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Film / Tamara

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Tamara is a 2005 teen horror film written by Jeffrey Reddick and starring Jenna Dewan, Matthew Marsden, and Chad Faust.

Tamara Riley is a mousy, withdrawn girl whose exposure of the football team's steroid use to the newspapers made her the personal enemy of half the school. Not helping matters is the fact that she's also into both witchcraft and her English teacher, Bill Natolly. After attempting to cast a love spell but not having the guts to actually spill her blood to complete the ritual, Tamara is taken in by a prank by her vengeful classmates, pretending to be Bill so that they can humiliate her on camera. In the commotion, however, Tamara is killed by accident, forcing the kids to hide her body and pretend that nothing happened. Briefly, it seems to have worked.

Problem is, that blow to her head was just the thing to complete Tamara's ritual. She comes Back from the Dead looking better than ever, equipped with the power to read and control people's minds and perceptions with only a touch. And she is madder than hell.

As you can guess, the plot can pretty much be summed up as "Carrie (1976), only with witchcraft and more gore," to the point where it could've served as a remake of, or sequel to, that film with a few script changes (it wouldn't have been the first time, either). It can, however, be quite entertaining if you go in with the right mindset.

A novelization based on an earlier, more extreme script for the film was written by Jeffrey Reddick and JD Matthews, and released in 2014. For that version see Tamara.

This film provides examples of:

