Jennifer's Body Reviews
Jennifer's Body is a similar attempt to create a horror film (or in this case a horror-comedy) primary driven by and about women. While both films are written by women (Moira Buffini and Diablo Cody respectively), this one also has a female director in the shape of Karyn Kusama (Aeon Flux). Ultimately it's neither scary nor funny enough to match the standards of the best horror-comedies, but it's an interesting little film worthy of its cult status which deserved to do better at the box office.
Broadly speaking, there are three different categories of cult film. The first, and rarest, are those which achieve success and whose cult status comes from being entrenched in a specific sub-culture - films likes Flash Gordon and Monty Python and the Holy Grail. The second, and most typical, are those so far outside the mainstream that they never stood any real chance of turning a profit. Pink Flamingos, The Bed-Sitting Room and Eraserhead never courted popularity in the first place, being either knowing and provocative trash or at the weird end of the arthouse circuit.
Jennifer's Body belongs in the third and final category: films which could and should have been hits, but for some reason failed to resonate. Like Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, the film contains at least one bankable star with mainstream hits behind them (Michael Cera and Megan Fox respectively), and a screenwriter or director with critical and commercial acclaim (Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz with Edgar Wright, Juno with Diablo Cody).
Numerous explanations have been offered as to why Jennifer's Body failed at the box office, ranging from American preconceptions of horror-comedies to the R-rating it received and the exploitative marketing, which played up the lesbian aspects of the film in a vain and shallow attempt to bring in the boys. None of these reasons are entirely plausible and none of them have any impact on whether or not the film is any good. It is simply depressing that a film made with such good intentions failed to find the audience which needed to see it the most.
Whatever your ultimate feelings about it, you have to admire Jennifer's Body for what it is attempting to do as a horror-comedy. At their most essential, Cody and Kusama are trying to tell a story about female empowerment in a genre which so often reduces women to cannon fodder or base titalation. Even efforts like The Slumber Party Massacre and Sorority Row, where female characters outnumber male ones, all too often turn their women into screaming obstacles who have little to no intelligence or control over their own actions.
Jennifer's Body owes a big debt to two horror films about powerful women, one old, one relatively new. The first film it strongly takes after is Carrie, which is visually referenced in Fox's blood-soaked prom dress towards its climax. Both films have protagonists who are dealing with a sudden rise in their sexuality, whether through menstruating for the first time or being the most popular girl in school. And both films use their characters' ultimately malevolent power as a metaphor about underestimating women: the men who come a cropper in these films are generally those who try to take advantage of the main character.
The second film to which Jennifer's Body owes a debt is Ginger Snaps, a cult Canadian horror film which used lycanthropy (becoming a werewolf) as a metaphor for puberty. The film took many of the key elements of An American Werewolf in London, and turned them from a very male tale of lust and rage into a story about relationships between women, and how people deal with their best friends altering beyond all recognition. The relationship between Needy and Jennifer is to some extent an American version of Ginger Snaps, while Jennifer's feeding on men reflects her Canadian counterpart's first attack after she is bitten.
While Ginger Snaps is marginally the better film, Jennifer's Body does manage to get its message across in a fairly convincing way. We are lured into believing that Jennifer's changes after that fateful night are merely a sudden step up in her journey through adolescence. The film tricks us into condoning the male character's attitudes towards our leading lady, believing them to be either reasonable for people in that situation or warranted in some messed-up way. Jennifer's subsequent attacks are a wake-up call and a challenge to cultural attitudes wherein women are depicted as weak, submissive and harmless.
The film deserves props for managing to turn the pain of its female characters into something meaningful. So many horror films begin or centre around a painful act perpetrated against a woman, which is then used to justify all the vengeance and bloodshed that follows - I Spit On Your Grave being a prime example. Jennifer's Body does feature an awful moment, but it turns it on its head, first by the ritual backfiring to create an evil force, and then by the band receiving their comeuppance through Needy. The difference is that the violence is being carried out by the women who have been wronged, rather than men on behalf of women who are too broken or dead to avenge themselves.
The performances in Jennifer's Body are all of a decent calibre. It's easy to laugh at Megan Fox following her work on the Transformers series, but she is pretty capable here; even if she is a little old to pass as a teenager, she's playful and teasing enough to fit our expectations. Amanda Seyfried is a decent match for her, and while she has less material to work with overall, she still gets a few juicy lines in the pool scene. The supporting cast are generally unremarkable, with only Johnny Simmons of Scott Pilgrim fame making an impression.
