This low-budget comedy-horror feature gives most of its cast “screenplay by” credit, so it’s quite likely they sort of made it up as they went along, or at least substantially improvised a pre-agreed story. Nothing wrong with that, especially since that spontaneity is really felt in the performances, particularly from Will Madden as a manic stalker with a slight lisp named Kevin who won’t shut up. Disgorging an unceasing, frenzied torrent of verbiage, Kevin has followed Jessica (Ashley Denise Robinson) from Los Angeles to New Mexico where she grew up. The title is a not especially amusing reference to Kevin’s speech issue; he stands outside her window calling for her at all hours, ranting about his feelings for her, emitting passive-aggressive fumes of toxicity that grow increasingly more aggressive-aggressive.
Luckily, Jessica is staying with her friend Elena (Callie Hernandez, a mistress of deadpan disdain who recently appeared in Shotgun Wedding). Elena knows exactly what Kevin’s problem is and knows how to get rid of him and it doesn’t involve appeasement or calling the police. Let’s just say there’s a supernatural component to the story. Her grandmother knew all about this stuff.
Director Pete Ohs and his screenwriting-cast deftly manage the transition from creepy to comic by slow degrees. The two female leads hold down the fort with dry delivery and somewhat haunted-looking expressions; they are bright attractive women who have had to put up with crap like this from leering men all their lives. There is something inherently dark and ominous about the desert setting, with its harsh sunlight, long empty roads seemingly to nowhere, and dusty, abandoned petrol stations. On the other hand, long-held, static shots somehow punch up the comedy, as if the camera is just looking on in detachment at the folly it beholds.
• Jethica is released on 6 February on digital platforms.