You’ve seen it in “Carrie”, you’ve seen it in “Prom Night 2”, and you’ve seen it in “Urban Legends 2: Bloody Mary”. Oh, you haven’t seen that one? Well, join the club. “Tamara” is a hybrid of all three films, and yet another femme revenge horror film about some recluse, or brutally scorned woman coming back to strike at her killers.
Tamara is one sad individual, a constant target for the jocks and popular kids in her high school and mocked on a daily basis, especially now that she’s written a controversial article about drug testing which further gives them a reason. Now to get back at her, they play a very cruel prank which goes incredibly awry, and because she’s a witchcraft practitioner (not black magic, mind you), she comes back from the grave sexier than ever, and as one pissed off undead bitch. Why are the all the evil ones so sexy? And vice versa.
Regardless, we’re trotted along for ninety-one minutes with about an hour devoted to covering up the murder, and the last half to Tamara’s rage. Rather than milking the fact she’s undead, the director much prefers to focus on the fact that she’s so damn sexy. And who can blame him? But, she’s also undead, and a zombie. You gotta keep your priorities straight. The reaction of her killers upon her arrival is also absurdly under-played. Tamara’s looks are laughably toned down in the first half with stringy hair, no make-up, a poor complexion, and really bad clothing, but when she comes back she has a perm, a lot of make-up and some rather skimpy clothing, which makes you ponder that perhaps if she dressed like that in the beginning she’d be much more liked. Go figure.
Jenna Dewan gives a very convincing performance as Tamara, and milks the role as both the recluse, and the vixen, and she really does show why she’s the lead. As dinky Tamara, she’s sympathetic, sweet and adorable, as sexy Tamara, she’s—well—hot, and seems to have a lot of fun with the role. As ninety minute horror filler sans a plot and depth, it works on rare occasions with very good gore, and minimal but effective make-up. But much of that is forgotten because the film is so typical. The high schoolers look to be at least in their thirties, and Riddick’s writing is atrocious with rigid dialogue, and poor character emphases.
“Tamara” also pulls itself in to many directions and seeks out to be a new age “Carrie” at times. And much like “Carrie”, there’s your Travolta arch-type, your Amy Irving arch-type, and your Nancy Allen arch-type. All of whom are never as appealing as they should be. For an evil undead witch though, Tamara’s damage inflicted on people is surprisingly light save for two gruesome deaths. She makes two guys do each other, and she has a girl stuff herself—with veggies. Riddick’s script is also very inconsistent and many things don’t make sense. If she can make people do her bidding from a touch, why not touch one of her killers and have them kill each other off? And how can she keep Mrs. Natolly from having kids from a love spell? If she had outside forces helping her, why didn’t she exercise them? Why did they have Mrs. Natolly guarded?
And then there’s the climax in the hospital—where oddly security and patients are minimal—which is particularly stupid and inept as two armed survivors are overpowered by a petite victim being controlled by Tamara. And you know you’ve seen it all when someone is nearly beaten to death by an aluminum baking pan. “Tamara” thinks it’s a supernatural tale, but really it’s just another “Fatal Attraction” retread with a supernatural twist, and a climax that just screams: sequel. Don’t hold your breath.