SXSW Film Review: Jethica

Supernatural tragedy hamstrung by its title


Exes are annoying. Dead exes, doubly so, especially when they won't lie down.

Supernatural relationship satire Jethica is a story told by Elena (Callie Hernandez) after hooking up with an unseen man in the back of her car. She tells it flatly, about how she ran into an old friend of hers, Jessica (Ashley Denise Robinson), in the desert, and she had a story about how she was on the run from her stalker ex, Kevin, who then turns up on Elena's porch, ramblingly professing his love. Which is a bit odd, considering that Kevin's very dead and very much wrapped in plastic in the back of Jessica's car.

At a sparse 70 minutes, Jethica falls somewhere between not quite having enough momentum to fill its ideas, and not having enough ideas to fill its space. There are probably great 30 minute and 90 minute versions of this, but instead there are moments of aimless filler that feel like director Pete Ohs (co-credited as writer with the core cast) was trying to extend what he had to feature length, rather than making a full feature.

Yet there's still plenty that's fascinating about Jethica. While it's not hard to put the pieces together about any of the surprises, it's built on some intriguing premises in the way it treats the shadows of menacing exes, and their pitiful realities. The flow is sad and dreamlike, rather than played for overt horror or laughs, and that tone wraps like mist around Hernandez's jaded and unruffled turn as the somewhat witchy Elena

Her performance, and that of Will Madden as Kevin, give a dark observational humor to Jethica, which sits at odds with the title. Madden channels an absurd intensity into the self-obsessed sprit, making him both pathetic and menacing at the same time. So why give the film a name that mocks his lisp?

It's a real shame, unnecessary and out of keeping with the film, much like how Licorice Pizza is dragged down by the Jerry Frick "Japanese accent" sequences. Unlike Paul Thomas Anderson's mistake that could only be fixed by a lot of editing, Jethica should just treat this old spelling like a bad typo.


Visions, World Premiere
Friday, March 18, 2:15pm, Alamo Lamar

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