  • Above the Influence: Mr. Natolly refuses to give in to Tamara's advances towards him, even after she's revived and gained the powers of witchcraft.
  • Abusive Parents: Tamara's father is an alcoholic who molests his daughter. Needless to say, the events of this movie go poorly for him.
  • Accidental Murder: Tamara is killed by accident when her head strikes a table due to struggling with Shawn when his prank is sprung.
  • Almost Kiss: Mr. Riley proceeds to try to kiss Tamara, but before he is able to do so, Tamara touches his face with her hand, reads his mind through the use of her witchcraft and discovers Mr. Riley’s darkest secrets.
  • Ambiguously Brown: Tamara, who has a white father, has dark brown hair and olive skin. (Her actress Jenna Dewan is of partial Arab descent.)
  • And I Must Scream: Tamara tortures Roger with this by demonstrating her burial in the ground using her powers on him. Enough that he's coughing up dirt, his fingers are bloody and raw from clawing at the surface and insects are burrowing deep into his arm flesh, much to his horror.
  • Armor-Piercing Response: After she comes out of the flashback, an angry Tamara (who is sickened by what she saw) chastises her father, saying “If you loved Mom as much as you love that bottle, then maybe she wouldn’t have left — and you wouldn’t be chasing your own daughter, you bastard.”
  • Asshole Victim: Roger, Patrick, Shawn, and Tamara's father are portrayed with little to no redeeming qualities.
  • Bald of Evil: Tamara's father, Mr. Riley, is a overweight, balding man who lusts after his daughter.
  • Back from the Dead: Tamara returns from the dead following a Deadly Prank because of a magic spell Gone Horribly Right.
  • Because You Were Nice to Me: Tamara is unable to brainwash Chloe because of this and has a My God, What Have I Done? moment.
  • Black Bra and Panties: Tamara wears this when she believes she is meeting Bill for sex at the motel. She strips off her dress and hops into bed to wait for him.
  • Blatant Lies: Mr.Riley claims to Tamara that he tried to make things work with her mother and stop her from leaving them. That turns out to be far from the truth, along with other dark secrets Tamara discovers from him.
  • Body Horror: Tamara's Mind Rape of Roger and Kisha. All of it is in their heads, but... brrrr. Vermiphobesnote  might want to skip past Roger's scene in particular.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: Done to Shawn, Patrick, Kisha, and a cop in order to kill Allison, Tamara's romantic rival via Tamara's touch making them do whatever she wants.
  • Broomstick Quarterstaff: When attacked in the basement, Allison grabs a shovel to defend herself. When Shawn snaps the head off the shovel, Allison is left holding the handle. She then uses the sharp end of the handle to stab him.
  • But Liquor Is Quicker: Patrick specifically invites two freshman girls to the party intending to ply them with booze and take advantage of them. It is implied that the drinks might also be drugged.
  • Came Back Wrong: Tamara comes back from the dead as a cruel, manipulative and ruthless young woman bent on revenge, in stark contrast with her meek, kind previous self.
  • Character Title: The movie is titled after the antagonist.
  • Clingy Jealous Girl: Tamara, to Bill. She has a crush on him before dying, then after resurrecting Tamara attempts to kill his wife, making it clear nothing will stop her having him.
  • Compelling Voice: After resurrecting, Tamara simply has to touch people and afterward they'll do anything she says, even murder others or kill themselves.
  • Covers Always Lie: That axe that Tamara's wielding on the cover? She never uses it and promptly tosses it.
  • Damsel out of Distress: Alison manages to save herself when a brainwashed Shawn and Patrick attack her, killing them both defending herself.
  • Date Rape: Shawn and Patrick turn out to have drugged many girls' drinks before raping them in a motel room.
  • Deadly Prank: Shawn lures Tamara to the motel by arranging a Prank Date with her teacher, sets up a video feed, and invites his friends to watch her humiliation. Tamara goes berserk when she discovers the deception, and is accidentally killed in a scuffle with the pranksters.
  • Death by Falling Over: Tamara dies when she gets thrown to the floor during the motel room and strikes her head on the edge of a stand on her way down.
  • Death by Gluttony: Tamara psychically forces the bulimic Kisha to gorge herself to death. Chloe and Jesse manage to drag her away from the buffet before she can do so, but not before she has gnawed several of her fingers down to the bone in the process.
  • Demonic Possession: Tamara becomes a wholly different person after resurrecting, and Chloe says the magic that she used possessed her. At the end of the film, Kisha is implied to become possessed as well.
  • Desk Sweep of Passion: Tamara has an erotic dream about her teacher Mr. Natolly. He picks her up in the classroom and then sweeps everything off of his desk as he lays her down on top of it.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Roger, though he went along with the others covering up Tamara's death, really didn't deserve to be forced into mutilating and then killing himself. Arguably it's also the case for Jesse and Kisha. They were assholes, sure, but not like Shawn and Patrick (a pair of serial rapists).
  • Dirty Old Man: Mr. Riley appears inside Tamara's room whilst drinking a beer and loudly exclaims that Tamara looks beautiful before telling her to come over to give him a hug. Tamara asks him if he always liked touching her. Mr. Riley rebuffs that and insists on getting some affection from her, telling Tamara that she is “his girl”, and that they are all that they have left for their family.
  • Double Entendre: While seducing Mr. Natolly:
    Tamara: It's getting wet... (Beat) ...the table.
  • Double Standard Rape: Female on Male: Averted. While they were undoubtedly assholes, still, Tamara's homoerotic attempted rape (they don't get to actual sex) of Shawn and Patrick is morally equated, by Tamara herself, to their date raping of countless young women.
  • Ear Ache: Under Tamara's influence, Roger cuts his own ear off, Van Gogh-style.
  • The End... Or Is It?: Kisha, still Brainwashed and Crazy even after Tamara's death, grabs Tamara's spell book out of the car.
