Stanley Merse has murder constantly on his mind. A grungy true crime novelist, he finds himself increasingly plagued with nightmares and violent fantasies about his work, in particular the subject of his latest novel, Harry Jenson. In an attempt to reclaim his sanity, Stan goes on a remote journey deep in the New Zealand forest, with a group of other mysterious trampers. But when he wakes up on the first morning to find one of his tramping party dead, Stanley finds himself caught up in a real life scenario that is far too reminiscent of one of his own plot lines. With blood on his hands, and his delusional nightmares out of control, Stanley is faced with the very real possibility that this story may in fact be reality, one which he now has to try and keep secret. Shot almost entirely against the stunning backdrop of New Zealand's native rain forests, I'm Not Harry Jenson is a thought provoking murder mystery that crescendos to a finale full of surprise and intrigue. Written by
INHJ fascinates me. As a media student having studied the horror and thriller genres, the codes, conventions and clichés are expected, blatant and eradicate all suspense film-makers aim to achieve from their use. This film tip-toes around nearly every single one of them and creates something entirely fresh.
The main character, Stanley, is a writer who pens novels based on murderers; such as Harry Jensen who killed 37 people prior to his execution. Finding this particular murderer hard to write down, Stanley's agent Tom sends him on a trek deep in the New Zealand scrub, reachable only by helicopter. After the trek's first night in the bush, one of his fellow travellers is dead and anyone could be the killer.
Stand-out performances from Gareth Reeves, Renato Bartolomei and excellent editing and sound take the film from beginning to end with no hesitation. The climax is to be seen to be believed.
INHJ is an excellent first film from the directors, I certainly hope to see more films in this class from the NZ film industry.
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