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Ostracized at a snooty private school because of her rural, poor background, a scholarship student is tormented to the point where her only remaining recourse is revenge, using the only method she knows: her psychic control over snakes! Written by
Brian J. Wright <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Surprisingly effective little low budget shocker here that proves once again that just because a horror movie from the 1970s has a PG rating that doesn't mean it's for kids. This one has some genuinely sick material though not in the department that one might think even with the unexpected brief nudity. It's a Snake Horror ripoff of CARRIE for sure but there's something else going on here. And proof yet again that the key element to any good movie is the writing, not the budget or the stars, unless you consider Bert Convey a star. That must be him singing the opening theme song, and its just so awful you have to love it.
So CARRIE was about a misunderstood waif pushed to the edge by a bunch of stuck-up bored rich kids who torment her at school. JENNIFER is about a plucky young lady from the country who runs afoul of a boarding school's resident teenage psychopath convincingly played by Amy Johnston who literally has the whole world struck dumb by her. She's put the whammy on everyone at the private school the film is set at. Her classmates, her teachers, her boyfriend and his pack of loser buddies (one of which is former "Land Of The Lost" actor Wesley Ure, showing that he really could act after all), the pill-popping boozer headmistress, even the people who despise her hold her in a certain amount of awe. Including John Gavin playing her senator father whom I suspect knows that her daughter is completely psychotic and doesn't give half a damn.
The Snake Horror stuff -- while good enough, given the budget and PG ratings prohibition against overtly sexualized content -- takes second seat to what is actually a pretty good rendition of how a charming psychopath can insinuate themselves so well into the lives of their victims that dislodging them becomes traumatic in itself. The most horrifying scene in the film is when the maniac sets up one of her flunkie so-called friends to be date raped by her equally sociopathic boyfriend. The damndest thing is, I've heard of worse in real life. By keeping its psycho horrors in check the film is all the more frightening. Other than the snakes you could really see some of this happening, suggesting that maybe what we're seeing here were two scripts combined into one: A story about a young lady with a gift for controlling reptiles, and another about a psychopathic Barely Legal who eventually destroys the lives of everyone she comes in contact with. The latter story steals the show.
So yeah, the young lady with the past as a snake handling tongue speaking miracle girl does indeed unleash hell's fury in an amusing display of serpentine pyrotechnics that includes a couple of great ironic justice payback deaths for her tormentors. But to me the real story is about this pretty young psycho and the lengths that she will go to perpetuate the almost hypnotic hold she seems to have on her followers. Kind of makes you wonder about all those bullies and demented weirdos you used to run afoul of yourself as a younger person. I knew they were crazy all along. Nobody can be that cruel & still have a conscience. Here's a movie that shows how it works -- the Snake Horror stuff is just gravy.
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