I’ve watched Jennifer’s Body about 4 times now. Normally, that’d be a good thing, the movie being just so damn good, I had to watch it again and again, like, for instance, THE EVIL DEAD. Unfortunately, that’s not the case here. The more I saw, the more repulsed I became. By the very end, I was a bitter, broken mess, driven half insane by what I can only describe as, a not-as-clever-as-it-wants-to-be-cluster-fuck-of-a-flick. A shame, as I really was looking forward to a smartly-written, intelligent horror film. I know that’s what the filmmakers, “including Oscar-winning writer Diablo Cody,” tried to do, they just fell WAAAAAAAY short of the goal.
I’m going to go ahead and say it. What Jennifer’s Body wanted to accomplish, Ginger Snaps already accomplished years ago. The “teenage girl as monster” allegories were expertly handled in Ginger Snaps, while Jennifer’s Body shot and missed. While GS set up the physical, mental, and social changes of a teen girl getting her period for the first time (though, I hear, thanks to growth hormones, kindergartners get ‘em now) with the werewolf as metaphor, JB botched the job of the changing teen-girl-dynamic with the demonic possession metaphor. I applaud the attempt, however, especially in regard to the allegorical view of two exceedingly different young girls, bound by friendship at a young age, who face the inevitable destruction of said friendship due to social status (and in this case, demonic possession as well). That’s a decent set-up, but the movie just couldn’t pull it off. Why?
Well, the direction was competent, so I’m not going to fault Karyn Kusama. Unfortunately, directors are blamed for bad writing, bad acting, etc. Of course, it IS the director’s job to make sure the actors are right for the parts and to make something workable from the script. But then, there’s that expression, you can’t polish a turd. I wasn’t a big fan of JUNO. I mean, it was okay, but Oscar-Worthy? Lowered standards seem to be a given with film these days. At least it was somewhat competent, but I don’t think Diablo Cody really understands teenagers. Given, I haven’t been a teenager for 8 years now, and I’ve already gone right into OLD MAN “Get Off My Lawn!” phase, skipping all others to the point where I LOATHE today’s teens, but I still doubt I have more of a false, skewed perspective than Diablo Cody. It seems the woman writes her teenagers as caricatures of teens. Perhaps she bases her teenagers off teen magazines, written, also, by 30-something year old women who should know better. The dialogue was simply atrocious, pandering and ridiculous. Cutesy phrases were made up for the sake of cleverness, but continually failed. Awful writing can make or break a film, and, in this case, it was 60% responsible.
30% goes to terrible acting. I mean, sure, the actors here only had so much to work with, but I’m certain Megan Fox can’t act anyway, and works only as a pretty face and, due to said face, name recognition. Her saving grace in Transformers was that she only said about 3 words in the movie. This time, she actually had to, you know, ACT! Cardboard boxes have better acting chops. Then there’s Amanda Seyfried. She looked like she was quoting Shakespeare beside Fox, but that’s not saying much. At least she was able to show real emotion and, I felt, had to carry the film upon a poorly written script. Given more to work with, perhaps she could’ve done a better job, but as it was, there was simply no chemistry between her and Fox, nor her and her on-screen boyfriend who I could’ve sworn was in the “special-kids” class.
Now let us delve into the HORROR aspect of Jennifer’s Body. There was a bit of gore (including a ridiculous scene where an herbivorous DEER was eating human intestinal tract), but nothing to write home about. There were one or two jump scares, the most frightening thing in the movie being the repeated exposure to a fake Emo band’s fake Emo song (not to mention exposure to many other popular…I guess…Emo bands and THEIR songs). Then, ok, and this may seem crass, but it’s a horror flick, dammit, no boobs. None. When you have a flick marketed to teens, with a trailer that begins with a naked chick in a lake, and you have nothing in the topless category, what the hell are you doing? Do these people never even WATCH horror flicks? Anything that would’ve made this an actual horror film went right out the window. Gore alone won’t do it. Saving Private Ryan had more gore in the first few minutes.
All in all, if you’re curious about the flick, go ahead an check it out and make up your own damn mind. If you want my opinion (and why ELSE would you be here if you didn’t), stay away from Jennifer’s Body and go watch Ginger Snaps instead.
0 out of 5 skulls.