Directed by: Karyn Kusama » Written by: Diablo Cody, 2009 » Region/Time: U.S.A., 102 minutes.
Starring: Megan Fox as Jennifer » Amanda Seyfried as Needy » Johnny Simmons as Chip » Adam Brody as Nikolai » Kyle Gallner as Colin Gray » Amy Sedaris as Needy’s Mom » J.K. Simmons as Mr. Wroblewski
In the wake of Juno, Diablo Cody’s writing style attracted attention, both positive and negative, primarily due to its witty, yet casual dialogue. Often overlooked were her sincere and effective attempts to bring the concerns of adolescent women to the screen with a voice that hadn’t been filtered through a male writer’s perspective. Following the release and great success of Juno, Diablo Cody presumably had free reign to get whatever project she turned her hand to brought to the screen. She chose to write a horror film.
This is not as strange a decision as it might seem on surface, as the majority of horror seem to involve nubile young ladies being torn apart by some representation of evil. Both Cody and the director, Karyn Kusama (Girlfight), reference Carrie, Nightmare on Elm Street and Heathers as key horror works in the development of Jennifer’s Body. In particular, the influence of Heathers can be felt. In Jennifer’s Body, however, it is young men being torn apart by some representation of evil – in this case Megan Fox.
By flipping the usual horror movie on its axis, Diablo Cody manages to mine new areas of humour, although teenage male libido makes the victims into rather pathetic, easy targets for Jennifer to plunder. You see, it seems that due to the desperation of indie band, Low Shoulder, Jennifer has been turned from the high school femme fatale into a succubus/demon, and is forced to feed on the flesh of the living in order to survive. As a metaphor for high school, this seems much more satisfying compared to the sexually rapacious cheerleaders in the typical slasher flick – or maybe my high school experience was just not as fun as everyone else’s.
Apart from the witty dialogue and refreshing premise, the movie does little to distinguish itself from movies that you have seen before: Megan Fox puts in a surprisingly good performance, managing to wring some sympathy for Jennifer the Devil. A bit further exploration in this direction could have moved this movie beyond the dark comedy of Heathers to the classic territory of Carrie.
p.s. Oh yes, the movie does have a very sexy kiss between Megan Fox and Amanda Seyfried, but if you are looking for boobies, look elsewhere… [ END ]