Jenifer is something of an acquired taste. It is part of the Masters of Horror series, and it is directed by the always wonderful Dario Argento, but it is not a typical Argento film. Some may say that is a good thing. Regardless of one’s feelings about one of the undisputed masters of horror, the film deserves some respect.
The story is fairly simple and straightforward. It’s all about a cop (Steven Weber) who takes in a woman with an “incredible” body and a hideously deformed face. She’s a purely sexual being, and she likes to screw and eat cats and children. Somehow men become obsessed with her, and then the horror begins. Obviously, it’s not Opera, but it is worth watching.
Admittedly, Argento was what attracted me to this film. I find the Masters of Horror stuff to be kind of hit-or-miss, but even bad Argento is so much better than a lot of stuff out there, so it was really a win-win for me. Granted, this felt like his most American film, but as it began I started to find myself forgetting Argento was involved in it and instead became fascinated with Weber.
Weber is perhaps best known for his Brian Hackett character on Wings. While he was fine on that show, it was the mini-series The Shining that got me to take notice of him. Going into this film, I really did not know what to expect of him, though, but when I realized that he not only starred in it, but also wrote it (adapting it from a Bruce Jones/Bernie Wrightson story in Creepy), well, I took notice. From there I listened to him on the DVD and realized: He’s one of us. “Us” being the horror film/comic book/Argento-fascinated fandom out there. He gets it. He understands it. He makes the role, and he wrote a pretty good screenplay to be directed by a film legend. Really, how cool is that? Very. How daunting is it? I imagine very, as well.
There are always limits to what you can do in a film and even more so for something that will originally air on television. Considering the confines of the medium, Argento and Weber did a competent job of making something that enthralls and sickens. Weber was better on The Shining, and Argento has done far better, but this film has a lot of heart of in it, and one can tell that everyone was fairly excited to be working with the Italian master. To have Weber outshine Argento is something I wouldn’t have predicted, but his grasp of the material was personal and completely understood. Witness Weber’s character transformation throughout the film to know what I mean. Argento may have directed this, but it was Weber’s film.
Jenifer won’t keep you awake at night, and it won’t make you an Argento fan if you aren’t already there, but it will make you take notice of Weber. Oh, and Carrie Anne Fleming as Jenifer? Not bad … if you can forget the face … and those teeth that can (and do) easily tear a penis to shreds.
Mandatory FTC Disclaimer: I did not receive this film to review. If, however, you click on a link you may earn me some cash. Danke.