- Rated R
- Buy the BD
All photos © 20th Century Fox
Reviewed by Jason Zingale
fter writing one of the most original movies of the decade, there’s really no place to go but down. That may please those who found Diablo Cody’s teen hipster speak in “Juno” somewhat annoying, but that hasn’t stopped the in-demand writer from capitalizing on the film’s success. Though “Jennifer’s Body” may seem like a strange follow-up for any Academy Award winner, it’s actually quite fitting considering Cody’s unique voice. A mash-up of high school satires like “Heathers” and vintage slasher flicks like “Carrie,” “Jennifer’s Body” isn't quite the cult classic it could have become, but it has enough going for it to entertain fans of both genres.
The film takes place in the small town of Devil’s Kettle where homely nerds like Anita “Needy” Lesnicky (Amanda Seyfried) can be friends with popular girls like Jennifer Check (Megan Fox). When they go out one night to a local bar to see an indie rock band called Low Shoulder, Jennifer is abducted by the lead singer (Adam Brody), only to show up at Needy’s house hours latest covered in blood and vomiting black liquid. The next morning, Jennifer arrives at school without any knowledge of the previous night’s events, but when male classmates begin turning up brutally murdered, Needy discovers that Jennifer is the one responsible. It turns out the band sacrificed her in a satanic ritual to become famous, but because she wasn’t a virgin like they were led to believe, she transformed into a ferocious succubus instead.
It’s probably a good thing that director Karyn Kusama abstained from using Hall & Oates’ “Maneater” in the film, because Cody’s screenplay is sure to invoke plenty of groans from the audience. Granted, it’s meant to be cheesy in a midnight movie kind of way, and although her critics will likely skewer her for some of the dialogue, it really helps in setting the tone. After all, “Jennifer’s Body” is a comedy first and a horror film second, and nobody writes high school characters better than Cody at the moment. The death scenes probably could have used a little work (Kusama can’t decide if they should be humorous, horrific, or both), but Fox makes them fun to watch nonetheless.
In fact, whoever’s decision it was to cast Megan Fox was brilliant, because while the fizzy sexbomb may not be a very good actress, she understands her role in the film perfectly – right down to the bitchy, Shannen Doherty-esque delivery. Still, while Fox has enjoyed a majority of the spotlight, it’s her co-star who’s the real anchor of the film. Amanda Seyfried is not only a better actress, but she’s quite the looker herself, and though “Jennifer’s Body” will hardly contribute to her future in the business, it proves that she can stand toe-to-toe with a sex icon like Fox and still come out the other side the more alluring of the two. Cameos from J.K. Simmons, Amy Sedaris and Lance Henriksen are also good for a few laughs, but it’s Adam Brody’s highly amusing turn as the sleazebag emo rocker who steals the show. Christian Slater, eat your heart out.
Two-Disc Blu-Ray Review:
The DVD release of “Jennifer’s Body” may not have much to show for in the special features department, but the Blu-ray edition delivers plenty of extras. Along with an especially informative audio commentary by director Karyn Kusama and writer Diablo Cody, the two-disc effort also includes a handful of deleted scenes that were likely cut for time, a short featurette on the making-of the pool scene, on-set video diaries with the cast and crew, and an episode of “Life After Film School” with Cody. Rounding out the set is a gag reel, a short video montage on Megan Fox, and a digital copy of the film.