  • Erotic Dream: The film opens with Tamara having an erotic dream about her English teacher Mr. Votally. However, just as the dream is about to get to the good part, it turns into a nightmare as Tamara realises her entire class is watching and laughing.
  • Evil Costume Switch: Tamara goes from a nerd to a Femme Fatale after her Face–Heel Turn.
  • Eye Remember: When Tamara touches someone and takes mental control of them, flashbacks appear of the victim's past in her pupil; generally showing her victim to be a horrible person. However, when she tries this on Chloe, all she gets is memories of Chloe being to nice to her, and she is unable to control her.
  • Eye Scream: Roger kills himself by driving a knife through his own eye.
  • Face–Heel Turn: Tamara before the prank: a girl who put her very safety on the line by exposing a concerted campaign of wrongdoing by the football team. Tamara after her resurrection: a murderous Femme Fatale on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge.
  • Fan Disservice:
    • Tamara's rotting decomposing corpse rising from the grave.
    • A flashback showing the balding, overweight alcoholic Mr. Riley sniffing his own daughter's hair lustfully while hugging her. No wonder Tamara snapped.
  • Femme Fatale
  • Fingore: Kisha gnaws several of her fingers down to the bone when psychically compelled to gorge herself by Tamara.
  • The Freelance Shame Squad: Almost the entire class bursts out laughing when Patrick humiliates Tamara in English by grabbing her witchcraft book and reading it out loud.
  • Fully-Clothed Nudity: Tamara reacts like she is totally naked when Shawn pulls the cover off the motel bed, even though she is still wearing a Black Bra and Panties.
  • Gorn: The kills can get very bloody.
  • Guy on Guy Is Hot: Tamara brainwashes Shawn and Patrick into making out and having sex for her enjoyment, so that they can experience what it's like to be in the position of the girls who they exploited for sex. Downplayed however in that the "sex" is so minimized that the two never even take off their jackets.
  • Heel Realization: Tamara finally realizes she's become evil by reading Chloe's mind to find that Chloe's completely innocent, something she'd never even considered before.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: Tamara towards the end of film when she tries to mind control Chloe, only to discover she is an innocent in all this and that, even though Tamara had a good reason for hunting down the "monsters" responsible for her torment even before her death, she nonetheless became just like the "monsters" before her by tormenting innocent people in her quest for revenge.
  • Heroic Suicide: Bill kills himself in order to break Tamara's curse and kill her again.
  • Hot Teacher: Bill. No wonder Tamara wants him. Ditto for his wife Allison, though she's a guidance counselor.
  • Hot Witch: Tamara, who is pretty even prior to coming back from the dead and practices witchcraft. After coming back, she's absolutely gorgeous.
  • If I Can't Have You…: Tamara's attitude towards Bill. Later inverted when Bill decides that, since Tamara can have nobody but him, he should kill himself.
  • Impromptu Tracheotomy: Allison stabs Patrick in the throat with a screwdriver when he attacks her in the basement. He then pulls the screwdriver out and stares at it blankly as he bleeds out.
  • Jerk Jock: Shawn and Patrick. They take performance-enhancing drugs, use date rape drugs on girls, and swear vengeance on Tamara for exposing them as drug cheats.
  • Karmic Death: Tamara loves to play with her victim's insecurities and deficiencies before inflicting Psychic Assisted Suicides on them. Roger, who did nothing while the rest of the group (minus Chloe) agreed to cover up Tamara's death, kills himself in a manner referencing the Three Wise Monkeys. Her father, a man who loved the bottle more than his (now ex-)wife, eats a glass beer bottle that tears apart his mouth, throat, and esophagus from the inside.
  • Karmic Rape: Shawn and Patrick frequently Date Rape their female classmates at parties. Tamara, using her mind-control powers, retaliates by forcing them to have sex... with each other. They get interrupted before it gets that far though.
  • Kick The Son Of A Bitch: Tamara towards her victims.
    • Shawn and Patrick die from Tamara's magic. Not only because they were responsible for her untimely demise, but due to their history of drugging and raping girls.
    • Once Tamara's discovers how her father really feels about her, she compels him to drink and then eat a whole six pack of beer bottle as payback for scaring off her mother and for fantasizing about molesting his own daughter.
  • Killing in Self-Defense: Alison is forced to kill both Shawn and Patrick after they attempt to murder her, in self-defense. She's very shaken by all of this afterward, realistically.
  • Kitchen Chase: Chloe and Jesse have to fight a Brainwashed and Crazy Kisha in the deserted kitchen of the hospital (although, oddly, one of the deep fryers is still running).
  • Lady in Red: Tamara wears red after she’s resurrected. It’s also fitting because there’s no red anywhere else in the movie.
  • Literal Metaphor: Roger's death. "See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil."
  • Manipulative Bastard: Mr. Riley. He tries to manipulate Tamara into giving him a hug once he seen how beautiful she looks. Tamara calls him out on it and he makes up a smug excuse of a lie by telling her that they're the only family the other has got left.
  • Men Are the Expendable Gender: The only people besides Tamara to die in the film are the male characters, while Chloe, Allison, and Kisha all live (Kisha is still under Tamara's spell though).
  • Mind Rape: Tamara does this to everyone she touches, but special mention goes out to what she does to Roger, forcing him to experience what it's like being Buried Alive, and to Kisha, exploiting her insecurity over her body. It gets graphic.
  • Missing Mom: Tamara's mom left due to her dad's crippling alcoholism. She resents him for this.
  • Monkey Morality Pose: The quotation the pose comes from is referenced by Roger during his Psychic-Assisted Suicide, in which he cuts off an ear (hear no evil) and the tip of his tongue (speak no evil) before finally shoving the box-cutter into his eye (see no evil).
  • Ms. Fanservice: Multiple:
    • Tamara is made for this trope (mainly due to the fact that she's portrayed by Jenna Dewan), especially during the sex scenes that she had with Bill in her dream during the beginning of the film and with Shawn and Patrick at a party during the second act.
