Jennifer’s Body (15)
After scoring one of 2007’s best movies with Juno, many have waited with baited breath to see what Diablo Cody’s follow up would be. Few would maybe have predicted she’d go from subtle, sharp teen pregnancy to out there, hip slasher horror Jennifer’s Body. If Cody is one of the current female powers in film, then surely another would be demonic protagonist & box office babe Megan Fox. The two combined sent many fans into spasms of orgasmic pleasure at the very thought and to a certain extent their wet appetites will have been fulfilled.
Cody places us in typical boring little down Devil’s Kettle in the company of the school’s top cheerleader Jennifer (Fox) and her best friend and slight nerd Needy (Amanda Sayfried, Mamma Mia!). The two unlikely friends have been BFF’s since they were little, with Jennifer the dominate and they (substitute Jennifer) decide to go to a concert in a local ‘club’ to see a band from the city called Low Shoulder.
Things go a bit awry and the club burns down leaving the girls in shock. Low Shoulder’s shifty lead singer (The OC’s Adam Brody in a fun turn) whisks Jennifer away in their van and from then on everything begins to fall apart for the friends and their school. Needy is worried about Jennifer being taken advantage of by horny city boys but little does she know they in fact intend to sacrifice her friend, wrongly thinking her a virgin, so that they can realise their dream of becoming the new Maroon 5. I think we all can guess that wasn’t going to end well.
As things go from bad to worse, boys from school begin getting killed off and Needy suspects she knows why. As the events unfold and Needy learns more she realises that not just herself but her boyfriend Chip are in danger and that if she’s going to save him she is going to have to do something she’s never done before. Stand up to Jennifer. If only she hadn’t been possessed by a pesky flesh eating demon with super powers. Fan. Shit. Thoroughly. Hit.
Jennifer’s Body plays out in a typically sharp and youthfully hip fashion full of pop culture and teen slang. The witty dialogue and now trademark turns of phrase from Cody are all present as Jennifer discusses her “smart bombs” (boobs) and how “salty morsals” (hot guys) are “giving me a wetty” (I think we can gather what she means there). The dialogue runs through the film linking happily with the references and nods to make the script amusing and darkly fun for the whole and continues Cody’s showcase for being able to write in a fresh way that brings her stories out from the pack. Where this one loses it’s way however is with it’s horror element.
Juno was able to merge the quick witted writing to a cast you cared about and a genuinely touching and casually dramatic storyline. Everything fit there, but here there is a underlying lack of tension to most, if not all of the more classic horror scenes. The sexuality is woven in well and Fox manages to play herself as convincingly menacing to a point but when the film is really trying to be scary it just comes away a little stilted and uncomfortable. The direction doesn’t really merge the two worlds it wants to well enough to produce something that a horror fan could get into.
If you liked Juno then you’ll find the film amusing and the characters fun to spend time with, but they lack some of the depth of the ones inhabiting Juno’s world. Amanda Sayfried’s Needy grows as the films develops and ultimately steals the show from Fox’s sexually deviate killing machine Jennifer. The nice turns from the support cast, including J.K Simmons once again, all serve to bolster the films narrative nuance but the lack of cohesion and scares linger and ultimately take a little of the shine off. Is it as good as Juno? No. Is it better than The Final Destination (2009’s other teen shocker). Yes. So hit and miss, but ultimately a good film to relax with friends. It’s fun, it’s funny and it’s nicely crafted, but if you’re looking for Juno 2, then you might find yourself with a “huge tragedy boner for Devil’s Kettle.”