Jennifer’s Body

Synopsis: Sexy temptress Megan Fox is hotter than hell as Jennifer, a gorgeous, seductive cheerleader who takes evil to a whole new level after she’s possessed by a sinister demon. Steamy action and gore galore ensue as the male student body succumbs to Jennifer’s insatiable appetite for human flesh. Now it’s up to her best friend (Amanda Seyfried) to stop Jennifer’s reign of terror before it’s too late!

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Jennifer’s Body 7.5

Let’s face it: it’s called “Jennifer’s Body’ and it stars Megan Fox; it totally screams exploitation film. Thus, as with tons of other people, I wrote it off from the get-go; I simply couldn’t find any appeal in this one. If I want scares and/or sexiness, I knew where to find the real deal. And this wasn’t it. confused

Except that I stumbled upon a rather good review or two, and I started to rethink my position; perhaps there was more to it than I believed. Not that I was planning on finding out, but it no longer found itself a target of my disdain; it now could safely be ignored completely with utter ambivalence. tongue

And then came the day when I bought a stack of movies from a guy who was thinning his collection for peanuts. It was a bulk deal, so I had no choice but to get this one too. So I figured that I might as well watch it. Anyway, I got it at a such a low price that I could easily resell it and break even, if not make a profit. biggrin

It turns out that I’m pleased that I ended up seeing it. ‘Cause, surprisingly, it’s not half bad at all – for a teenage monster horror film I mean. wink

It’s a generally well-conceived affair: with a title like ‘Jennifer’s Body’ (which is no doubt inspired by the song by Hole – who are also featured on the soundtrack), it’s was the right decision for the filmmakers to get to the horror bits early. If they had even tied to give us a mystery, à la ‘Invasion of the Body Snatchers’, in the first part it would have failed miserably – we all would have been waiting for the characters to catch up with us.

Instead, they set up the characters and then went straight for the jugular. Well done! They knew that they were making a genre movie, that its audience wouldn’t want to wait 40 minutes to get going, and they delivered. They did, however, manage to give us three clear landmarks along the way: Jennifer’s inexplicable transformation, the background story on her situation, and then the destruction of evil. The film was constructed calculatingly and efficiently.

Of course, the film is still about teenagers and it is predominantly geared towards teenagers. But what’s great about it is that it doesn’t try to hide it and sell itself as something else; it is what it is and it flaunts it. It’s a genre movie – it knows it and we know it, and the filmmakers tried to make the best possible one with whatever tools they were given.

Ultimately, despite all the thought that was put into it, it’s still a shallow affair: it doesn’t offer much as far as social commentary, deep character dynamics or anything especially thought-provoking. But it’s written in an intelligent way that is contrary to its genre. It kind of made me think of such teen horror flicks as the original ‘Final Destination’; not life-changing, but well thought-out.

The dialogue, in particular, was especially well-crafted. It truly impressed me, quite frankly: all the expressions and teen-speak that Diablo Cody came up with is sweet on the ears. Are they real expressions? I highly doubt it. But it feels as they could be, and that’s what’s so great about the dialogue: it’s not real, but it feels as though it were. smile

As far as the cast goes, well, Megan Fox is better than I expected (well, better than in ‘Transformers’ and ‘How to Lose Friends and Alienate People’ anyway wink). But she’s not great, and she’s certainly not sexy. Her ‘sexiness’ is so artificial that’s it’s not sexy – she’s like a girl playing at being a woman (which, maybe, is suitable for the part – but I doubt it was an artistic decision tongue). Having said that there’s this one kissing scene that was… um… memorable.

This may appear superficial, but hear me out: Amanda Seyfried looks so much better without any make-up, as she does here. In fact, I can’t believe that she usually goes the glamourous route. I usually find her a bit unusual-looking, and it distracts me from her acting ability. But here I was able to let her inhabit her character without wondering why she looks so otherwordly. I can now safely say that I find her quite alright; in ‘Jennifer’s Body’ she played her part ably and easily overshadowed Fox. smile

As far as direction and pacing goes, the film does the trick; I have no kudos to give or complaints to make. The sonic ambience that the film creates is impressive, however. For a film of its ilk to manage such full soundscapes is rare; I find that they frequently go with music and sound effects overkill (especially during scare and kill sequences). But, despite its pedigree, ‘Jennifer’s Body’ manages to play in the big leagues on the aural front. It was a sweet experience. love struck

So, all in all, I rather enjoyed it. It’s not by any means a brilliant film, but it’s much better than one could imagine based on the title, story and cast. It was a relatively nice surprise, and I wouldn’t be averse to watching it again someday. Oh, sure, ‘Jennifer’s Body’ isn’t all that and a bag of chips – but it certainly has the right moves if you’re in the mood. smile

– originally published October 9, 2011

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