Thursday, August 4, 2011

#363. Jennifer's Body (2009)

Directed By: Karyn Kusama

Starring: Megan Fox, Amanda Seyfried, Adam Brody

Tag line: "She's evil... and not just high school evil"

Trivia:  Diablo Cody wrote the screenplay for the film in 2006, the same year she wrote Juno

Jennifer's Body is an entertaining enough horror film, but comes up short in one important area: it's title character. A bitchy yet beautiful high school cheerleader who's host to a bloodthirsty demon, Jennifer, played by Megan Fox, was actually kinda dull. In fact, I'd go so far as to say that, despite her diabolic nature, she's the least interesting character in the entire film. 

One night, in the small town of Devil's Kettle, Minnesota, Jennifer (Fox), the most popular girl in school, drags her best friend, Needy (Amanda Seyfried), to a local bar, where a semi-popular indie band named Low Shoulder is playing. During the group's first number, a fire breaks out, destroying the bar and killing nearly everyone inside. Jennifer and Needy escape, as does the band, but Needy is horrified when Jennifer, in a state of shock, accepts a ride home from Nikolai (Adam Brody), the lead singer of Low Shoulder. As it turns out, Needy's concerns are 100% justified. Hoping to make a pact with the devil for some instant fame and fortune, Nikolai and his bandmates drag Jennifer, who they believe is a virgin, into the woods and sacrifice her to Satan in a bloody ritual. But there's one tiny problem: Jennifer isn't a virgin, leaving her very much alive and possessed by a particularly hungry demon, one that craves human flesh. With her good looks and seductive charms, Jennifer lures several of her male classmates to their doom, but when she sets her sights on Needy's boyfriend, Chip (Johnny Simmons), it kicks off a war between the two best friends...and only one will walk away from it alive. 

In my opinion, Jennifer's Body belongs to Amanda Seyfried, who's Needy is far from the sex-pot Jennifer is, yet is ultimately much more interesting than her beautiful adversary. Watching Needy transform from a quiet wallflower into a bad-ass is the movie's most fascinating storyline, and to be fair, Needy is essentially the main character of Jennifer's Body (from time to time, she even takes on the role of the narrator). Many of the supporting players also step up nicely, including Adam Brody as Nikolai, the wise-ass Satanist, and Johnny Simmons as Chip, Needy's boyfriend who isn't fully convinced of Jennifer's evil nature until late in the game. These characters keep the movie chugging along at a nice pace, and ensure that, at the very least, we're always in tune with what's going on. 

It really wouldn't be fair of me to lay the blame for the shortcomings of Jennifer's Body at Megan Fox's feet; the actress does a fine job in the role, and is stunningly gorgeous. The main issue lies in the evolution of Jennifer from high school hottie to carnivorous beast, an evolution that never fully pans out. In fact, aside from one very good scene the night of her “change”, when she visits Needy's house and makes a mess of her kitchen, Jennifer doesn't seem much different at any point in the film, acting just as petty and controlling after the ritual as she was before it. Perhaps this is what the filmmakers were going for: that Jennifer had evil inside her at the outset, so much so that a demonic possession won't even cause a minor shift in her personality. But if this is the case, it doesn't make her any more intriguing. Jennifer is a character that, if we aren't going to like her (and we don't), we at least have to find interesting. In the end, Jennifer was one-dimensional in all the wrong ways, and the least exciting individual in her own story. 

I would still recommend checking out Jennifer's Body; aside from the fine performances, the film does offer some frightening moments and well-done special effects. Just don't be surprised if you find yourself wishing there was a little less of Jennifer, and a little more of everything else.


Anonymous said...

A generous thank you for all of you that have provided me with horror movies for the past year.
I bought many and I am appreciative of your work on the podcast.

DVD Infatuation said...

Feircitty: Thanks for stopping by, and for the kind words regarding the podcast.

We appreciate the fact you put so much faith in our recommendations, and here's hoping you enjoyed the movies!

Thanks for listening, and the best of luck to you.

Dan O. said...

It isn't terrible just a lot of the writing is pretty annoying but the horror element and some funny lines are what kept me through this film. Good Review!

DVD Infatuation said...

Dan O.: Thanks for stopping by!

Yeah, I guess the key problem with the title character probably extended back to the script. As I said above, she just didn't really evolve in any way, shape or form, which is strange seeing as she went from a high school cheerleader to a cannibalistic demon!

BTW, nice blog! I'll be adding it to my Blog Roll.

Thanks again for the comment.

Anonymous said...

HJ was an awesome podcast.

Some shout-outs for:
1- BillChete {awesome host-awesome podcast format and HQ audio}
2- Dr. Shock {awesome supporter to fans with public comments}
3- Midnight Corey {awesome zombie guy-awesome zombie movies}
4- Joe Mummy {awesome behind the set reviews-humble guy}
5- KC Canton {awesome outside the lines suggestions-awesome continuing DRC}

"Scary" Cid "Hammer"

DVD Infatuation said...

"Scary" Cid: Thanks for the kind words, and for stopping by.

We certainly appreciate all the support we've received from listeners such as yourself over the brief run of Horror Jungle. It's you, and all the other fans, who are truly awesome!

I'll be sure to pass your comments along to the other hosts as well. Thanks for listening, and all the best to you.

Anonymous said...

GL critics make sure you come back soon KAY

DVD Infatuation said...

Kay: Thanks so much, snd rest assured: several hosts are working on putting something together. It may take some time, but it's in the works!

Thanks for listening!

Anonymous said...

hiya docster gonna miss all ya guys on the podcast it was quite brilliant.

whats ya plans doc?

DVD Infatuation said...

Hello, and thanks for the comment! we're glad you enjoyed the show, and appreciate your support.

As of right now, I have no definite plans with regards to horror podcasting, but I can say several of the Horror Jungle hosts are putting something together. Stay tuned!

Thanks again, and have a great day!