Despite the best efforts of its cast, the writing in Jennifer's Body is one of several problems which prevent the film from fulfilling its potential. Cody is a talented screenwriter, as Juno demonstrated, but this time around her characters begin to blend together with very samey dialogue. When Mark Kermode reviewed the film, he remarked that Cody was in danger of becoming "the female Quentin Tarantino", namely writing dialogue in such a way that all her characters sound the same. It's not so bad that it runs the film into the ground, but having all one's characters as spiky and hipsterish isn't a good way to go.
The film is also conflicted from a visual point of view. While it is thematically subversive, it often looks every bit as scuzzy and sleazy as the horror films it is trying to subvert. The film is a very sexualised affair, and sometimes it's hard to tell whether the sexuality is there to challenge expectations or to simply pander to the whims of horny teenagers. As Aeon Flux demonstrated, Kusama has yet to find a distinctive style as a director, and the film suffers from having an aesthetic which all often resembles all the awful horror remakes produced by Michael Bay's Platinum Dunes.
The final issue with Jennifer's Body is that it isn't scary or funny enough to cut the mustard. It's definitely plumping for horror over the comedy more often than not, insofar as it doesn't try to turn Jennifer's killings into a gleeful gorefest, a la The Evil Dead. But the film is more unnerving that it is scary, and only moderately unnerving at that, while the comedy is fun but not fully realised. It's not enough to derail the film, and non-horror audiences may get more out of it, but for dyed-in-the-wool horror fans, it's not quite the hearty meal it needs to be.
Jennifer's Body is an interesting and enjoyable little film whose cult status will undoubtedly grow in the years to come. It remains one of the best things that Megan Fox has ever done (and perhaps will ever do), and thematically speaking it has its heart and head in the right place. Ultimately it's too riddled with problems to be given a clean bill of health, but for those wanting more from teen horror, it's not a bad way to pass the time.
Plot is utterly utterly inept and simply revolves around a rock band sacrificing a vacuous Fox to the devil so they can become rich n famous, yes that's what I just typed...believe it. Turns out Fox isn't a virgin (ahem) so when the guys kill her she somehow becomes possessed by a demon (why?) who just happens to need flesh and blood to survive, dumb teen flesh and blood, not adults just teens, cue the 'horror'.
It ain't scary and it ain't funny, its just laaaaaame lame lame with Fox being really annoying because the film is clearly made to advertise her as the sexiest female around, she ain't. Acting is poor, effects are minimal and poor, you don't actually see anything gory and its completely pointless. Fox looks no where near as hot as in 'Transformers' because she isn't covered in a thick layer of orange tan makeup, so instead she looks normal, ergo not as hot as we all thought.
Can't see anyone liking this unless your a male under the age of 15 and that's only because there is some weak ass 'seduction' scenes and a tiny bit of lesbian kissing.
Dreamed up by Diablo Cody (fresh off her Oscar-winning triumph with "Juno") and starring superstar Megan Fox, it seemed like a sure thing. Then it came out and completely bombed. I never knew why. I suspected there was a backlash against girls being on top. Boys go for that only so far.
But now having finally seen it, I know what the problem was. It's a bad movie.
It should have been much better. I think it was handed off to the wrong director. Karyn Kusama ("Girlfight," "Aeon Flux") just did not know how to manage this material. At every turn, Kusama makes the wrong choices, either emphasizing too much comedy or too much horror. The editor was also not up to the task. Many scenes are drained of energy by being too long.
The use of hip rock music goes overboard sometimes and seems like it's trying too hard. The sexiness becomes cheesy at times, especially the soft-core lesbianism, which seems thrown in to titillate boys -- when the whole point was finally to make a movie not built around what boys want! That's at least what I believe Cody had in mind when she conceived the project.
Bottom line: "Jennifer's Body" gets the blood pumping only intermittently. It can't sustain its energy. Too bad, because this should have been a counter-cultural Girl Power classic along the lines of "Pulp Fiction." Diablo Cody has the talent to be a Quentin Tarantino for girls. But somehow it's not panning out for her. I think she has to learn to direct her films herself.
Diablo Cody overindulges in her first post-Juno gig and bangs out a bumbling screenplay that works very little. Paired with the disastrous "Aeon Flux", director Karyn Kusama seems to have lost any goodwill she earned with her competent first feature "Girlfight". Megan Fox and Amanda Seyfried can and should brush this off their resume.
There's no reason to covet "Jennifer's Body" - it's better left untouched.
OK, I was entertaining a niece of a certain age, and had this film in reserve. She enjoyed the off-beat (and addmittedly sometimes funny)teen speak humor, but you could pretty much tell this was a paint by numbers teen flick all the way.
