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Movie Review: Jennifer Help Us

Jennifer Help Us poster

@TigersMS78 checks out indie film Jennifer Help Us...

Juan Ortiz’s debut film Jennifer Help Us was filmed on an iphone and made a meagre budget and yes whilst that shows, what also shows is that if you don’t have money, you’ve got to have ability and that I’m happy to say is in abundance.

Jennifer Helps Us is the story of three nasty high school seniors and their subsequent kidnapping of a girl that may have done the deed with the ring leader’s boyfriend. Playing as a retro film that perhaps you’ve seen maybe late one night or as part of grindhouse double bill, Jennifer Help Us is replete with scratches,  marks and the occasional missing/damaged scene, the film looks like it is from old film stock but in truth it was just an app on the iphone that was used to create it, however in the context of this film it works. If it’s good enough for Rodriguez and Tarantino it is sure as hell as good enough for other filmmakers.

The acting in Jennifer Help Us is a little mixed but the main cast (Rachel Brennan Leyh, Alaina Dawn Sharp, Courtney Bandeko, Kelsi Simpson) do a good enough job as a whole so any slight issues don’t really affect the film a great deal as Ortiz keeps the film lean and mean. A short run time of 70 minutes and sparse dialogue means that everything is trimmed right down to the bone. The really dominant feature of Jennifer Help Us is the visuals. A feat that is made all the more amazing considering the iphone is not exactly 4k. The framing and lighting in most of the scenes are great helping to imbue the film with a heavy atmosphere. The killer has most of the great images throughout the film whether it’s a silhouette or the starkness of a bright light, the killer looks every bit as omnious as she is deadly and the some of the shots will stay with you. The other great feature of Jennifer Help Us is the score. A grindhouse and 70s horror inspired score that not only enhances the films creepier moments but fits in perfectly into what the film is trying to create or recreate.

Whilst Jennifer Help Us embodies all the excellent ingenuity of shooting a film on a very small budget, there are still some obvious areas that still needed some work yet at the same time you can’t help but think with some more experience (both writing and directing) and more of a budget these areas would be easily sorted out. Personally I can’t wait to see what Ortiz has lined up next, Jennifer Help Us is far from perfect but it shows a hell of a lot of potential.

Ryan Morrissey-Smith

Twitter: @TigersMS78

Images: Ismellsheep.com & Youtube

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