Jennifer’s Body

Jennifer's Body

DIR: Karyn Kusama • WRI: Diablo Cody • PRO: Daniel Dubiecki, Mason Novick, Jason Reitman • DOP: M. David Mullen • ED: Plummy Tucker • DES: Arvinder Grewal • CAST: Megan Fox, Amanda Seyfried, Johnny Simmons, Adam Brody

We meet Needy Lesnicky (Amanda Seyfried) in a mental hospital. She’s a violent prisoner, but, as she tells us, she wasn’t always that way. It was her best friend Jennifer (Megan Fox) who caused all the problems; she came back a bloody-hungry monster after going off singer Nikolai (Brody) and his band…

Much anticipated – at least by some – Jennifer’s Body stars sex-bomb-of-the-moment Megan Fox and is written by Diablo Cody, the colourful character who won an Oscar® for last year’s surprise indie hit Juno.

The buzz was that Cody had re-invented the horror genre, but sadly, the truth falls far shorter than that. It’s not that this isn’t a competent teen-horror movie (it is), but that Cody’s dialogue – the thing that got her the Academy Award® – doesn’t fit in with the horror story at all.

It’s a tonal problem overall really, and in aiming to be a satirical/black comedy about the horrors of High School life – a more contemporary Heathers, if you will – it not only makes Jennifer’s victims likeable people (and Jennifer herself is a nasty, vain bitch, even when she doesn’t have fangs), but the sight of students crying at candle-lit vigils for a dead friend is uncomfortably familiar.

There are some funny lines, but they seem so out of place and inappropriate. They’re not witty, off-the-cuff, comments you often get in horror films, they seem like someone inserted dialogue from a quirky indie film by mistake, and it totally jars.

Quirkiness is a fine line anyway, and here it’s begging too hard to be noticed: a character has a hook for a hand, a cute little sister swears – but so what? There are plot and logic holes too: if Needy is so nerdy, how come she has a boyfriend? How come Jennifer and Needy are friends anyway? Is Needy psychic?

Director Kasuma tries hard – the audience jumps at all the right moments – but bloody gore and talking ‘Cody’ just don’t mix (i.e. when a character is bleeding to death, Jennifer and Needy stop and talk about anorexia and being socially unpopular). It all just seems totally out of whack, and though Seyfried (last seen in Mamma Mia! believe it or not) is good – it’s really her character and story we follow, not Fox’s (who’s a little too Stepford-Wifey for me). No matter; the teenaged boys who saw the poster of her won’t care.

James Bartlett
(See biog here)

Rated 16 (see IFCO website for details)
Jennifer’s Body
is released on 6th Nov 2009

Jennifer’s Body – Official Website

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