The acting was so so, the camera work nothing to write home about - just typical of the genre in so many ways.
I believe the only saving grace was some of the funnier lines - an example: when attacked with an exacto knife, Jennifer replies "do you get all your weapons at Home Depot, how butch".
I suppose I'm saying that if you went in looking for a teen comedy wrapped around a cheap horror film - you get what you wanted - does that make for a great film - of course not, but I suppose of the overwhelming number of teen films, this one rises slightly above the crowd.
Director: Karyn Kusama
Summary: After a supernatural romp with a satanic emo band, hot cheerleader Jennifer (Megan Fox) is transformed into a demon with an insatiable appetite for high school boys. Now, it's up to Jennifer's BFF, Needy (Amanda Seyfried), to protect the guys from the bloodthirsty man-eater.
My Thoughts: "Just as I thought, cheesy. The movie in a whole is a bit ridiculous, and the script doesn't help it. But I think that's what the writer's intent was. The acting is solid in this. Although I didn't think Adam Brody was the right fit. He just felt out of place in this film for me. Although I thought Megan Fox and Amanda Seyfried made a great duo and were believable as friends. Megan played crazy well. I thought they were both great in this. It wasn't scary, but it was a bit funny. A few good one-liners here and there, but that's about it. Overall it just ended up being a silly, bloody, wanna be horror film. Not at all good, but not bad either."
i absolutely agree with roger ebert..watching jennifer's body is definitely much much more fun than twilight, which is about a mousy whining vampire boy who's so afraid to get laid or accept himself as vampire (lame).....megan fox rocks much much more! and you could pardon and almost rejoice with her for those bitchy trampy words coming out of her pouty mouth because she's such a supercunt! and i cannot help but be amazed at (or swooned by) her chiseled features and immaculate shape..(she's far from ugly even with dark eye-cycles or gross-out blood smeared all over her)
amanda seyfried's dorky girl is NEEDY(her name) with a boyfried named CHIP. the humour is obvious. from every line, there's some smirky dark-humour, such as "i'm not eating humans, i'm eating boys"..(you could read more in imdb quotes, i suppose). the story developement is surreally deranged enough to keep you on the focus: the beauty queen gets kidnapped in a tavern concert and made sacrifice by the evil rock band leader as tribute to satan. and she survives the series of ferocious knife-stabbings for not being a virgin despite she lies she is (surviving for not being a virgin? lol. high five!)...and the town for those high-schoolers is called DEVIL'S KETTLE.(what a name).but the evil reurgitates back into her so she turns out as the flesh-eating "zombitch" (the word seyfried uses on fox in their last confrontation, what a word)...so she utilizes her sex appeal to buffet on the gullible high-school boys to feast her impeccable beauty. so this zombitch is running rampantly until she targets her best friend's boyfried..to this point, needy has to stop her by the necessary killing.
the plots about nobody rock band praying for success from the devil by sacrificing the beauty "virgin" queen is delirious..and the movie begins with needy in asylum (for killing off fox), and needy gains some supranatural power from getting scratched by jennifer then she hurries to massacre the teammates of satanic rock band in the hotel while the background plays courtney love's (the hole) VIOLET! it's so incredible!!! it's like a maniac roller-coaster joy-ride in which you giggle from the moment you're seated!!!
(by comparison, twilight is SO stupid and its ideas aren't even cool or original...and there's no humour. how could teenagers are so tasteless? jennifer's body is much much more fun, it deserves bigger box-office than crappy twilight, lol.)
by the way, do you know that jennifer's body is also the name for one of the songs in courtney love's (the hole) "live through this" (when nirvana kurt cobain blows his own head with a shot gun)...WHAT A PUN!!
furthermore, this movie features a scene where megan fox sneaks into amanda seyfried's bedroom, and there's some steamy tongue-touching french kissing going on between these two hot young women (even seyfried has to hide her beauty with nerdy glasses. besides it's megan fox by her side. no woman could be foxier than fox) that kiss's definitely worth the ticket! and it would make your day for sure! lol.
(ps) needy is the one who betrays jennifer. jennifer at least didn't eat needy when she was hungry. in the bedroom scene, she rejects jennifer in jen's weakest moment. then friendship disintegrates. to me, jennifer is the vulnerable one who runs thru misfortunes, desperately survives it and tries hard to act tough and cope with this ghastly transformation. her best friend just rejects her when she tries to be honest. people will just tag jennifer as evil because she acts bitchy and so unapologetically confident about her beauty, and they all forget jennifer is the victim of demon-sacrifice, shouldn't she deserve some sympathy at least?