    • There is also her Evil Costume Switch in the second act where she is transformed from a mousy, withdrawn nerdy girl into a very beautiful vamp with magic powers and the tendency to wear outfits (such as shirts that have low necklines, short skirts, a corset, and beautiful dresses) that highlight her voluptuous body: large breasts, broad shoulders and long toned yet shapely legs.
  • One-Word Title: First Name of Protagonist Title.
  • Only Sane Man: Chloe is the only one who stands firm on wanting to go to the police after the party.
  • Parental Incest: Part and parcel of Tamara's... troubled home life thanks to her father. The flashback when Tamara touches him shows he has at least been thinking about it, even if he hasn't acted on it yet.
  • Patricide: Tamara forces her father to kill himself by eating glass with her new power after coming back as evil.
  • Pervert Dad: Tamara's father, Mr. Riley, fantasizes sexually about his own daughter and asks her for a hug as soon as he sees how beautiful she is as she is getting dressed up for a party.
  • Perverted Sniffing: Mr. Riley sniffs his daughter Tamara's hair while in a father-daughter embrace in one flashback. It's implied that he can still smell the perfume his former wife wore on Tamara while he's hugging her.
    Mr. Riley: (while holding Tamara; thinking) I can still smell her. I can— I can still smell her, I can still smell her.
  • Percussive Prevention: Chloe sees that Kisha is on the phone to Tamara and asks her to lean in close so she can explain the plan, and then punches Kisha in the face to prevent her from telling Tamara their location.
  • Prank Date: Shawn, Patrick and Kisha arrange for Tamara to think she is meeting her English teacher (whom she has a crush on) at a sleazy motel, so they can video her and show the video around school to humiliate her. It turns into a Deadly Prank when Tamara snaps and fights back; suffering a fatal injury in the ensuing struggle
  • Professionals Do It on Desks: Tamara has an Erotic Dream about her English teacher Mr. Natolly. He sweeps the papers off the desk in his classroom and lifts her on to the desk in preparation for doing her, and then the dream shifts.
  • Psychic-Assisted Suicide: How Tamara kills Roger and her father. Roger is compelled to drive a knife through his eye, and her father to eat glass until he dies.
  • Rape by Proxy: Tamara orders Shawn to have sex with Patrick while they're under her spell. However, they don't get that far before getting interrupted.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Tamara delivers these to those she mind-controlled with her powers, specifically Roger, Mr. Riley, Sean, Patrick, Kisha and Chloe.
    Tamara: [to Mr. Riley; angry] If you loved Mom as much as you loved that bottle, then maybe she wouldn't have left. And you wouldn't be chasing your own daughter, you bastard!
  • The Reveal: In a flashback, it’s revealed that Mr. Riley’s alcoholism drove his wife away, he didn’t even bother to try to win her back and that he began to have sexual fantasies toward Tamara soon after.
  • School Newspaper Newshound: In life, Tamara busted the football team for using steroids. It's why they want revenge on her.
  • Self-Harm: Roger cuts his wrists.
  • Sequel Hook: Kisha grabs the spell book from the car at the end of the movie.
  • Serial Rapist: It's revealed that Shawn and Patrick raped many girls after drugging them.
  • Sexual Karma: What Tamara does to Sean and Patrick, as their punishment for using date rape drugs on girls..
  • She Cleans Up Nicely: Nerdy!Tamara actually looks very attractive when she dresses up for her meeting with "Bill". Then, of course, there's her Evil Costume Switch in the second act.
  • Shovel Strike: When Allison is attacked by Shawn in the basement, she grabs a shovel to defends her self. When Shawn snaps the head off it, she uses the handle as Broomstick Quarterstaff.
  • Slipping a Mickey: Shawn and Patrick habitually drug girls' drinks to then rape them.
  • Sick and Wrong: Tamara's reaction after discovering her father's incestuous fantasies towards her is to chastise him and then kill him soon after with her abilities.
  • I Surrender, Suckers: Tamara reluctantly obeys to her father's demands for a hug but uses her mind-controlling abilities to see into his mind and control him once she gets close enough.
  • Soft Glass: Averted with Tamara's father's death, in a very graphic manner.
  • Surfer Dude: Jesse sort of comes off like this with his shaggy hair and announcing he's just arrived from LA.
  • Taken During the Ending: At the climax of the film, Bill jumps off the school roof and takes Tamara with him, killing themselves and supposedly ending her curse. However, in the last scene of the movie, we can see Kisha's arms reaching into the teacher's car where the spell book was, and takes it with her.
  • Tap on the Head: Averted with Tamara, who is killed when she knocks her head on the edge of a table. Played straight when Chloe punches out Kisha, though, and when Allison knocks out Sean.
  • Teacher/Student Romance: Tamara wants this with Bill, much to his embarrassment and eventual misfortune.
  • That Man Is Dead: Tamara in her undead form when the others say that there's some good left in her to do the right thing.
    Tamara: No! Tamara is dead!
  • A Threesome Is Hot: Tamara lures Shawn and Patrick into a room alone with her by promising them a threesome. It turns out she's got very different plans for the pair...
  • Tongue Trauma: Under Tamara's control, Roger cuts out his own tongue.
  • Twofer Token Minority: Kisha, a girl who's black or mixed race, is the sole character of color.
  • The Vamp: Tamara after her resurrection becomes this, able to seduce anyone she wants.
  • Villainous Incest: Mr. Riley gets drunk, abuses his daughter Tamara and has sexual fantasies about her on a daily basis. It's further implied by Tamara that he's molested her too (or at least wants to).
  • Vomit Indiscretion Shot: Tamara makes Kisha think that she's vomiting to the point where she's coughing up her guts.
  • Weight Woe: Flashbacks show Kisha binging on junk foods like Hostess Snack Cakes and then forcing herself to purge in a toilet later. Shawn and Patrick lampshade her eating salad like a rabbit. Tamara lampshades her eating disorders while taking control of her with her magic.