It has been some time since I’ve written a review on this site, but I felt this movie and its current underwhelming performance at the box office warrants some good press. “Jennifer’s Body” is a very entertaining film, and is sure to be one that many discover in its DVD release, which according to interviews, director Karyn Kusama has material she is anxious to release.
Make no mistake, JB isn’t an Oscar contender, then again, it’s not trying to be. It is attempting to throw the viewer into a world of heightened teenage brutality, and in that it succeeded. Diablo Cody, who seems to draw a love her/hate her reaction from audiences, writes a script that perhaps has one too many pop culture references or quirky word choices. But, that is Cody’s world. Why say someone is good looking when you can say they’re “salty?” It may not make a whole lot of sense, but Cody captures “teen speak” in her dialogue and it is a lot of fun to watch her characters say such unusual things with such ease and normalcy. Cody’s writing is what separates this film from other “evil-teen” horror films. Also impressive is when Cody is able to create some genuinely sincere moments between the characters amid the violence and chaos occurring.
This film does not apologize for its odd premise nor does it try to compensate for it. JB plays it straight, recognizing the plot is entirely superficial. This premise doesn’t hold the film back. The plot throws enough fun details in the mix that drive this film forward, making it a fantastic platform for the starts of the film, obviously the cast and Cody’s writing.
About the cast: As Jennifer, Megan Fox is quite great! Not only does she have the looks to support her character, she creates a girl you love to hate. Jennifer is the ultimate high school goddess, but underneath the sexy exterior and projected confidence lies a tortured soul…physically personified by the demon within her. Fox is sexy when she needs to be, but wrecked when it calls for it. One short scene has possessed Jennifer, disgusted with herself, smearing makeup across her face in a very desperate fashion, desperate to hide her insecurities from the world. It is an impacting moment. Fox is another love/hate personality these days who draws just as much backlash as praise. Say what you want about her prior efforts, but Megan took charge of her character and was creative with her.
Amanda Seyfried stood against Fox well. Naturally, Fox is a force to be reckon with these days and Amanda, playing the gawky, nice girl who hides her beauty, holds her own. The girl can act, and also creates a very sympathetic and relatable character. She manages to create some very humorous moments while being natural. Her admiration for Jennifer is quite clear and Seyfried manages to capture it nicely, without making the character seem obsessive.
The guys in the cast, most who are present so Jennifer can have a meal, are each unique. Props to Kyle Gallner who disappears in his emo-goth role. I had only seen him in the bland “Haunting in Connecticut.” Adam Brody, who plays the lead singer of the band that sacrifices Jennifer, had a lot of fun with his role. He creates a character that is so selfish and evil, but seems like a guy who would be fun to have drinks with…if you knew he didn’t want to kill you.
Finally, Kusama’s direction is swift and competent. She captures the film well not overusing horror techniques and keeping the look of the film fresh. The film’s soundtrack is also offbeat and unusual for the genre, but is filled with some great music. The song sung by Brody’s band, “Through the Trees,” has a great rhythm and lyrics. It’s the sort of song that if actually released would undoubtedly be a chart topper.
Is JB the best film you will see all year? No. Is it the worst as many have been claiming? Not by a long shot. JB is different. It’s star has been the center of a media obsession. JB is taking the brunt end of this. Behind the harsh criticisms of reviewers who seem to be shifting their disappointment lies a very entertaining and well-made film, despite its subject matter being quite superficial. Forget what you’ve heard against it, forget what you were expecting. If you like horror, Cody’s style, clever films, character films or any combination of the above go see Jennifer’s Body. This film deserves a better box office. I for one would like to see more films like this made, and that will only happen if people go see them. Make it happen ya’ll.