November 16, 2018 | ° F

NJFF: Calendar Girl

It's an age old tale - girl is lonely and unsatisfied with life, girl meets guy, infamous serial killer on the loose, infamous serial killer stalks girl, girl must fight for her life ... and it's ever so romantic. Derek Lindeman's Calendar Girl is a romantic comedy at its very heart, but manages to successfully inject aspects of the typical slasher film into it which ultimately gives it quite a unique flavor.

Ari (Jensen Bucher) is a complicated, dark and mysterious girl. While she comes off as a tad cold initially, her inner warmth is ever-present. Ari is stuck working a dead-end job at a local diner, run by her annoyingly corny boss, Bob (Brian Gallagher). Fed up with her excessively cheery co-workers, dead-beat diner patrons and a dysfunctional relationship with her ex-boyfriend; Ari finds solace in hanging out with her soon to be married best friend, consuming copious amounts of hard liquor and following the news cover of the infamous Calendar Girl Killer. Ari progressively becomes more enchanted with this killer, who intricately stalks women, seduces them, murders them and then photographs them in a pin-up girl motif. However things become real as Ari's description matches the one the Calendar Girl Killer posts in the newspaper of his upcoming December girl to complete his calendar.

Jensen Bucher deserves a round of applause for her portrayal of Ari, the young heroine of the film. Ari's multi-dimensional personality is fleshed out in such a gratifying manner that it would seem that the role was made for her. Ari's character alone is strong enough to carry the film, as the plot of Calendar Girl is amplified through her perspective. At times she is sweet, other times bitterly cold, every scene of the movie carries the same tone as Ari's mood. However the rest of the cast performs commendably and acts to colorize the world of this film. Brian Gallagher earns credit as well, for being able to highlight Bob's quirky characteristics and charmingly geeky outlook on life.

Calendar Girl should not be viewed as a horror film. On the contrary, the somewhat cheesy murder sequences serve as a comedic engine for the movie's plot. While aspects of the story may be corny and predictable at times, the genuine performances of the cast, and the dynamic relationships formed between their characters make up for this. Calendar Girl is at times suspenseful, at times sad, chiefly funny, constantly witty and a worthy addition to The New Jersey International Film Festival.

Calendar Girl will screen on Friday Jan. 20 at 7 p.m., in Voorhees Hall, room 105, on Douglass campus.

Alex Natanzon

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