Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Genre Character of the Week: Jennifer Corvino

Last week my friend Dr. Teeth leant me some pretty cool comics (so far) and a movie starring a 13-year-old Jennifer Connelly called Phenomena. The movie actually kind of has to be seen to be believed, but I’ve got to say that after watching it I was easily able to find my next genre character of the week, Jennifer Corvino.

Jennifer (played by Jennifer Connelly) is the teen daughter of a film celebrity who has just been sent to a private school for girls in Switzerland. Unfortunately for Jennifer, this is happening in a film written, directed and produced by Dario Argento; the guy who ten years earlier created the film Suspiria, about a young girl sent to a private school in Switzerland, and all sorts of horrible things occur throughout.

Like the heroes of many genre stories, Jennifer has both a talent and a bit of a handicap; she can empathically communicate with insects and she’s a sleepwalker (I didn’t say the two things had to be balanced out). Jennifer is also perhaps the only person who may be able to solve a rash of serial killings going on in the area. (As a father of two teenage daughters myself, I think I might ask any potential school about serial killers in the area who are attacking their students BEFOREI enrolled my kids, but hey, I’m crazy that way).

The movie has all sorts of concepts and ideas running through it, a sort of “throw everything at the wall and see what sticks approach” that I quite appreciated. My favourite five (with only mild spoilers)

1) A Narrator who only speaks once, for about 30 seconds and is then never used again in the entire film.
2) A girl who can communicate with insects
3) A Chimpanzee plays a significant role in the film
4) The soundtrack is actually pretty good – I found myself bopping to the music throughout
5) The kindly old man helping Jennifer through the film is played by Donald Pleasance, who I first saw in Prince of Darkness and loved in Halloween.

If you can get a hold of the film, it is pretty fun (although it is horror, so be aware there is some graphic violence). Is it my favourite Jennifer Connelly film? No, that’s still a toss-up betweenLabyrinth and Dark City, but it is definitely worth the watch.

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