Opening with close-up shots that make routines of regular female grooming seem much more squirm-inducing than usual, director Jeanne Jo’s horror-comedy short film Tampoon (U.S., 2015) goes on to provide more visuals likely to make viewers both groan and laugh uncomfortably, sometimes at the same moment. Jo has made a fun film that features a possessed tampon as one of its three characters.
Tampoon opens with Miranda (Alexandra August) getting dressed up and readying for a date, including inserting a tampon. Her suitor Sean (J.J. Dunlap) – to use the term “boyfriend” would be stretching the definition of that word, judging from his boorish behavior – shows up dressed to impress no one. He would much rather stay in and simply have sex than escort Miranda to the party to which she is looking forward. Her expressions show that she questions her choice in male companionship, especially when Sean bluntly answers a question of hers that seems to take out whatever minute degree of charm he has in him.
Miranda comes up with a compromise, and as she attempts to pull out her tampon, things begin to get both absurd and weird. This is when the horror comedy level escalates.
Alexandra August seems to have a menstrual period theme in her cinematic work recently, as she co-wrote and stars in Vinyasa Flow (2016), about a woman whose period starts during yoga class. In Tampoon, August shows a bubbly screen presence with a flair for comic timing. J.J. Dunlap also gives a good performance as a no-goodnik guy on the make, playing the part believably without overdoing it.
Jeanne Jo, who directs from a screenplay that she co-wrote with Nicholas Musurca, shows a strong aptitude for visuals and keeps things rolling at a steady pace, aided by Serena Kuo’s cinematography and Matt Zunich’s editing. Tommy Walter’s score sets the perfect tone for both Tampoon’s suspensful and comic moments.
Currently on the festival circuit, Tampoon is an amusing short film that shows Jeanne Jo and her cast and crew to be talents to keep an eye on for the future.
Tampoon: (4 / 5)
Tampoon screens at Scream Queen FilmFest Tokyo (SQFFT), October 22-28, 2016.