I am a rather large fan of cheesy horror films and when I saw the trailers for “Jennifer’s Body” I was pretty excited, after all the film looked like a B-horror film that happened to be written by the then hot, Diablo Cody, who was coming off of writing the critically acclaimed Juno (one of my favorite films from 2007) and it starred the toe thumb bitch queen herself, Megan Fox. Sadly like many things in life, I did not get a chance to see the film in theaters but hey that is what home video is for right?
“Jennifer’s Body” is a formulaic teenage horror film but it avoids a lot of the more modern horror tropes and in doing so actually comes across as somewhat of a breath of fresh air. While the main storyline is about the demonic possession of Jennifer, the real draw is in the multi-faceted relationship between Jennifer (Fox) and her best friend Needy (Amanda Seyfried). Jennifer is the prototypical high school cheerleader and Needy the prototypical nerd and Jennifer generally pushes her friend around making her do things that maybe she does not want to do.
After convincing Needy to accompany her to the local bar to see a no name band things get funky. A freak fire starts and nearly everyone, save for Jennifer, Needy, the band and an exchange student make it out alive. The lead singer convinces Jennifer to accompany him to the band’s van and takes off with her, when Jennifer is next seen she is bleeding badly and vomiting black bile and things get worse from there as mysterious eviscerations begin to take place.
The film, much like Cody’s work on Juno, has a sarcastic undertone to it and the conversations are at times downright hysterical. Fox continues to prove she has the acting chops of a rhino but it works wonders for the film as she basically plays the bitch card through its entirety whilst delivering lines with a vapid stare on her face. On the flip side of that is Seyfried who comes across as genuinely likable. She has a wonderful quality to her that really helps elevate the film above the generic formula that it follows. The rest of the cast gives serviceable performances with the exception of J.K. Simmons who as always delivers a top notch quirky performance as a high school teacher.
Where so many horror films made today feel the need to show you each and every gory detail, director Karyn Kusama has decided to have a lot of the action happen in the shadows or off screen leaving much to the imagination. The film actually feels like an 80s horror film that just happens to take place in 2009 because of the cinematic direction but that is not to say there is not some gore for the gore hounds and I think the film actually balances the line of too much or too little just perfectly.
If you are looking for an old school horror film, complete with cliché story, bad acting and funny one-liners , “Jennifer’s Body” is something you should check out.
One last note on the film proper though, if you disliked the humor in Juno you may not enjoy the dialog in Jennifer’s Body because Diablo Cody has a distinct style to her writing that not everyone can get into.
“Yeah, right. I’m not even a back-door-virgin anymore, thanks to Roman. By the way, that hurts. I couldn’t even go to Flags the next day. I had to stay home and sit on a bag of frozen peas.”
3 out of 5