To what degree can man become the primary diet of something and in how many ways?, the concerns explored by a director revealed as a master, in this film’s making, of his genre. The monsters we tolerate to live among us, even with whom to sometimes bear children have finally met their match in Jenifer. She is merely the extreme example of what already exists among us, capable of killing their own and of justifying it where common sense and decency no longer prevail. But Jenifer (played by the alarmingly diverse Carrie Anne Fleming,) an obvious sub-species, for all her horror, is ingratiating enough to make a host out of some while making a meal out of others (she prefers entrails) and might be a fine mother to her own…at least she doesn’t bite the hand that feeds her and gives in return. The viewer will not be able to rightly imagine her ever working a provider into a financial grave with the help of an attorney. (No offense, ladies, that swipe is meant to cut at both sexes.)
Dario Argento’s mastery is in what he leaves his viewers to add to an already well established horror while they cope with interpretation. The imagination becomes its own instrument of extended flights into utmost horror realms even perhaps beyond any intended. Is this a subspecies or made this way? Does Frank Spivey (Steven Weber, noteworthy for his role as Jack in the TV mini series of The Shining) become infected by a scratch to fall under creature Jenifer’s spell or is he one of those sexual aberrants that require corpses and/or the bizarre to adequately perform? Significant developments throughout can support any of these excursions. As diverse as Fleming’s acting abilities run, so Argento’s directing creativity.
The make-up artistry done upon Fleming takes a penultimately beautiful actress and remakes her into a looks pariah. Frightening in aspects that can continue into dreamscapes to come. For years.
Adapted to script by our star, Steven Weber from a short story by Bruce Jones (hunting now for any collection of his short stories,) the story line observes the circulating ending some of the best horror movies from the past have. Not to digress further, however, than reviewers are allowed in resolving endings.
The chronology defeats one element in customary presentation of scene impact as a device to increase the viewer’s intensity of involvement, an asset taken advantage of in most horror films. The first human victim is a very pretty little girl neighbor, Amy (Jasmine Chan) from next door. The scenes built around this exploit its impact to the limit and, thus, what follows through the remainder of the film declines graphically in impact and seems but anti-climactic. And is.
Small bone to pick with a directing masterpiece. No one under sixteen for all sorts of reasons and heart patients, take your nitro with you.