Now Streaming: For Jennifer (2020) - Reviewed

Found Footage cinematic universes are an intriguing sub-genre of horror. While Blair Witch and Paranormal Activity are the most notorious, there are many gems hidden among an ocean of mediocrity.  The "Jennifer" films may be one of the best kept secrets among them.  Beginning with a notorious short film To Jennifer, and then followed by sequels 2 Jennifer and From Jennifer, the series revolves around groups of people making films on their phones that somehow involve the eponymous character.  The horror comedies have gained a cult following since the original was film (the first be done so on an iphone) in 2013.  The latest entry into the mythology is Jody Barton's For Jennifer.  Featuring an intriguing premise, creative visuals, and hilariously awkward ensemble, this is the perfect film to showcase how a budget isn't required to elicit laughs and chills.  

Horror blogger Jennifer receives a mysterious birthday present that leads to an accident.  In the aftermath, Jennifer recruits her circle of friends to make a horror film that leads to unforeseen laughs and violent calamities.  The most attractive aspect of the film is in how Barton manipulates cameras to create worlds within worlds.  Combined with some inspired editing to aid in transitions between different camera operators, For Jennifer is an excellent exercise in tension as Jennifer plunges deeper and deeper down the online rabbit hole.  From the moment the strange package is handed to Felissa Rose's Jennifer, a sense of otherworldly reality descends over everything, signaling the beginning of an unforgettable, and extremely dangerous ride.  

The cast is clearly in on the jokes and it is obvious that all of these talented performers are having fun, which is yet another testament to Barton's directorial command.  Beyond Rose, Meghan Deanna Smith's Stephanie is the standout.  While she only has a handful of scenes, her performance is the perfect encapsulation of the online world, the place where these films form their own dimension of horror and fame, eternally entwined.  Everything is deftly woven together, with some genuine surprises layered with comical auditions, uncomfortable confrontations, and of course...bloodshed.  

Now available for digital on demand, For Jennifer is an excellent pick for late night horror experience. Using a wealth of innovation to enshroud a talented cast in an aura of dread and paranoia, Barton has created a low budget shocker that not only demands attention, but also manages to assert itself in the top tier of found footage horror.

--Kyle Jonathan