Hiding out in New Mexico after a freak accident, Elena runs into Jessica, an old school friend. But when Jessica’s stalker suddenly shows up at their door, they must seek help from beyond the grave to get rid of him, for good.
Directed by Pete Ohs and starring Callie Hernandez, Ashley Denise Robinson and Will Madden, Jethica is a movie that does its best to tie midwestern folklore into a modern issue–dealing with a stalker. While the movie is advertised as a romantic comedy there really isn’t much humor or romance. Instead, it is incredibly tense and the movie does a great job of making Kevin (Madden) seem completely obsessed with Jessica (Robinson) to a degree that you understand why she was afraid enough to murder him. Jessica is helped by her former roommate Elena (Hernandez) whom the movie mainly follows.
The main reason the movie doesn’t read as a comedy is the pacing. The scenes are all long and drawn out with ominous piano music filling the silence making them very tense. It is also not fair to say this is a romance since Kevin does prove to be obsessive about Jessica and dangerous by brutally killing another ghost in an attempt to exorcise him. So many of the scenes are really just Kevin’s ghost talking nonstop about how much he loves Jessica and how beautiful she is despite her clearly being creeped out by him.
The runtime of the movie is largely Elena and Jessica trying to get rid of his ghost, which was summoned when Jessica brought his body to Elena’s land. The land had been blessed by her grandmother–A mystic who wanted to summon the ghost of her recently deceased husband. The last 15 minutes of the movie however follow Kevin after he gives up on Jessica and where he encounters Benny; a character originally introduced at the beginning of the movie.
Kevin and Benny become friends and seem to be good for each other. While it’s sweet, I don’t feel like Kevin is redeemable; Jethica was clearly terrified of him to the point that she was driven to stab him. His happy ending felt wrong and muddied the message of the film. He felt irredeemable.
The makeup in the movie is also a challenging mix as the ghost’s face is almost cartoonish but is ultimately a ghost I’ve seen a hundred times. Since the movie is supposed to be a comedy, that somewhat makes sense as it’s almost like something out of Beetlejuice–but this movie is meant to be purely a horror so it tends to send mixed signals. As a horror movie, it’s not bad.
Kevin’s rants about how much he loves Jethica are nothing short of unsettling and he does a good enough job of creeping us out to have Jethica be considered a horror film. Then again, when you are sitting here trying to decide whether a film is a horror or not, it’s obviously sending mixed signals. Jethica will have its UK release on February 6th.