The Movie Waffler SXSW 2022 Review - JETHICA | The Movie Waffler

SXSW 2022 Review - JETHICA

jethica review
Two women attempt to exorcise a supernatural stalker.

Review by Eric Hillis

Directed by: Pete Ohs

Starring: Callie Hernandez, Will Madden, Ashley Denise Robinson, Andy Faulkner


Director Pete Ohs' Jethica has a set-up that would make for a terrifying supernatural thriller, and in its early moody scenes it certainly seems as though that's what we're in for. But then the mood shifts as Ohs delivers a quirky, deadpan comedy that will amuse some and frustrate others.

jethica review

It opens with a young woman, Elena (Callie Hernandez), having sex in the back of an unseen man's car. She's elusive in answering his questions, until she shockingly admits she once killed a man. Her unseen date assumes it's a joke on Elena's part, but then the film flashes back to unspool a story involving stalking of a supernatural variety.


While living in New Mexico at the trailer home she inherited from her grandmother, Elena bumps into an old friend, Jessica (Ashley Denise Robinson). The latter initially declines Elena's offer of catching up over coffee but then decides to take her up on it. Apprehensive at first, Jessica relaxes and tells Elena that she's on the run from Kevin (Will Madden), a deranged man who has been incessantly stalking her, both online and physically. His last video located him in New Mexico, apparently on her trail.

jethica review

The next morning Elena wakes to find a man outside her trailer who matches Kevin's description. Jessica denies it's Kevin, even though he recognizes her and is calling her name. When the man disappears, Jessica takes Elena to her car, revealing the corpse of Kevin in her trunk. It seems Kevin has returned from beyond the grave to continue stalking his prey.


What a setup, right? What should make for a creepy cross between Carnival of Souls and It Follows however morphs into a minimalist comedy along the lines of Jim Jarmusch at his least amusing. Kevin mopes around the area, ranting on about his unrequited love for Jessica, until he meets up with another lonely male ghost, Benny (Andy Faulkner), and the two become buddies. All that sinister SouthWestern atmosphere, reminiscent of Near Dark and The Hitcher, disappears like tumbleweed in a storm, replaced by a comedy that might have an amusing premise but fails to generate any laughs.

jethica review

I'm struggling to think of a horror comedy with such a whiplash-inducing pivot from one genre to the other. Horror fans will find much to enjoy in the film's atmospheric first half, and Robinson gives a convincing portrayal of a woman whose nerves have been frayed by unwanted attention. But the point where the film reveals itself to be a comedy will likely lose a considerable chunk of its audience, this reviewer included.



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