Thursday, September 15, 2022

Jane: Movie Review

Dark and chilling thriller.
Jane opens with Jane (Chloe Yu) committing suicide (don't worry, not a spoiler). Back at school, Principal Rhodes (Melissa Leo) is offering nice-sounding but meaningless platitudes about making other choices. None of the girls are listening. This is a private, all-girls school which rich families use as a jumping board for getting into Ivy League universities.   2022

Directed by: Sabrina Jaglom

Screenplay by: Sabrina Jaglom

Starring: Madelaine Petsch, Chloe Bailey

The girls who weren’t friends with Jane have to get back to worrying about their future. The girls who were friends with Jane – Olivia (Madelaine Petsch) and Izzy (Chloe Bailey) – now have to add the weight of grief and guilt to the stress of getting into a good school. Olivia is obsessed with Stanford, which she thinks she’s a shoe-in for as she leads the school’s debate team.

The debate teacher introduces Olivia to a new student. A star debater from New York city who could help co-chair. Unsurprisingly, Olivia is pissed. Remember this is a rich, elite private school full of girls who hate competition – actually, let me rephrase that, they hate losing.

Jane is a dark thriller with echoes of Gossip Girl and something like Swimfan or Heathers. Olivia and Izzy use Jane’s old social media account to torture the new girl, but then, well, everything takes on a life of its own. Olivia can’t escape Jane’s presence. She sees her image, her ghost, and unable to shake it, Olivia starts leaning into the psychosis and accepts Jane’s presence. Meanwhile, Olivia and Izzy’s friendship starts fracturing when either somebody else is using Jane’s account or one of them is not telling the truth.

The film is a much darker, more indie version of Netflix’s Do Revenge. Dropping the glossy and shiny exterior of bad girls getting even, Jane takes on a more chilling tone and digs deeper into Olivia. Asking questions such as was it the death of Jane that brought out this side of Olivia? Or perhaps she was always like this and no one ever noticed? Jane adds an interesting presence to the movie without ever being her own character.

With a mostly non-existent score and no other background distractions, Jane very efficiently creates the dark tone and chilling atmosphere with a minimal budget. You get drawn into this rich, ultra-competitive private school atmosphere, where the girls let very few see who they really are.

One of the Best of 2022

Similar Titles:

  Susie Searches (2022) - A darkly comedic, unsettling delight.

  Do Revenge (2022) - A glossy and shiny version of a dark comedy.