Let me introduce you to a comedy/horror legacy that you may never have heard of.
Back in 2013, the Jennifer series was brought to life by indie horror director James Cullen Bressack (Pernicious, Bethany). Armed with his script, an iPhone and inserting himself in the film to allow him to direct the camera exactly where he wanted it, low budget horror fans were treated to a fun little found-footage style thriller that found itself a bit of a cult following.
A couple of years later, Director Hunter Johnson (Irrational Fear) brought us tense and enjoyable meta-sequel 2 Jennifer. With Bressack on producer duty, the film saw a couple of filmmakers casting the perfect follow-up to the first film’s found footage with things quickly and horrifically unravelling for everyone involved. A year later, Frank Merle (The Employer) picked up the Jennifer branded ball and ran with it. Hunter Johnson joined the list of producers and #FromJennifer, a more female-fronted, revenge-centric entry was born. A silly, campy fun film that signalled the end of the Jennifer trilogy. Or so we thought.
Made back in 2018, For Jennifer (4 Jennifer? Four Jennifer?) has quietly found its way onto video on-demand services worldwide, with regular Bressack collaborator Jody Barton (Verotika, Bloodcraft) making his directorial debut with the latest entry in this low budget fan favourite series that takes the lore and some of the players of the previous films and puts them on a collision course with a fresh batch of victims.
Having recently discovered the “Jennifer” movies; some seemingly by luck and some by orchestrated circumstance, Joey and his girlfriend Jennifer are inspired and set about making a movie of their own. Enlisting their friend Stefanie to help out and others in their circle to play parts in their play, the couple make a start on continuing the legacy began by an indie filmmaker years previous.
Unfortunately for this group of friends, they are oblivious to, or simply ignorant of, the consequences faced by everyone else that has been a part of this series. And as the lines between movie and real life begin to blur, things inevitably take a bad and bloody turn for everyone involved.
Super-low budget horror films, as a rule, don’t get sequels. They certainly don’t become four film series with a deep and complicated story to them, yet here we are. For Jennifer not only continues the story of the ongoing curse of being named Jennifer but it manages to elevate the series to fascinating new highs while never letting go of, or forgetting its roots. Watching Joey, Jennifer and Stefanie create something akin to a documentary as they unpick the legacy and discover the terrible endings that befell everyone involved is not only a wholly entertaining hour and a half, but a truly engaging one as well. It wouldn’t be unfair to say that many films found on the DVD shelves surrounding To Jennifer and it’s sequels don’t always have the best reputation, but the commitment that each new director, and the army of recurring producers, bring to each entry ensure that this series just goes from strength to strength.
For Jennifer takes the “meta” element that the series has spent the last seven years cultivating and ups the ante in almost every way. The return of some of the series’ biggest players from previous entries to this story serve to tangle the web up even further. Including a comeback from 2 Jennifer director and owner of possibly the most surprising and nasty moment in the series Hunter Johnson who reprises his role as the first sequel’s Spencer in spectacular fashion. On paper, it’s a film that doesn’t feel like it should be as fun as it is or work even half as well as it does. But in practice, it’s a superb little number that fans and followers of the series will appreciate and celebrate for the insanity that it is.
This third sequel dares you, begs you, to press play and become a part of it all.
Directed by: Jody Barton
Written by: Jody Barton
Cast: Dominique Swain, Felissa Rose, Medeleine Wade