Queer/gender identity horror goes found footage?

2 jennifer cover

2016 film 2 Jennifer is sort of a “spinoff” of the 2013 film To Jennifer, which gained notoriety for being shot on an iPhone, but you don’t need to see that film to see this one.

But in a nutshell, To Jennifer makes The Blair Witch Project look like a good movie. Director James Cullen Bressack plays the cameraman filming a video diary for the main guy, who has determined his long distance girlfriend is cheating on him. They set out on a trip to confront her. The main guy spends the entire movie getting people to tell her she’s a bitch on camera, fighting with people, and having meltdowns.

to jennifer cover

The longer the film goes on, the more it seems the dialogue is ad-libbed, and the easiest dialogue for everyone to come up with is some form of the word “fuck.” The 76-minute length feels like an eternity, but we finally reach Jennifer’s house for the usual found footage finale in the dark. The cameraman sounds emotionally underwhelmed by the situation at hand, which is how we feel when the conclusion comes during the closing credits. It’s found audio horror.

So now on to the much more intriguing—and sexually confused—2 Jennifer. However, if you haven’t seen 2 Jennifer yet and want to put the queer pieces together yourself, stop reading, go watch it, and then come back and overanalyze with me, because this blog is filled with SPOILERS.

In this film, at the request of To Jennifer director James Cullen Bressack, Spencer (played by the director Hunter Johnson) sets out to shoot a sequel with the help of his cute buddy Mack.

2 jennifer mack

Spencer is obsessed with casting the right Jennifer. Like…he is literally searching for someone named Jennifer to play Jennifer. Right off the bat, it’s pretty obvious he’s kind of weird.

A chunk of the movie focuses on a revolving door of women as Spencer attempts to find his Jennifer, so there’s very little going on in the horror department. It would be easy to argue that the film should not be 87 minutes long since it becomes very repetitive (as do I every time I mention the need for movies to be shorter in my blogs).

So let’s get on with the queer aspects of 2 Jennifer that position it as a film about a tragically suppressed gay or trans individual…or as we were known in the good old days of horror—fucking deviant psycho killers.

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Spencer at first seems to be somewhat of a creeper, approaching strange girls with the old, “Are you an actress, because I’m making a movie” line and not backing off when being told to back the fuck off. He definitely seems to have an unhealthy attachment to this fictional Jennifer character and not so much of a grip on reality. Oh…but he is a guy so sweet he’ll compliment a woman on her lipstick…

Pay attention to what happens once he first meets up with Mack. When they initially discuss director James Cullen Bressack, the term “diva” is dropped (by Mack). As they walk up the steps to Mack’s apartment, the camera locks on Mack’s ass then quickly shifts upward as soon as Mack turns around.

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When they enter the apartment, Mack’s roommate is on all fours doing yoga in spandex shorts and a pink tank top. He kicks his legs over his head and says he’s working on opening up his anus…and Spencer’s camera moves right in for a close-up. Spencer comments that the roommate is really close to being able to suck his own dick… Hell, I was wondering about the roommate’s sexual orientation. Along with the anus opening, he expresses his desire to be a screamer on camera, and later gets it immediately when Spencer makes a reference to flying monkeys….

2 jennifer yoga

In the middle of the night, Spencer sneaks into Mack’s room and films his shirtless body while he’s sleeping.

2 jennifer mack at night

The second time he does it, he’s wearing a glove and simulates running his hand down Mack’s body, forming it into a fist much like he’s masturbating Mack’s entire body as if it’s a penis.

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Once the auditions begin, Spencer rips apart most of the girls, particularly…Felissa Rose. Indeed, the original Angela from Sleepaway Camp has a cameo. But I believe this is much more than a stunt cameo. Anyone who knows what we learn about Angela in the final frame of that 1983 slasher classic will later realize this is a very significant foreshadowing of the end of the film. And by the way, Felissa naturally steals the show in her brief scene.

2 jennifer felissa rose

Spencer soon begins to really show his psycho side on camera—thanks to director Hunter Johnson’s fantastic performance. In a chilling scene, Spencer films himself naked while calling his chosen Jennifer to meet with him for dinner. As he hangs up, he fondles his genitals.

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The guys have their first rehearsal with Jennifer, and Spencer seems jealous of the chemistry between Mack and Jennifer.

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Afterward, Mack raves about Jennifer’s talent and looks, but Spencer argues that she’s not all that pretty.

When Mack overhears Spencer talking in the bathroom, Spencer opens the door in a towel and says he was on a call with Jennifer, but Mack notes that Spencer’s phone is not in the bathroom. Spencer claims he meant to say he was rehearsing in his head with Jennifer (yeah, because she’s fricking in there with him!). He then tells Mack not to pursue Jennifer romantically because she’s not right for him. This is the one point at which an important question is addressed—does Spencer identify as heterosexual? Mack politely asks if he’s interested in her, so it can be assumed that from Mack’s perspective in their world, his buddy Spencer is interested in women or has at least presented himself to Mack as being interested in women. When they’re done conversing, Spencer sincerely compliments Mack’s appearance and Mack jokingly compliments Spencer’s towel attire.

In a meta moment, the guys get invited to a party at James Cullen Bressack’s house. A guy in a Virgin Mary rainbow T-shirt invites them in and does the Va-jay-jay tongue gesture for Spencer (hm…).

2 jennifer VJ

When they introduce themselves to Bressack (who brazenly plays himself—snorting coke) and inform him they are making his sequel, he has no idea what they are talking about, but then recognizes Spencer as that “Buffalo Bill fool” who sent him all those weird pictures. Doh! Silence of the Cyber Lunatic! A fight ensues and they are kicked out of the house…Spencer laughing the whole time.

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As they’re driving away, Mack is screaming about Spencer being a liar and demanding he get out of his life. Fearing the rejection, Spencer first insists everything will be fine, that they just need to go to Jennifer’s house. But when Mack persists, Spencer says, “I’ll leave, I’ll leave.” Right…SPENCER will leave, because Mack doesn’t want Spencer…

This is Spencer’s turning point, literally. He knocks Mack out and goes on a killing spree on his way to Jennifer’s house. Deliciously, James Cullen Bressack makes another appearance…

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At Jennifer’s house, it’s a bloody massacre! And then…Spencer begins to transform into Jennifer.

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He puts on her dress. He tells her he’s prettier than her.

2 jennifer transition pretty

Mack comes in to stop the madness, and Spennifer says the plan all along has been to kill Jennifer. But while killing Jennifer (and everyone else), Spennifer admits defeat when it comes to killing the Jennifer inside himself.

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Stepping in front of the female Jennifer, blocking her existence from the camera, taking her place, Spennifer sobs, repeating “I’m Jennifer!” as he, well, cuts Spencer out of his life once and for all. It’s as gruesome as it sounds. Hey, if you’re going to reference Sleepaway Camp in your movie, you damn well better top the ending somehow.

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As unimaginably painful as the self-reassignment surgery must be, the process is complete and Jennifer is now smiling with relief, happiness, and self-acceptance as she joyfully embraces the mantra “I’m Jennifer” and takes a selfie with Mack, knowing they can finally be together…eternally.

2 jennifer selfie

About Daniel

I am the author of the horror anthologies CLOSET MONSTERS: ZOMBIED OUT AND TALES OF GOTHROTICA and HORNY DEVILS, and the horror novels COMBUSTION and NO PLACE FOR LITTLE ONES. I am also the founder of BOYS, BEARS & SCARES, a facebook page for gay male horror fans! Check it out and like it at www.facebook.com/BoysBearsandScares.
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