Jane (2022), directed and co-written by Sabrina Jaglom, is a supernatural, psychological thriller. Rishi Rajani also joins the writing credits. While Jaglom has a short she directed and production credits for Home Again, this is her first full-length directorial debut.

Seemingly perfect high school senior, Olivia (Madelaine Petsch), struggles with grief from the recent loss of a friend. When she gets deferred from her dream college she begins to spiral and experiences a series of increasingly frightening panic attacks. In an attempt to regain some sense of control, she embarks on a social media-fueled rampage against those that stand in the way of her success but, as things escalate, she is forced to confront – and ultimately embrace – her darkest impulses in order to get ahead.

Jane 2022 film review

Depicting violence, suicide, and mental health, viewers are provided with content warnings at the start of the film so they know what they’re getting into.

Right from the initial scenes, we’re treated to Olivia’s type A personality, hinting at her need for control. Her workout clothes are laid out the night before for her morning jog, timers are set for every morning task, even though she is in a queue like an automaton. Is she simply prepared for success, or is there something darker brewing beneath the desire to be so perfectly in control?

What starts out as revenge against a new transfer student stealing her spotlight, Olivia convinces her friend Izzy (played by Chloe Bailey) to use their deceased friend Jane’s account for acts that have larger and larger consequences. High school mean girls, a grudge-filled ghost, and excellent psychological portrayals make this one to not miss.

Madelaine Petsch steals the show with her portrayal of Olivia, in a role much darker than what she normally plays on screen. Riverdale fans will also appreciate seeing Petsch in a different light. Furthermore, the depth and manipulation involved keep her role of Olivia as a dynamic character that will leave one questioning, how much was her own fragile mental health at play? How much had Jane affected her after death, or maybe even with potential possession or influence? Queries like these leave the film steeping after viewing, allowing for a deeper enjoyment than initially expected.

The cinematics and effects fit a typical teen drama, but that isn’t a bad thing in this case. Without trying to stretch the budget too tightly with bad CGI or unnecessary makeup that isn’t believable, incredulity is left behind, leaving natural, believable scenes in place instead. Nothing is out of place.

At only 83 minutes, Jane is an easy flick to fit in between binge-worthy seasons of your latest show to reset your viewing palate. The pacing flows smoothly to set up the character’s relationships, allowing for the deterioration of psyches before the supernatural happenings ramp up.

While it is set for a young adult fan base, Whispering Corridors enthusiasts will appreciate the similar themes, and fans of any age will appreciate the comeuppance of those in high school who deserve may or may not deserve it— teachers included.

For an American spin on the vengeful ghost mixed with the high school mean girls trope that is psychological and satisfying, check out Jane. Released by 101 Films and streaming on Creator+.

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