plot. As the title character, Jenna Dewan gives a strong and credible performance. Her strongest moments are in the beginning of the film when she makes Tamara's loneliness very real and poignant. Her terror and shame when she discovers that she's been the victim of a cruel prank is never less than believable and it helps to make an awkward scene very credible. Once she returns from the dead as evil Tamara, she is betrayed by a script that requires her to be almost too campy to be truly threatening but Dewan still manages to believably convey the anger and the need for revenge that lies underneath the surface of someone whose spent their entire life being picked on.
The direction from Jeremy Haft is rather pedestrian for most of the film until the final fifteen minutes or so. At this point, the survivors of Tamara's revenge find themselves under seige in a small hospital and it is here that the film actually comes alive. Haft creates a good deal of tension in these scenes and actually makes the fate of some of Tamara's victims rather tragic. The closing sequence of this film is almost good enough to excuse the rather lame moments that preceded it and it is in these final scenes that Tamara is the most compelling.
In the end, Tamara is a wildly uneven film and probably one that won't be enjoyed by people who aren't fans of horror films. However, Tamara has just enough promising moments to make it worth taking a chance on.
18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
Jenna Dewan's dual role as Tamara is reason enough to watchAug. 6 2006
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Tamara was a good entertaining horror/teenage angst movie in the same vein as De Palma's Carrie and pretty much most of the teenage revenge/slasher flicks of the late 70's and early 80's. Such horror films involved the high school jocks and popular cliques getting their comeuppance by way of the nerdy student who has had enough. This time around the nerd in question is one Tamara whose shy, bookish and frumpy nature makes her an easy mark for every other kid in school.
Newcomer and extremely hot Jenna Dewan plays the title role and she does a very good job pulling off the dual personality role Tamara goes through the film. The first half of the film Dewan was very believable as the mousy and nerdy student whose low self-esteem adds to keeping her ostracized from the rest of the student population. It doesn't help that she begins to misread one of her teacher's (played by Matthew Marsden) attempts to help her as some sort of seduction she so craves. There is a small bit of a bright side to her daily existence in the form Chloe (played by Katie Stuart), she of the popular girl with a heart-of-gold role. Tamara's life soon turns for the worst as her attempts to show her love for her helpful teacher is rebuffed and her published article about drug-use in athletics puts her in the crosshairs of a couple of jocks with much to lose.
Typical of such teenage revenge horror movies, the cruel jocks and popular kids concoct a plan to humiliate and embarrass Tamara, but just like those past films their plans backfire and the target of their pans gets killed during the the prank. The filmmaker really don't add something new to this tried and tested formula. Instead of calling for the authorities to report the accidental death of their schoolmate, the kids decide, through the bullying of the alpha-male in the group, to bury Tamra instead and forget anything ever happened. This plan probably would've worked if Tamara wasn't dabbling in witchcraft as ostracized teenagers are wont to do. Tamara's spell prior to the prank to spellbound her teacher backfires as its activated by the spilling of her blood and to the surprise of the students who did her harm she returns alive, healthy and completely different the start of the new school week.
To say that Tamara returns utterly different in more ways than one is an understatement. Ms. Dewan does a vampy, sometimes campy, job portraying the new and improved Tamara. Dewan goes from nerdy, plain-jane Tamara to ultra-sexy, barely there skirt wearing teen seductress whose touch does more than seduce those she has targeted for revenge. Jenna Dewan as the reborn Tamara steams up the screen with her overt sexuality and he practically saves the film from just being an ok, by-the-numbers horror movie. Tamara is Ms. Dewan's film from beginning to end and she does a very good job of keeping the story interesting even if it meant just being on the screen.
