Movie of the Day: Jennifer 8 (1992)

20 Feb


The prime character in ‘Jennifer Eight’ is blind but everyone in the film might as well be blind, deaf and mute to be able to miss the obvious indications that lead right to the killer from the moment that individual is on screen. Everyone seems to look the other way to avoid the person who turns out to be the killer maybe because the movie still has an hour or so to pad out, the time that it becomes crystal clear to the audience who that person is.

The movie stars Andy Garcia as a cop with a movie cop name – John Berlin. He goes to investigate a murder, which leads to him digging through the trash to find body parts. He finds a woman’s severed hand and after an analysis turns up that the woman was blind because the fingertips have worn down from reading Braille and that the hand spent some time in a freezer.

He is soon on the trail of a killer who stalks blind women because several blind women have been killed in the area with that same M.O. Garcia interviews Helena (Uma Thurman), the woman’s roomy who is herself blind. She and the cop fall in love not because of a mutual attraction rather because they are a man and a woman thrown together in a movie in which her life will eventually be in danger and he will have to save the woman he loves.

Thurman is usually the luminous element to any movie but here her character is so pitiful that she doesn’t need protection so much as she just needs a big old hug. The movie might want you to have sympathy for her but it doesn’t back out when opportunity arises to have her slip nude into a bathtub while the killer skulks around her apartment.

‘Jennifer Eight’ almost counts down the minutes to the next inevitable move. The movie is set up in a series of unbelievably predictable vignette so familiar to this genre. The movie is one part thriller, one part love story, one part police procedural written by people who obviously believe that you can’t have one without the other.


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