Last week, the DePauw Art Department hosted a screening of JETHICA, a 2022 film directed by DePauw Class of 2005 alum Peter Ohs. Described as a horror-satire film, JETHICA makes use of a nine-person cast and the stunning New Mexico landscape to tell the story of Jessica (Ashley Denise Robinson) and Elena (Callie Hernandez). Jessica, who has fled to New Mexico to escape a stalker named Kevin (Will Madden), runs into her high school friend Elena, who becomes determined to help her friend. However, when Kevin returns to stalk Jessica despite impossible odds, Jessica and Elena are forced to turn to the dead for help.
With a 91% on Rotten Tomatoes, JETHICA has received stunning reviews by critics. Ohs’ use of sound and scenery is impressive, balancing the tension and humor of the film well. Throughout the DePauw screening, viewers could feel the mood of the room slowly shift from tense to full of laughter. The character of Kevin prompted many laughs, along with his ghostly counterpart Benny (Andy Faulkner), both of whom delivered deadpan comedy throughout the film.
After the screening, students were offered the opportunity to ask Ohs questions about the filmmaking process, his creative choices, and his career in film. Throughout the question and answer portion of the screening, Ohs emphasized the importance of enjoying the filmmaking process.
“I wanted to challenge that [filmmaking is stressful and hard]. . . The desire was to have fun with my friends making a movie. Because it was fun when I was 15, and I just try to make a movie the way I would make it when I was 15,” Ohs said.
Ohs also spoke on his creative process, along with how he managed creating a film on a small budget. JETHICA was filmed on a budget of $10,000, 80% of which went to the actors.
“It was just me and the crew, which just means that it was very small, very efficient. . . The way it was able to be what it is, is number one to not fight what it is. . . I got an AirBnB and put the price slider to as low as it went. . . one of the locations was the trailer [the setting of the movie],” Ohs said.
Ohs noted the importance of location in his film: “The pictures of the trailer on Airbnb were already cinematic, were already an iconic location, a good movie location. And I said, ‘Okay, that would be a good location.’ That’s what I call ‘narratively inspiring.’”
Overall, Ohs’ JETHICA was a tense, yet hilarious film, which managed to express a lot on a small budget and an even smaller crew. For those interested in watching the film themselves, JETHICA is available to rent for $4.99 on Amazon Prime.