This film doesn't break new ground in the realm of teen horror. In fact, it's a mish-mash of alot of past teen horror flicks of the past that one could see the many influences in its story. Tamara is part Carrie, Black Christmas, The Craft and a slew of other teenage horror movies. The direction is adequate at best and that's really all one could hope for in a genre film like Tamara. What makes this film entertaining and worth watching is the joy of discovering the new talent in Jenna Dewan. Tamara might not be a great horror film, but Ms. Dewan sure more than tries to make it more than it's B-movie pedigree.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Entertaining, fun and Jenna Dewan is 'wicked'!June 15 2007
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I actually came across this movie on cable a couple of nights ago,and watched it more out of boredom than anything else,only to be surprisingly entertained. The story revolves around a teenager [played well by newcomer Jenna Dewan] who is a misfit at school, her only motivation being a well-meaning teacher [played by Matthew Marsden], and a kind friend in the form of Chloe [Katie Stuart]. Tamara gets into the bad books of some of the popular kids in school when her expose on doping in athletics is published in the school paper...this sets the scene for a cruel prank that goes horribly awry when Tamara ends up dead and is buried in the woods. The twist here is that Tamara was also a novice witch who dabbled in the black arts, and she returns from the grave as a sexy, malicious vixen hell-bent on exacting her revenge on all who cross her, including some innocents, such as her English teacher upon whom she has a crush, his wife and even Chloe. Though the plot is really nothing new, and has been done in different variations, Jenna Dewan's Tamara is sufficiently convincing and compelling to watch, and the methods she uses to get back at her enemies, though not highly original, nevertheless make for entertaining viewing. "Tamara" is not a great horror movie, but it is actually a pretty decent B movie that bears at least one viewing.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Revenge Served By Witchcraft--"Tamara" Had the Potential To Be B-Movie Fun, But Seems FlatDec 28 2006
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About one minute into the teen horror epic "Tamara," I pulled out my B-movie goggles. It is instantly apparent that this film won't win awards or critical acclaim, but that doesn't mean it couldn't have been fun. There are plenty of cheesy (or gruesome) indie shockers that I have appreciated. A film of this type can entertain as long as it fully embraces and acknowledges its limitations. If nothing else--get in my face, shock me, repulse me, make me cringe at bad one-liners--anything to connect me to the material and make me overlook its shortcomings. That said, "Tamara" comes close to being a good time but falls woefully short where it mattered the most.
The plot of "Tamara" is familiar and serviceable. Borrowing from dozens of more successful flicks, "Tamara" pieces together a tale of witchcraft and revenge. Tamara is a shy high school misfit. We know this because she wears oversized clothes and has bad hair, even though she is clearly beautiful. Barely able to put two words together because of social awkwardness, we are supposed to accept that she is a star pupil (even though she's seen sleeping through class) and a crack investigative journalist who has uncovered a steroid scandal at school. Well, her classmates are none too happy about this! Using her infatuation with the English teacher, they lure her into a practical joke with unexpectedly nasty consequences. Let's just say that Tamara strikes back with the assistance of her supernatural leanings--she has studied witchcraft.
Now begins a revenge tale, Tamara seeks justice for what was done to her as well as staking a claim on her true "love." From frumpy to porn star, she now has the looks and abilities necessary to drive others to do her bidding. Some of her revenge fantasies play out well and are acceptably wicked. The special effects aren't always that special, but I can overlook that. What I couldn't accept, however, are that the performances didn't elevate the material. The Tamara character could have been an incredibly fun, nasty, and humorous creation--but, in actuality, came across very flat. Whether the script or the performance or both, it just left a big void at the center of "Tamara." This character could have been B-movie nirvana connecting us to ghoulish delights. But, sorry, it fell short.
It's not the worst movie I've ever seen, but it actually might have been "bad movie" great under other circumstances. Only two stars, and I'm not sure why I gave it the extra one--maybe because it was a better movie in my mind or maybe because of witchcraft. KGHarris, 12/06.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
It's so bad it's scaryOct. 16 2013
- Published on Amazon.com
I thought I'd give this a shot, hey it's got a 4 star rating from reviews here right? This girl is never homely. Her magical transformation is she puts on make-up and wears nicer clothes that fit her. I only could watch a little of this movie. The acting was as bad as the script and that's saying a lot. I accept campy movies in the Horror genre, even bad horror films can be great if they don't take themselves too seriously. But other than seeing a lot of cute people, that go to a high school where everyone looks like a model, this movie is pure trash, and has no redeeming qualities whatsoever!