If it's crap ... We'll tell you
31 Days of Horror
***1/2 out of ****
Spill Rating: HIGH MATINEE!
-Amazing Make-Up Effects
-Dario Argento Is The Man
-Weber's Character Lacks Developemt
-Who's Uglier? Sarah Jessica Parker or Jenifer?
This man is Dario Argento. Most of you haven’t heard his name. Well, guess what? If you are watching a show called Masters of Horror and haven’t seen a single film by Argento, do yourself a favor and go watch some. Out of all the great horror directors, Argento is the guy who never gets enough credit. He has influenced the genre in countless ways and crafted such masterpieces as Deep Red, Suspiria, Tenabre, and Opera. His later films may not reach the heights achieved in his early career but his overall achievement in the horror genre is more than enough for him to earn the title of “master."
With that out of the way, lets talk about Argento’s entry into the series. Jenifer marks a huge departure from his filmography. There are no killers in black gloves or supernatural occurrences; just a girl with a f***ed up face!
(I could make it work)
Frank Spivey (Stephen Weber) is a cop on a routine patrol when he comes across a man about to decapitate a young woman with an axe. Frank shoots and kills the man, only to discover that the girl, Jenifer (Carrie Anne Fleming) has a face that looks like it was run over by a truck but a body like Olivia Wilde. Feeling remorse about shooting the man, Frank seeks to help Jenifer, taking her out of an asylum and bringing her home to stay with him and his family. Although she appears fragile and traumatized, Jenifer has some big appetites for blood and sex, which Frank will discover soon enough.
The saying goes, a monster movie is only as good as its monster. Jenifer succeeds because of the fantastic make-up effects by Greg Nicotero. His work throughout the entire series is masterful but this is his high point. Helping complete the effect is Carrie Anne Fleming, who’s amazing at making Jenifer scary, sexy, and sympathetic all at the same time. Much like Splice, the monster is the most interesting character of the film.
Serving as the lead actor and screenwriter is Steven Weber. He gives an extremely good performance despite the way his character is written. Unlike Jenifer, his character is somewhat hard to understand. His transition from family man to f***ing a monster is somewhat rushed. If there’s one pitfall to the series, it’s the short run times. Sometimes, great episodes like these could have been fantastic ones with just a few extra minutes.
Argento is best known for his stylish gore scenes and Jenifer lays it on thick. Every time Jenifer munches down on something or someone, the red flows like a waterfall. One particular sequence towards the end will be guaranteed to cause squirms and uncomfortable looks between friends. Believe it or not, the episode was cut by Showtime for gore. You can see the uncut deleted scenes in all of their glory on DVD.
I may have known where Jenifer was going five minutes in, but I enjoyed the entire ride. Argento is a master director is makes gives this very familiar tale a unique spin. Its sexy, scary, and thought-provoking all at the same time. At the moment, Masters of Horror is 4-for-4. Will creator Mick Garris' Chocolate continue the streak or will it end here? Check in tomorrow to find out!