Jennifer’s Body (2009)

Directed By: Karyn Kusama
Written By: Diablo Cody
Starring: Megan Fox
  Amanda Seyfried
  Johnny Simmons
  Adam Brody
Jennifer’s Body

Jennifer’s Body is well written and funny, but the lack of blood, tension, scares and menace will leave most horror audiences cold. It is an enjoyable romp without any real nastiness, a good time which says nothing interesting and does nothing amazing but certainly leaves a broad smile. It is a bouncy castle of a film.

Jennifer and “Needy” are BFFs (best friends forever, for the vastly uninitiated / over 30s) and have a relationship bordering dangerously on love. Jennifer is the school hottie, a cheerleader and fantasy for every boy in school. Needy is a solid-gold nerd and doey-eyed virgin with a band-geek boyfriend. When the girls head to a local bar to listen to relatively unknown rock group Low Shoulder, everything goes to hell. The bar burns down, the girls barely escape and Low Shoulder kidnap Jennifer and drive off into the woods. Needy is frantic, but when Jennifer turns up at her house later, covered in blood and vomiting black goo, her nightmare has only just begun. Jennifer has changed, and suddenly every high school boy is a potential victim to the ever-hungry Jennifer and her irresistible body…

Jennifer’s Body is not scary and fails at every point to build tension. The score suggests you should be prepared to be afraid, but Karyn Kusama’s direction is too bright, chirpy and without menace, it just becomes merely intriguing and expected. This is not a huge surprise coming from the director of Aeon Flux and Girlfight, but the threat of Jennifer is more amusing than terrifying. Coupled with Jennifer’s pointlessly CGI-ed mouthful of teeth and a distinct refusal to show much blood, it sometimes boarders on laughable. One scene that uses the reactions of woodland animals to suggest Jennifer’s violent jock-attack is sniggeringly bad. It’s generally entertaining stuff, though, and the characters really pull the piece together, mostly thanks to the excellent scripting skills of Oscar winner Diablo Cody. It’s just a shame they cast Megan Fox as the lead.

Megan Fox is annoying throughout. As the non-demonic Jennifer, she plays the naively slutty school sex object perfectly, a frustrating blend of cheeky, dim-witted and sharp-tongued BFF. As the demonically possessed Jennifer, she is wild and melodramatic, a ridiculous blend of her former self and a frowny, cruel-smiling cliché of evil. Fox looks better than she acts, and can never convince as a school-girl, especially when the supporting cast does it so effectively. Fox is the pull for this movie, and although incredibly sexy throughout, her years of bit parts and running away from CGI robots has meant that taking a lead role that doesn’t involve bending provocatively over a car is quite a challenge, and one she fails to meet. On the flip side, the rest of the cast are excellent.

Amanda Seyfried is brilliant and loveable as Needy, even proving herself compelling viewing in the annoying flash-forward prologue that serves as a needless spoiler for the rest of the film. Even bit players Johnny Simmons, Adam Brody, J.K. Simmons and Kyle Gallner stand out as interesting and exciting characters whom all out-shine Fox completely.

Jennifer’s Body is certainly enjoyable – it is sexy, sassy, sharp-witted and funny – but it isn’t a horror film. It’s a dark high-school comedy, just with added fangs.

Rating: ★★★★★★★☆☆☆

3 Comments on “Jennifer’s Body”

  1. Sarah Law says:

    I really didn’t get on with this. I watched it last night and it was enjoyable enough but I really can’t get on board with Diablo Cody’s scripting. I don’t think she’s nearly as clever as she thinks she is and I’m probably too old for all the ‘teen speak’. It’s as if she’s watched Clueless over and over and decided to make her own version of that awful Valley Girl slang. That being said, I didn’t hate Megan Fox nearly as much as I’d expected to. She was actually kind of watchable.

  2. The Scullion says:

    Cody’s writing does appear forced here, but it’s a matter of taste – I know a lot of people who detested Juno’s script. I loved it, taking it in the other-worldly sense of Brick-style language twisting.

    It was enjoyable fun, silly and mostly pointless. On a second watch, I feel 7 skulls may be a little generous, but that’s how I felt when I first watched it.

    And as I said… really not a horror…

    • Sarah Law says:

      Oh, I definitely agree. It’s a love it/hate it writing style.

      Yeah, you’re right about it not really being a horror. It has horror elements but it’s more of a Heathers-style comedy, I guess!

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