See Jane Run
Jennifer Clary as Jane
Sasha Andreev as Andrew Kessler
Joe Estevez as Andrew Kessler Sr.
John Rodriguez as James
Kevin Haberer as Neil
Jeremy Steel as Tyler
Samantha Bianchini as Randi
Micro-budget independent horror can take many forms from gore-fest to art house. I love low budget Indy flicks primarily because the story must carry the production and every supporting element (acting, editing, sound) must really “be there” if the thing is going to fly. The challenge for a low-budget Independent film maker lies in the simplicity itself…every element portrayed will be under the viewer’s microscope because there are not lavish visuals, dramatic effects or big-named actors to divert attention.
After watching See Jane Run, and Independent offering from JenKev Productions I have mixed feelings. See Jane Run begins with four young people on a road trip bickering in the car. The driver, James (John Rodriguez) is leading the foursome to a historical landmark of some kind, a detour from their primary destination. The front seat passenger and James’ girlfriend, Randi (Samantha Bianchini) is not happy with the change of intended routes and makes her feelings very known…she is a bit of a bitch. In the back seat is James’ brother Neil (Kevin Haberer, also co-producer – the “kev” part of JenKev Productions) who is the resident “too cool for school” teenager. Finally, there’s Jane (Jennifer Clary, also the co-producer – the “Jen” part). Jane is bookish, quiet and somber, and steals glances at James in between voicing her approval of the detour.
As the crew searches for the historical landmark they encounter a pedestrian on the side of the road who has obviously had car trouble (Jeremy Steel). Girlfriend Randi, it seems, is a bit of a slut and insists that they pick up this stranger and give him a ride to the nearest service station.
Once at the station the hitchhiker (nicknamed “smoking friend”) learns that his car will take a full day to fix, and joins the foursome on their trek to the monument. They also go to have some of the “best barbeque around” on the suggestion of the station attendant. The arrival at the “barbeque joint” is confusing to all as the address the station attendant provided is a personal residence in a housing development. The owner of the house greets them in the street and invites them all in for dinner (which, by the way, is hamburgers…not barbeque). For most this will be the last dinner they ever eat.
See Jane Run is a very interesting ride in terms of story. First there is the base story of the road trip and the excursion for barbeque along with themes of strange religion and cannibalism as a form of spiritual power. Beyond that there are interesting dynamics between each of the characters as the inner workings of the characters are explored on screen. Overall the character development and “Payton Place” drama elements are very well done. This is a psychotic soap opera.
There are some good gore scenes in See Jane Run, but they would seem somewhat out of place had I not known from the beginning that this is a horror movie. One request though – drop the computer generated blood. The psychological elements played well, but the horror elements generally did not. The suspense bits that were thrown in were hit and miss – I could tell what director Ryan Webb was trying to do, but the mood was just a hair off.
All said and done, See Jane Run requires a bit of thinking. This is not a bad thing of course…it just is. The story is great and the acting is excellent. The production quality is outstanding also, which is one of the areas where micro-budget independent horror often fails. The editing and sound are as well done as any studio production out there. The only gripes are that See Jane Runcan be a bit slow at times and crosses that line into “art house horror” too far for my personal taste.