Tamara immediately has the feel of a throwback to a 1970s/80s film. It initially feels as though it is one of the efforts that set-out to imitate Carrie (1976) and its plot about a bullied high school girl discovering supernatural powers and using them to take revenge on her tormentors see the likes of The Initiation of Sarah (1978), Jennifer (1978), Fear No Evil (1981) and, in particular, Evilspeak (1981). In this case, the comeuppance of the supernaturally-empowered teenage underdog theme has been married with the essential plot of I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997) wherein a group of teens end up killing someone, hide the body and make a pact never to speak of it again only for the murdered person to come back and start eliminating them. That maybe and a few additions of the teen witchcraft themes of The Craft (1996) although the witchcraft angle is surprisingly forgotten as soon as the film gets Jenna Dewan back from the dead (but does feature crucially at the climax). The mix of plot elements here is surprisingly similar to the later Megan Fox vehicle Jennifers Body (2009).
Jeremy Haft approaches Tamara with tongue planted in cheek. This is evident from the opening daydream scene, which injects a decided dose of sizzle with Jenna Dewan walking through the school hall dressed to kill and seducing teacher Matthew Marsden. The films tone sits just between the amusing and dully processed teen formula. The most entertaining of its despatches is the scene where nerd Marc DeVigne is possessed to slice of his ear, tongue and then stab himself in the eye in a gory mimicry of the old see no evil, hear no evil. The film is at its best when it is digging beneath the identification roles of the teen audience like when Jenna Dewan seduces the two jocks Bryan Clark and Gil Hacohen and makes them turn from her to each other whos going to be the pitcher and who the catcher? or when she causes Melissa Elias to start compulsively purging.
On the other hand, Jeremy Haft throws in at least two irritating dream scares with Jenna Dewans corpse coming out of the grave after people it is always a sign when a horror film needs to do this that it has run out of scare material of its own. Ultimately though, Tamara comes with little substance beyond the slick packaging on screen and almost nothing that gives it a life beyond a piece of momentary passing popcorn of interest to its intended teen audience.
The films one ace in the hole proves to be Jenna Dewan. The transformation from nerd girl to sexpot is by-the-book cliche but Dewan incarnates the latter half with a genuine sizzle, managing to make everything she says into a seductive come-on or a taunt. It is a surprise or maybe testament to how little Tamara ended up being seen that Dewan has not gone onto anything else of substance.